Healthy Weight Week January 15-21, 2006
> 1/17/2006 8:54:51 AM

What is the purpose of Healthy Weight Week?

Healthy Weight Week is an annual, national observance that focuses attention on the importance of staying at a healthy weight. This is especially important at a time when 60 million Americans are reported to be overweight. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, an estimated 112, 000 deaths each year in the United States are directly associated with obesity.

What is a healthy weight?

A healthy weight is different for everyone. A person's weight is based on many factors such as genes, food intake, muscle mass, bone density, and level of physical activity. Therefore, it is impossible to have one ideal weight that suits every body type. Healthy weight is not just about weight loss. It includes lifestyle, eating habits, and good nutrition, combined with physical activity. Eating a balanced diet provides the human body with the energy it needs to function properly. Personal dietary habits directly affect the body's well-being and a person's quality of life. According to the Healthy Weight Network, "normal eating" implies eating three meals and one or two snacks a day, and eating at regular times. It also means choosing a variety of foods and eating all foods in moderation.

How many people are at a healthy weight?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 33.5 percent of American adults are at a healthy weight, and the percentage is falling. Between 1960 and 2000, the prevalence (total number of existing cases) of overweight Americans, between the ages of 20 and 74, increased from 31.5 to 33.6 percent. During this same time period, the prevalence of obesity more than doubled from 13.3 to 30.9 percent, with most of this increase occurring in the past 20 years.

How does healthy weight influence a person's life?

Maintaining a healthy weight can enhance feelings of well-being and provide the needed energy to lead a fulfilling life. Healthy weight management is an important part of self-esteem, because your weight affects your body image, emotions, moods, and physical stamina. A healthy weight can help to reduce your risk for physical and mental illnesses.

What can be done to reach and stay at a healthy weight?

Efforts to get Americans to maintain a healthy weight begin with our Nation's children. Parents have an important role to play, because they are typically the primary source of information. More importantly, they are the primary role models when it comes to establishing children's eating habits. Children learn from their parents what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. For children and adults alike, it is important to get in touch with body signals that tell you when you are hungry, full, or have overeaten.

From The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Mental Health Information Center

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