Monday, December 13, 2010
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Obese and undernourished. That conundrum describes many Americans, according to Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.
In the December issue, the newsletter covers the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other updates on obesity. The guidelines, issued every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services, focus on obesity. The report notes the obesity epidemic requires urgent attention and is the "single biggest threat to public health in this country."
Highlights from the article include:
- More people obese: Ten years ago, no state in the United States had obesity rates of 30 percent or more. Today, nine states top that level. And no state has reached the long-standing goal of an obesity rate less than 15 percent.
- Contributing factors: The overconsumption of foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutritional value and a lack of physical activities are contributing to increasing obesity rates. Most calories consumed daily in the United States are from foods that aren't highly recommended. Among the top five are grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, doughnuts); soda, energy and sports drinks; and pizza. This has led to the situation where many Americans are obese but undernourished.
- More veggies: Recommendations focus on eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods are filling, low in calories and rich in the nutrients needed for good health.
- Less solid fats and sugar: Solid fats include saturated fats and trans fats, which add extra calories to the diet and raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The guidelines advise limiting saturated fats to less than 7 percent of daily calories, avoiding commercially produced trans fats and minimizing consumption of sugar. Saturated fats are found in meat and dairy products. Trans fats can be found in French fries, doughnuts, cookies, chips, stick margarine and shortening.
- Regular physical activity: The guidelines recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity (brisk walking) or 1.25 hours of vigorous activity (running or jogging) each week.
Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 800-876-8633, extension 9751, (toll-free) or visit Mayo Clinic's Online Bookstore.
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