Diet and Exercise - An American Hurdle

For many years healthcare professionals have emphasized the importance of diet and exercise in becoming and staying healthy. This study is comprised of research from various experts which assess dietary habits, nutrition, diet plans, and childhood obesity. The purpose of this study is to highlight how the obesity rate in America continues to grow. Healthcare professionals, the food industry, and the government have made efforts to combat the obesity epidemic, and despite those efforts, the obesity rate continues to rise. The source population for this study is American males and females of all ages.

The rationale behind the variety of the source population is to examine all aspects of barriers and successes made in efforts already in place. This study also examines possible solutions for ending America’s obesity epidemic.

The Let’s Move! program was introduced in 2010 by First Lady Michelle Obama. This program’s focus is to end childhood obesity through proper nutrition and exercise. Since its inception, Let’s Move! in conjunction with the U.

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S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promotes healthy eating habits. Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) work with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as the USDA to create policies and programs and work with schools and families directly. The initiative later expanded to include partnerships with cities, faith-based organizations, public museums and gardens, American Indian country, and childcare facilities. “Let’s Move! has worked to ensure that efforts are being made at every level, that together we are moving toward a healthy future for our children.

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” (Bumpus, Tagtow, and Haven, 2015).

There is a definite link between the availability and affordability of “ultra-processed foods” as evidenced by the Current Obesity Report 2017. Ultra-processed foods include sugar sweetened drinks, bread, many snack foods, ice cream, cereal, and packaged frozen meals. These types of foods tend to have low nutritional value, high saturated fat, sugar, and sodium (Poti, Braga, and Qin, 2017, p. 424). There are ultra-processed foods available that contain whole grains and have no added sugar, but studies suggest that Americans who choose to eat these foods are “more likely to select products with less healthful nutritional profiles, potentially contributing to the relationship with obesity” (Poti, et al., 2017, p. 427).

The Current Obesity Report (Lee and Dixon, 2017) also examines these types of foods and addiction to them which leads to obesity. Further studies are needed that include diverse populations to better identify specific causes of obesity in America and to aid in the development of programs and policies to combat this epidemic (Poti, et al., 2017, p. 427).

The need for specialists in obesity medicine has risen with the obesity rate. In 2011 the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) was formed by merging the American Board of Bariatric Medicine and the Certified Obesity Medicine Physician program. The mission of the ABOM is “to serve the public and the field of obesity medicine by maintaining standards for assessment and credentialing of obesity medicine physicians.” (Kushner, Brittan, Cleek, Hes, English, Kahan and Aronne, 2017). The ABOM’s purpose is to certify physicians in obesity medicine. Certification of American Board of Obesity Medicine Diplomates during the first five years of the ABOM spiked each year. In 2012, 587 physicians became certified, and in 2016 there were 2,068 certified. The ABOM continues to work closely with the American Board of Medical Specialties to monitor trends and ensure providers are educated accordingly (Kushner et al., 2017).

The popularity of weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, low carb plans and the use of activity trackers has increased. In 2017 the Weight Watchers program was evaluated and was proven to provide a significant amount of weight loss after three months, but in a trial of 279 participants, none of them given activity trackers achieved greater weight loss than those who did not. After 12 months there was no significant weight loss reported with either group (Thomas, Raynor, Bond, Luke, Cardoso, Foster and Wing, 2017).

Since current guidelines do not focus on fat intake as much as they do sugar, low carbohydrate diets are rising as popularity. Low carb diets are proven effective for short-term weight loss. There is still need to decrease inconsistencies in weight loss outcomes and address individuals’ lifestyles (Burgess, Raynor, Tepper, 2017, p. 1689). The structure of family units, nutrient rich food availability, and socioeconomic status vary greatly in America, and ending the obesity epidemic has proven to be a difficult undertaking.


  1. Bumpus, K., Tagtow, A., Y Haven, J. (2015). Let’s Move! Celebrates 5 Years. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(3), 338-341. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.022
  2. Lee, P.C., & Dixon, J.B. (2017). Food for Thought: Reward Mechanisms and Hedonic Overeating in Obesity. Current Obesity Reports, 6, 353-361. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0280-9
  3. Poti, J.M., Braga, B. & Qin, B. (2017). Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health—Processing or Nutrient Content?. Current Obesity Reports, 6, 420-431. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0285-4
  4. Thomas, J. G., Raynor, H. A., Bond, D. S., Luke, A. K., Cardoso, C. C., Foster, G. D. & Wing, R. R. (2017), Weight loss in Weight Watchers Online with and without an activity tracking device compared to control: A randomized trial. Obesity, 25, 1014-1021. doi:10.1002/oby.21846
  5. Kushner, R. F., Brittan, D. , Cleek, J. , Hes, D. , English, W. , Kahan, S. , & Aronne, L. J., (2017), The American Board of Obesity Medicine: Five‐year report. Obesity, 25, 982-984. doi:10.1002/oby.21828
  6. Burgess, B., Raynor, H. A. & Tepper, B. J. (2017), PROP Nontaster Women Lose More Weight Following a Low‐Carbohydrate Versus a Low‐Fat Diet in a Randomized Controlled Trial. Obesity, 25, 1682-1690. doi:10.1002/oby.21951
  7. Turner‐McGrievy, G. M., Wilcox, S. , Boutté, A. , Hutto, B. E., Singletary, C. , Muth, E. R. & Hoover, A. W. (2017), The Dietary Intervention to Enhance Tracking with Mobile Devices (DIET Mobile) Study: A 6‐Month Randomized Weight Loss Trial. Obesity, 25, 1336-1342. doi:10.1002/oby.21889
  8. Piridzhanyan, A., Park, K., & Clarke, N. (2015). Tackling Pediatric Obesity: All Hands on Deck! ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 7(6), 338–341. doi:10.1177/1941406415615497
Updated: Dec 09, 2021
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Diet and Exercise - An American Hurdle essay
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