Highlights of June Journal of the American Dietetic Association


Too Fat, Too Thin: Weight-Control Behaviors among Girls and Boys

The future health of our country's children may rest in the foods they choose and their physical activity patterns. Often children are not eating the recommended servings from the Food Guide Pyramid. Their intake of milk is declining, while soft drink intake and overall food portion sizes appear to be increasing.

To examine links between healthful and unhealthful weigh-control behaviors, researchers from the University of Minnesota studied dietary intake patterns of 4,144 middle and high school students.

Healthful weight-control behaviors were defined as increasing fruits and vegetables and decreasing foods high in fats and sugars in moderation. Unhealthful weight-control behaviors were defined as skipping meals, fasting, using food substitutes and smoking.

Among other findings, the researchers discovered:

  • Girls using unhealthful weight-control behaviors had poorer overall dietary intakes than girls reporting no weight-control behaviors or only healthful behaviors
  • Girls using unhealthful weight-control behaviors had significantly lower intakes of fruit, vegetables and grains than girls using only healthful weight-control behaviors
  • Girls using only healthful weight-control behaviors had higher vitamin A intake than both of the other groups
  • Boys who used unhealthful weight-control behaviors did not have poorer dietary intakes than those using weight-control behaviors or using only healthful behaviors
  • Fruit intake was highest among boys reporting unhealthful weight-control behaviors and lowest among boys reporting no weight-control behaviors.

"The key to fostering lifelong healthy behavior--in children and through our lives--is education," said registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Jeannie Moloo. "Keeping kids healthy requires coordinated commitment and cooperation from parents, schools, restaurants, the food industry and all health professionals."

Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Nutrition and Women's Health

Women are at risk for numerous chronic diseases and other health problems that affect many lives each year. There are approximately 150 million women, diverse in age, ethnicity and race, in the United States and Canada. Dietetics professionals are trained experts that can help educate women on the importance of a healthy diet and the link between nutrition and health.

The joint ADA and DC position statement is as follows:

"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and Dietitians of Canada (DC) that women have specific nutritional needs and vulnerabilities and, as such, are at unique risk for various nutrition-related diseases and conditions. Therefore, the ADA and the DC strongly support research, health promotion activities, health services and advocacy efforts that will enable women to adopt desirable nutrition practices for optimal health."

"In general, good nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. That applies to gender as much as any other cultural, ethnic or genetic variables," said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Rachel Brandeis. "Dietetics professionals can provide individualized nutrition plans for both women and men specific to their overall health needs."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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