The longest (2 years) and largest (~800 people) randomized control trial (the gold standard of studies) reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (2/27/09) was designed to answer the seemingly age-old question What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss? The study was funded by National Institutes of Health and conducted by leading obesity researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Pennington Research Center in Louisiana.
Yes, the stats about the numbers of children and adolescents who are overweight (and obese) are glum. And these stats are often topped off with the dismal fact that today’s generation of children are on the road to a shorter life expectancy than recent generations due to obesity, poor eating habits and limited physical activity.
The 2010 Dietary Guideline committee is at work revising the 2005 Dietary Guidelines which is mandated by Federal law to be done every five years under the direction of either Health and Human Services (HHS) or U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA). HHS took the lead in 2005 and this time around the USDA is taking the lead. The work of the committee and staff will conclude with the publication of the revised guidelines in fall of 2010.
According to a heart warming article in the Washington Post (2/5/09) the new USDA Secretary - Tom Vilsack, is taking a broad view of his goals and roles at USDA. He is talking of his interest in more nutritious foods in schools, more fruits and vegetables for WIC recipients and the importance of educating school administrators, parents and children about the importance of healthy eating and nutritious foods.
There’s no shortage of nutrition advice—that’s for sure! The near daily headlines encouraging you to eat more of this and less of that, to advertisements that promote more dietary supplements to prevent or cure myriad medical conditions are enough to make your head spin and make it a challenge to separate fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating.
On 1/20/09 I had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I am hopeful because I believe there are signs and symptoms that we are moving in positive directions in the areas of making healthier foods more readily available, making it easier to eat healthy and placing at least some focus and energy on preventing chronic diseases. Yes, recognizing once again that healthy eating and health are integrally interwoven!
Oh yes, it’s that time of year to once again commit to losing weight for good. And the headlines from myriad media outlets are ready to provide you with umpteen quick weight loss schemes and promises to make this simpler than ever. The problem is that the only way to lose weight and - the hardest part - keep it off for good, is to make slow and steady positive changes over time. Yes it’s hard work that takes diligence and perseverance!
For starters be honest with yourself about your for better or worse food habits.
Yesterday (12/17/08) the U.S. FDA sent a "No Objection Letter" to Merisant's Whole Earth Sweetener company and to Cargill, Inc., responding to their long awaited request to market a highly purified form of Stevia known as Reb A (rebaudioside A). Translated this letter means that FDA has no objection to the conclusion that both companies reached independently using the GRAS self-affirmation process: that Reb A is generally recognized as safe among qualified experts for use in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners.
With all the conversation about the need for health care reform, there are no better places to focus our efforts and energy than on the prevention and better management of diabetes by supporting people's and society's work on living healthier lifestyles. Both obesity, often the predecessor to pre- and type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes eat up a massive piece of the healthcare dollar pie. A focus on prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes could offer us big benefits for our bucks!
A key, yet woefully underreported, conclusion to many health behavior change studies in the areas of weight, diabetes and/or blood pressure management; point to the importance of consistent and continuous support over time. This has evolved to be an essential component to help people achieve their health goals and support their efforts to continue practicing new found healthy lifestyle behaviors.