Message to Texas Residents: Forgo Fad Dieting and Join the Campaign for Healthy Weight

Friday, September 12, 2008 General News
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DALLAS, Sept. 12 The last decade can be defined by the upsand downs of different fad diets -- which seem to go in and out of fashionlike shoulder pads and hemlines. Yet, long-term success has been slim. Twoout of three Americans -- including 23 percent of Texas residents -- remainoverweight or obese.

A new campaign crossing the country, the Campaign for Healthy Weight, israllying Americans behind the healthy weight cause, not just the politicalcandidates, and urging people to think more about their "health" instead ofsimply a number on the scale. Studies indicate that small, specific changesin physical activity and calorie intake can make a big difference. And,people who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk forweight-related health conditions, such as heart disease. The Campaign willmake its stop in Dallas on September 13, 2008, to urge local residents tochange their "diet" mindset and elect a new attitude.

"Health management is really starting to become a bigger part of weightmanagement," said Teresa Wagner, R.D. "The key is to make small, sustainablechanges that can last a lifetime. Drinking lowfat or fat free milk as a partof a healthy daily eating plan and walking more every day are two easyadjustments that can go a long way in supporting a healthy weight."

Weighing in on the American Diet

A new report called "Weighing in on the American Diet," found that thenumber of adults who say they are on a diet has steadily decreased over thepast decade. The study, conducted by The NPD Group in collaboration with theMilk Processor Education Program, found the majority of Americans say they areon a diet for their health and their weight; 68 percent say "feelinghealthier" is why they're dieting.

People who are watching their weight, however, are making less thanoptimal beverage choices. Coffee, soft drinks, teas and juices are most likelyfilling their glasses and cups with milk being the fifth most frequentlyconsumed beverage -- only 14 percent of all beverage occasions. Includingmilk on the menu appears to make a positive difference, though. The reportfound that adult dieters who made drinking lowfat or fat free milk a dailyhabit were more likely to have a healthy body mass index (BMI) with betterquality diets richer in essential nutrients and were less likely to feeldeprived compared to dieters who didn't -- findings which are in line withprevious scientific studies.

Milk supplies two nutrients that along with physical activity areespecially important when cutting calories -- calcium to prevent bone loss andprotein to help build muscle mass. Studies suggest that drinking therecommended three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day along with ahealthy diet can help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers also have foundthat people with higher intakes of milk tend to be leaner and are less likelyto gain excess weight than those who drink little to no milk.

Milk -- The Beverage with Your Health Interests at Heart

People who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk forweight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high bloodpressure and some types of cancer. In addition, some studies have linkedmeeting the recommendations for lowfat and fat free milk along with eatingfruits and vegetables to a lower risk for high blood pressure and heartdisease, as part of a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association 2007Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women emphasize eatingfresh fruits, vegetables and lowfat milk and milk products.

"I always encourage people to include three servings of lowfat or fat freemilk as part of a heart-healthy diet and to walk everyday," said TeresaWagner, R.D. "With nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A,vitamin D, protein and potassium, milk is a great way to get a nutrientboost."

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