Why the Answer to the Obesity Crisis isn’t Another Diet

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It’s National Healthy Weight Week (Jan 20-26), and as I’m celebrating by pursuing true health (no diets allowed!), it reminded me of a blog post for EKG Nutrition about intuitive eating and obesity. An excerpt is written out below, but follow the link to get the full text.

If you’ve been following intuitive eating or any kind of non-diet content, you might start to question whether or not the approach even values health and nutrition. “Isn’t there an obesity crisis in America?” you might ask. How can we (dietitians) tell people to eat what they want when obesity is only getting more out of control? How can we reconcile this intuitive eating approach with the growing obesity epidemic?

Yes, there are legitimate concerns here. We’re not saying these health risks aren’t a problem. However, the “answer” to the problem is too often to simply restrict calories and exercise more. But here’s the truth: as the rates of obesity increased, so have the number of people on diets. If dieting worked, we wouldn’t have an obesity crisis.

Does weight (or BMI) tell the whole story of health?

One study analyzed information from about 1.3 million U.S. adults who were either overweight or obese. They found that when an overweight or obese person exhibited four healthy habits, they had the same mortality risk as those who were considered normal weight.

The four habits were (a) being a non-smoker, (b) moderate alcohol intake, (c) 30 minutes of exercise daily and (d) eating 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Being consistent with these four habits levels the playing field for an overweight or obese person and a “normal” weight person.

What we are saying is NOT that everyone with a high BMI are perfectly healthy and they shouldn’t worry about taking care of themselves. What we are saying is that the decision to take care of the health of our body should be independent of our weight.

Read the rest over at EKG Nutrition.


Katie Goldberg

Katie Goldberg, MCN, RDN, LDN, has been a registered dietitian since 2013, but has always had a passion for good food and a healthy lifestyle. Katie earned her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has worked in private practice, higher education, in a clinical setting, and as an in-house dietitian for a food company. Whether it's at through large groups or one-on-one, Katie enjoys connecting people with easy and practical solutions for better health.