Health After 50 Topic Page:
Nutrition and Weight Control
Maintaining a healthy diet—and using diet in combination with exercise to maintain a healthy weight—can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many kinds of cancer.
But despite the vast amount and variety of foods available, many of us are not getting the best nutrition. In fact, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, only 24 percent of adults consume the minimum recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. In addition, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 67 percent of the U.S. population is overweight or obese.
There are many obstacles to eating well: a busy lifestyle, the ready availability of convenience foods, too-large portion sizes, and conflicting information on nutrition and weight loss. You might also think that dietary changes made later in life will have little effect on your health. But changing dietary habits and losing weight in middle or even old age can significantly improve how you feel—and decrease your risk of chronic diseases.
Because of the close relationship between nutrition and weight control, both topics are addressed in this area of Health After 50:
Nutrition: At Health After 50you will learn the basics of good nutrition and how much of each nutrient you should be consuming. The focus will be on the nutrients that play the most important roles in preventing and managing chronic diseases: fats, fiber, and specific minerals and vitamins.
Weight Control: In theory, weight control is a simple matter of balancing energy intake (the calories supplied by food) with energy output (the calories expended by physical activity, the digestion of food, and the functioning of your body). To lose weight, you need to expend more energy than you take in. In practice, however, the task is not that simple.
While the basic principle of energy balance remains true, several mechanisms—genetic, metabolic, and environmental—can affect how much you eat and how your body uses and stores energy. Even if the genetic and metabolic components of weight regulation are mostly beyond control, environmental factors are controllable and make a significant impact. By manipulating these factors to your advantage, you can successfully lose weight and keep it off.
The more you know about good nutrition, the easier it will be to make informed choices when it comes to your own diet.
- Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., F.A.C.P., Carmen Roberts, M.D., R.D., Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., and their colleagues discuss simple, effective strategies for achieving good nutrition and, in the process, help you keep your weight under control and increase your chances of good health.
- You’ll read articles on: how we gain weight, calcium supplements, phytochemicals, avoiding vitamin D deficiency, food safety, functional foods, going organic, fitting exercise into your life, the value of soy, and much more.
For more information on Nutrition and Weight Control please visit the BOOKSTORE .