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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Obesity
Physical Activity Changes
- Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate through repetitive movement of large muscles groups, burns calories, increases endurance, and strengthens your heart. This includes jogging , walking , dancing, biking, or swimming.
- Strength training exercise increases the power, tone, and efficiency of individual muscles by contracting isolated muscles against resistance. Strength training can be done with weights or resistance bands.
- Stretching improves or maintains the flexibility of your muscles. Yoga and tai chi are good examples of ways to improve flexibility.
Lifestyle Changes for Children and Teens
- Encourage healthy eating habits—Make an effort to keep a variety of healthful foods— fruits, vegetables , low-fat dairy products, whole grains , and lean meats—on hand. Practice healthful eating habits, such as eating breakfast everyday, eating fast food less often, and healthy snacking. A dietician can work with you and your child to create a healthy meal plan.
- Encourage daily physical activity—Help your child get some exercise everyday. When it’s safe and feasible, let him walk to school, the store, or a friends' houses. It also helps to encourage physical education in school and participation in extracurricular sports teams or classes. For a more structured routine, a trainer can work with your child to create a fun and safe exercise program.
- Discourage inactive pastimes—Limit the time your child is allowed to watch TV, play video games, and surf the internet. A reasonable rule is no more than two hours per day total of screen time.
Ask the registered dietician archives. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/ask-the-expert/ask-the-dietitian/archives/#what-is-the-difference.html . Accessed March 20, 2013.
Bravata DM, Smith-Spangler C, Sundaram V, et al. Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health. JAMA . 2007;298:2296-2304.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf . Accessed March 20, 2013.
Gordon-Larsen P, Hou N, Sidney S, et al. Fifteen-year longitudinal trends in walking patterns and their impact on weight change. Am J Clin Nutr . 2009;89:19-26.
How are overweight and obesity treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment.html . Updated July 13, 2012. Accessed March 20, 2013.
NHLBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated February 12, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Key recommendations for a healthy weight. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose%5Fwt/recommen.htm . Accessed March 20, 2013.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 20, 2013. Updated March 20, 2013.
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1/29/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for obesity in children and adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Pediatrics . 2010 Jan 18.
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1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jensen M, Ryan D, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS Guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. Circulation. Nov 12 2013.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 01/02/2014