Obesity Prevention

Obesity is a growing epidemic in America that affects people of all ages. Learning healthy eating habits and exercise routines in childhood are important steps to prevent obesity, although obesity prevention programs can also begin in adulthood. Learn about obesity and prevention methods that may work for you.

Adult Obesity and Prevention

Aging slows metabolism and the ability to effectively burn calories. According to the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2004), a person’s metabolic rate drops by approximately 5 percent per decade after age 40, making it more difficult to prevent obesity as the years go by.

Busy adult lives also discourage regular exercise routines necessary to prevent obesity. Healthy eating habits often fall victim to the convenience of processed or fast food. Prevention of obesity is much easier than attempting to lose excess pounds later.

Exercise and Obesity Prevention Programs

People create compelling reasons to avoid regular exercise. Work, family, social engagements and the fatigue that comes at the end of a busy day may make exercising seem overwhelming.

People feel that they are too tired to exercise, even though routine exercise doesn’t drain people of their remaining energy. Quite the opposite, actually–exercise has been proven to give people energy, reduce hunger and boost the metabolism. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006) recommends 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise most days of the week for prevention of obesity.

Even if you’re not interested in working out at the gym, there are hundreds of activities to choose from. For example, long walks, swimming with the kids, and climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Once people start looking for little ways to get active, it’s surprising how many options are available. Consult with a doctor before starting an exercise program in efforts to prevent obesity, especially after age 40.

Prevention of Obesity for Seniors

Staying active is very important as people age. Walking, swimming and other low-impact activities aid in the prevention of obesity. Weight training helps keep muscle mass at healthy levels. Seniors with limited mobility may find water workouts or exercise helpful, and exercise programs that can be performed while seated in a chair are also available. Personal health issues and needs determine what form the exercise should take, so be sure to discuss any obesity prevention programs with a health professional.

Food Diaries, Obesity and Prevention

Daily exercise routines are only one way to prevent obesity. In addition to exercise, a food diary will help identify unhealthy eating habits. The diary tracks everything eaten for a month, including times, locations and servings.

At the end of the month, you’ll be able to analyze eating patterns and trends. Most eating diaries reveal at least one or two unhealthy eating habits that can be modified to prevent obesity

Prevention of obesity is a long-term goal. It’s often a good idea to make slow, small changes rather than try to completely overhaul one’s eating and exercise habits. It takes a lifetime to develop poor eating habits, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to establish effective obesity prevention programs.

Resources

Diets in Review. (n.d.). An hour of exercise needed to lose weight. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/04/an-hour-of-exercise-needed-to-lose-weight/.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2006). Physical activity and weight control. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/physical.htm.

Osterweil, N. (2004). Fighting 40s flab. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56912.