According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects more than 40% of Americans, placing them at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Launched in 1994, Healthy Weight Week is a public health and awareness campaign that helps people develop healthy habits that last a lifetime in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Rather than rely on fad diets, which tend not to result in long-term healthy weight maintenance, Healthy Weight Week advocates implementing sustainable habits. At ASN, we see Healthy Weight Week as an opportunity for our membership to help better inform and educate patients and the public.
Healthy weight varies from person to person and should be established with the support of a registered dietitian or other healthcare provider.
Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference can provide some guidelines on establishing a healthy weight target. Healthy weight, however, varies from person to person and should be established with the support of a registered dietitian or other healthcare provider who understands the individual’s particular health and nutrition needs.
The CDC offers tips that may also help individuals reach and maintain their healthy weight target:
- Food for Life: Rather than focus on dieting, people should consider healthy eating patterns that they can maintain on a long-term daily basis. For example, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights the Healthy U.S.-Style Dietary Pattern, Healthy Mediterranean-Style Dietary Pattern, and Healthy Vegetarian Dietary Pattern. All these dietary patterns focus on increased consumption of nutrient-dense foods and beverages while avoiding excess sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
- Physical Activity: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, such as jogging. In addition, two or more days a week should be dedicated to strength-training activities.
Willpower has not been proven to be an effective healthy weight maintenance tool.
- Temptation Reduction: Willpower has not been proven to be an effective healthy weight maintenance tool. Implementing measures such as eliminating unhealthy foods at home or work helps people stick to their healthy eating goals.
- Sleep: Poor sleep duration and timing can negatively affect diet quality. Similarly, poor diet quality can negatively impact sleep quality.
- Tracking: Tracking what you eat through photos, pen and paper, or apps has been demonstrated to help maintain healthy weight.
- Motivation: People who maintain a healthy weight tend to be motivated by more than just the desire to be thinner. For some, the motivation might be a health scare. Others want more energy to play with their grandchildren. Focus on a goal that’s meaningful to you, and you’ll be more likely to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t easy, but the health benefits are worth it.