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October 2019 Question of the Month: Fitness Misinformation

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!

Social Media Influencers Give Inaccurate Health Advice

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.

Analyze Today’s Hot Button Issues in Nutrition

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.

Correcting Misconceptions About Fat

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.

The Lowdown on Industry-Funded Research

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.

June 2019 Question of the Month: Should Cities Help Shape What People Eat?

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.

Inside the Latest Physical Activity Guidelines

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.

Creating Enjoyable Training Programs

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.

Helping Clients Enjoy the Taste and Culture of Food

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.

Sitting Is Not the New Smoking

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.

New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

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.

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