Consumer EducationShare With Clients
Nutrition advice from social media “experts” is best viewed with a huge grain of Himalayan pink salt, says new research presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity. British researchers at the University of Glasgow recently combed through popular U.K. nutrition and weight loss blogs to determine how much of the advice being dished out was trustworthy. The social media influencers were graded on transparency, nutritional soundness and use of research-backed references.
Have you ever made a recommendation to a client, then discovered the client heard something completely different? Or she took part of what you suggested and ignored the rest? Like the time I advised my client about the healthfulness of berries and later found out he had given up all other fruit. That was a nutrition misfire. Maybe it was the client’s all-or-nothing thinking, or maybe I hadn’t been clear enough. After all, there is subtlety in food and nutrition, and getting the message right is a challenge.
How do you or your facility handle the issue of health and fitness misinformation? Since client education is critical in setting realistic expectations and achieving fitness and wellness goals, we want to hear how you’re tackling this issue,what creative solutions you’re using and how your efforts are being received. Please share your success stories.
We want to hear from you!
Have you been frustrated by bad health and fitness advice doled out by social media influencers? You’re not alone, and if you sense that much of the popular online health information is wrong, you’re right! A recent study of key U.K. social media influencers’ weight management blogs—presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland, in April 2019—showed that most influencers were not reliable weight management resources.
Do you want to be a wrestler or a dancer?
This question stands at the center of motivational interviewing (MI), which emerged more than three decades ago to assist people in making difficult changes like overcoming addiction. Health coaches can use MI to help people stop harmful behaviors and start helpful ones. Consider a likely scenario:
Nutrition has become an international pastime. It’s woven into conversations among friends in person and online; it is a priority for scientific study and public policy; diet-related headlines make local and international news; and celebs leverage their fame to promote their products and practices in the kitchen. Accompanying this enthusiasm are differing opinions, scientific debates and downright disputes. Meanwhile, misinformation fills gaps left by insufficient research or inconclusive results.
For years, fat was demonized as dietary “Public Enemy Number One.” Despite the essential roles it plays in the body, including temperature regulation, hormone production and protection of organs, we were told it was also responsible for weight gain and other health woes. As a result, people stocked their kitchens with low-fat items.
Lancaster Medical School in Lancaster, England, has been acknowledged throughout the United Kingdom and by the World Health Organization Europe for being the first medical school in the U.K. to integrate guidelines on how to prescribe physical activity. The initiative is referred to as the “Movement for Movement.”
You don’t have to search very hard to find nutrition-focused research papers partially funded by companies that stand to benefit from the study subject being painted in a good light. For instance, a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition found that older adults who consumed hazelnuts daily (57 grams per day) for 4 months showed significantly improved vitamin E and magnesium levels, which may lower the risk of age-related health problems.
Like them or hate them, soda taxes are proving effective at curbing the intake of sugary drinks. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health cites data showing that after the city of Berkeley, California, implemented a penny-per-ounce soda tax in 2014, consumption of sweetened drinks, including soda and energy drinks, plummeted by 21% in lower-income neighborhoods. And 3 years later, city-polled residents reported drinking 52% fewer of these beverages than they did before the tax passed.
Have you ever picked one grocery item over another because its packaging claimed it contained real fruit or vegetables, only to learn that the product has virtually none of these healthy ingredients?
The more we move, the better we live. Even a few minutes of exercise is better than sitting still.
These are just two of the conclusions in the recent report from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, whose recommendations form a sound foundation for integrating exercise into our daily lives.
Physical inactivity levels continue to rise in spite of widespread knowledge of the negative consequences. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers suggest the issue may not come from a lack of knowledge but from how exercise is programmed. Studies show that simply manipulating elements of the FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise) does not improve adherence to exercise.
Anxious, fatigued, unhappy, uncertain? We’ve all been there, all known times when our emotional hot buttons take over. We swear to ourselves that this time we will overcome those emotions and stay committed to our goal, but when it doesn’t work, we react with indulgent self-gratification. “I had such a long day, and I just don’t feel like going to the gym today,” or “I’ve already fallen off the wagon, so I’ll just eat what I want and start again on Monday.”
It’s time for Americans to shift their focus from calories, macronutrients and micronutrients to taste, culture and mindfulness. After all, our preoccupation with dieting and health fads has us restricting foods, chasing unsustainable weight loss goals and feeling bad about our nutrition choices—but all we have to show for it is rising rates of overweight, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
The evidence is definitive. Risks of smoking far outweigh the health dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to raise awareness of the hazards of inactivity, but distorted information about risks of behavioral choices can confuse the public. “The simple fact is, smoking is one of the greatest public health disasters of the past century. Sitting is not, and you can’t really compare the two,” said study author Terry Boyle, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, Adelaide.
Any amount of physical activity—anytime, anywhere and by any means—is good activity, according to Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary of health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “As opposed to everything being harder and harder, it is actually easier to achieve the recommendations in the [new] physical activity guidelines,” Giroir said during a press conference.
Do you love taking yoga classes? Learning from a skilled teacher is essential for any yoga student, but classes can be full and are sometimes fast-paced. A self-initiated, self-led home practice is an opportunity to enhance your body awareness and sensitivity, shedding light on misalignments or tight areas that might go unnoticed in the studio. Moments of awareness are important because they inform future yoga practice and enhance your knowledge of your body and yourself.
Many web articles and other written resources promoting physical activity are too difficult for the average U.S. adult to understand, per findings by Oregon State University researchers in Corvallis, Oregon.
Maybe graphic health messages on food and beverage packaging like those that adorn cigarette boxes could steer people toward better eating habits.
An Australian study published in the journal Appetite asked participants to rate healthy and unhealthy foods and choose which they would like to eat at the end of the experiment. Next they were shown negative and positive health messages: Some were text only; others had pictures. Study participants then had another chance to rate their desire for the foods.