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Overweight & MalnutritionOverweight & Malnutrition


overweight and malnourished

Malnutrition occurs when there is a lack of necessary nutrients. It is often associated with starvation, but it is now evident that malnutrition applies to overeating as well as undereating. It is possible for a person to become overweight while also failing to get important nutrients.

Macronutrients, micronutrients, and empty calories

The macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) provide the body with calories for energy. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals necessary for health, but they do not provide calories. Empty calories is a term often used for foods which contain excess calories with little nutritional value (soda and junk foods). When these empty calorie foods make up a large part of the diet, you can gain weight without getting all of the nutrients you need.

Quantity versus quality

When we are hungry, we seek out food. But what and how much we eat is influenced by many factors, including time, convenience, environment, culture, and knowledge. The desire to satisfy our hunger often trumps a desire to make healthy food choices. When you choose quantity and convenience over food quality, you risk consuming empty calories.

Nutrients of concern

Many diets poor in nutrition do not provide adequate calcium. Those who consume sweetened soda often drink them in place of calcium-rich milk. Dark, leafy greens and broccoli are sources for dietary calcium, but vegetables are another major food group that are often missing in poor diets.

The chemicals in plant foods (phytonutrients) are not essential to life, but they have numerous health benefits, including protection against disease. A diet of highly processed foods with few fresh fruits, vegetables, or whole grains can be in short supply of these beneficial plant nutrients.

Malnutrition can affect anyone

Foods composed of empty calories tend to be cheap and quick. This makes low-income populations and those with busy lifestyles especially vulnerable to this “overweight and malnourished” phenomenon. The trick is to plan your meals in advance, which will help you keep your food costs down and help you avoid needing to grab something quick when on the go.

Water and Weight LossWater and Weight Loss


water and weight loss

The direct link between water intake and weight loss is a topic of debate. While past beliefs that water flushes fat from the body lack scientific support, some studies do show that water can influence your weight in other ways. These are a few things we know about water, hydration, health, and weight loss.

  • About 55-60% of your body weight is water, which helps with temperature regulation, cardiovascular function, waste removal, and metabolism. To function at its best, the body needs to be well-hydrated.

  • Due to water loss through sweat, dehydration can quickly set in during exercise – especially in hot and humid weather. Dehydration leads to fatigue and poor exercise performance. This reduces the amount of time and the intensity at which you can exercise, decreasing overall calorie burn.

  • Drinking large amounts of water can result in hyponatremia (low sodium). When drinking too much plain water, electrolytes (especially sodium) are transported from the blood and tissues into the small intestine, resulting in a dangerous electrolyte imbalance.

  • One small study showed that following water intake, metabolic rate increases and remains elevated for over an hour. One reason for this increased calorie burn is thought to be the energy needed for the body to heat the water.

  • Another study, published in the journal Obesity, found that increased water intake was linked to decreased weight, waist circumference, and body fat in overweight women who were on a weight loss plan.

  • Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Water may help reduce hunger, which can reduce overall calorie intake.

  • Sipping water provides a distraction to reduce mindless snacking.

  • Replacing beverages that contain calories with water will lower total calorie intake.

7 Dangers of Diet Pills7 Dangers of Diet Pills


Dangers of Diet Pills

Do you think you need a diet pill to lose weight? Here are seven reasons why the dangers of diet pills far outweigh the benefit of any potential weight loss.

There is no guarantee.

Dietary supplements do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold to the public. With so many companies and products, it is easy for unsafe ingredients to find their way into popular diet pills, going unnoticed until adverse reactions are reported to the FDA.

They can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

The main ingredient in many diet pills are stimulants that have been found to increase risk for heart attack and stroke. Often these stimulants are prescription level drugs that have been banned from the market, but they illegally make their way back into these pills due to poor regulation of dietary supplements.

You can become addicted.

Diet pills often contain amphetamines, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants. Not only is this a dangerous mix, but these drugs are also highly addictive.

You may experience multiple side effects.

Some diet pills contain fat blockers that decrease nutrient absorption and cause stomach upset. Other reported side effects of diet pills include constipation, headaches, and mood swings.

Labels are full of false claims.

Don’t believe every claim you read on the labels of dietary supplements. In a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an analysis of 127 dietary supplements (including weight loss pills) found that 20 percent made illegal claims on the labels stating that the product cured or treated disease.

They are ineffective.

Many diet pills are simply a combination of caffeine and other diuretics, which cause water loss. Initially this results in a lower number on the scale, but this is not true fat loss and the water weight will return. Additionally, extreme water loss due to diet pills can cause dangerous dehydration.

You won’t change your habits.

Long term weight loss requires a change in your eating and exercise habits to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Taking a pill as a quick-fix method does not encourage you to gain a better understanding of how foods and exercise affect your weight. You are less likely to check food labels, record your food intake, and fit in your exercise if you think a pill is going to do the work for you. Taking pills forever is not sustainable and once you stop, you’ll be back to your poor habits and initial weight.

Does Thin Mean Fit?Does Thin Mean Fit?


Does this mean fit?

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important, but it should not be confused with being physically fit. Simply being thin does not protect you from health conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle.

Research supports fitness.

A person can appear thin while having excess visceral fat -- the fat around vital organs that increases disease risk -- making weight alone a poor indicator for overall health. Researchers use the term metabolically fit to describe a person who is a regular exerciser and overweight, but is without health risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Studies show that, despite being overweight, the metabolically fit have no higher death risk than those who are fit and maintain a normal weight.

This research indicates that thinness doesn’t always equal fitness, but it is also no reason to abandon your weight loss goals. Maintaining a healthy weight puts less stress on your joints and can improve your energy levels.

Measure your fitness.

Fitness should be your goal regardless of your body weight. There are three components that define your total fitness level:

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance – Often measured by the step test, it is the ability of the heart, lungs, and vascular system to work together to transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body during activity.

  • Muscular endurance, power, and strength – Measured by push up tests, sit up tests, and hand grip, it’s the ability of the muscles to contract, generate force, and sustain repeated contraction.

  • Flexibility – Measured by the sit-and-reach test, flexibility is a measure of the range of motion around joints.

Fitness centers, worksite health fairs, and university exercise labs provide tests for these components.

Pass these health tests.

Health tests help you identify risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Remember that those considered metabolically fit do not have health risk factors despite the fact that they are overweight according to their BMI. Regularly schedule appointments with your healthcare provider to assess these health indicators. He or she may recommend more tests to determine your overall health status.

  • Fasting blood glucose - 70 to 100 mg/dL is normal
  • Triglycerides - below 150 mg/dL is desirable
  • HDL cholesterol - greater than 60 mg/dL is desirable
  • Blood pressure - less than 120 mmHg over less than 80 mmHg is normal

Exercise regardless of your weight.

Exercise is a key factor in staying metabolically fit. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week for improved health. Also incorporate two or three days of strength training and two or three days of flexibility training each week for a balanced exercise program to improve your metabolic fitness.

How to Exercise for Weight LossHow to Exercise for Weight Loss


Exercise for Weight Loss

Find activities that you enjoy

Include all three components.

A good fitness program includes three types of activity - cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.

Cardio: Your cardio sessions use large muscle groups for an extended period, burning the calories necessary for weight loss. At the same time, aerobic exercise works the heart, which makes it stronger and improves cardiovascular health. Choose activities that raise your heart rate and keep it elevated, such as dancing, hiking, jogging, or swimming.

Strength training: Weight machines, free weights, muscle conditioning classes, Pilates, and jump training all qualify as strength training. Some forms of yoga have also been found to increase muscular strength. Strength training burns calories, reduces muscle loss as you age, and gives your muscles a toned appearance. Incorporate strength training at least two times per week with exercises that work all major muscle groups.

Flexibility training: Activities that improve your range of motion can reduce your risk of injury and can improve your physical performance. Flexibility training can simply be stretching each muscle group after a workout, or it may already be a part of your activity such as with martial arts, yoga, or Pilates.

Find activities you enjoy.

Consistency is a major factor in your success with losing weight and keeping it off long-term. Enjoying your exercise routine impacts your ability to be consistent over the long run. If you feel there are no activities you enjoy, it’s time think outside the box. Jumping on the trampoline with your kids, or playing in an adult volleyball league count as exercise just like cardio machines and classes at the gym. If you find that you don't like the first plan you try, don't give up in frustration. Explore some new activities until you find some that you enjoy.

You must invest the time.

The American College of Sports Medicine reports that exercising more than 250 minutes per week is necessary to lose significant weight (at least 3% of body weight) while also improving the likelihood that you will keep the weight off. Below is a sample weekly exercise program that totals 315 minutes, involves all three fitness components, and includes a variety of activities.


  • Hiking: 60 minutes


  • Stationary Bike: 30 minutes

  • Full-body Strength Training: 20 minutes

  • Full-body Stretching: 10 minutes


  • Indoor or Outdoor Walk: 45 minutes


  • Modern Dance Class: 60 minutes


  • Elliptical Machine: 30 minutes

  • Full-body Strength Training: 20 minutes

  • Full-body Stretching: 10 minutes


  • Doubles Tennis: 30 minutes


  • Rest

Do the math.

Weight loss depends on creating a deficit between energy intake and energy expenditure. To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories through metabolism and physical activity than you ingest through food. Tracking your exercise with the MyFoodDiary Exercise Log, combined with using the food diary to track food intake, will help you balance your eating and activity to create the calorie deficit you need to reach your weight loss goal.

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