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Reality gap? Obese Americans claim to follow healthy eating and exercise habits

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: obesity, healthy lifestyle, healthy habits

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(NewsTarget) A new survey has found that more than 75 percent of obese adults claim to have healthy eating habits, while 40 percent say they exercise vigorously at least three times a week.

"There is, perhaps, some denial going on," says Dr. David Schutt of Thomson Medstat, the research company that performed the telephone survey. "Or there is a lack of understanding of what does it mean to be eating healthy, and what is vigorous exercise."

Surveyors contacted 11,000 Americans randomly via telephone, and found that 3,100 participants were obese or morbidly obese; 4,200 were overweight; 3,800 reported normal weight and 200 were underweight.

The survey found that 28 percent of obese people claimed to snack two or more times a day, compared to 24 percent of normal-weight participants. However, the survey did not take into account food type or quantity.

With roughly two-thirds of Americans classified as overweight and one-third obese, the study findings suggest that the weight epidemic may be partly due to unclear definitions of healthy diet and exercise.

"In my experience," explains consumer health advocate Mike Adams, "very few people truly understand what it means to follow a healthy lifestyle. Most consumers suffer under the dangerous misimpression that processed, factory-made foods can somehow be healthy, even though they are stripped of nutrition and laced with chemical additives," he says. "Part of the problem is that the FDA allows food companies to make ridiculous health claims, such as claiming that chocolate milk powder, made primarily with processed sugar, is good for kids' bones because it contains a tiny amount of supplemental calcium."

Health advocates recommend a diet with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, proteins and avoidance of unhealthy processed foods, as well as supplementation to boost overall health. Exercise should consist of cardiovascular workouts that elevate the heart rate for at least 45 minutes three times a week, and include strength training.


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