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Weight Control

New Guidelines Can Help You Become Smarter About Weight Management

Recently released guidelines by the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Partnership for Healthy Weight Management should give you access to more and better information about many weight-loss programs and products, according to The American Dietetic Association.

It's no surprise healthy weight helps people achieve good health in several ways, including reducing the risk for many diseases. However, people are often in the dark when it comes to making decisions about losing weight and keeping it off, said New York registered dietitian Cathy Nonas, ADA's official liaison to FTC's Partnership for Healthy Weight Management.

"Successful weight loss and weight management depends on many factors, among them are choosing a plan to fit your lifestyle, getting the nutrients and exercise your body needs, and maybe most importantly, being able to live with the plan once the weight comes off," said Nonas.

A varied diet, according to Nonas, is key to weight-loss success.

"It's not just about eating low-fat foods, it's how you put the whole diet together," she said. "It's smart to include lots of foods rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains."

The FTC partnership includes representatives from science, academia, government, healthcare, commercial enterprises and public interest groups. Their guiding principles emphasize diet and exercise and include voluntary disclosure guidelines for providers of weight-loss products or services.

The disclosure guidelines encourage providers of weight management services to give prospective clients information about the following:

staff training and education;

risks associated with obesity and being overweight;

any risks associated with their products or program;

costs associated with the program; and

program outcomes, or the success/failure rate of the program.

"It's especially important for people to pay attention to outcome information," Nonas said. She recommended people ask how much weight others have lost with a particular product or program, and more importantly, how long they kept off all or part of the weight.

Noting most people find it difficult to keep weight off once they lose it, Nonas said a lifelong commitment to eating a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid and getting physically active would improve their chances of maintaining healthy weight.

"If the plan you follow includes the foods you need and allows you to enjoy the ones you can't live without, you are more likely to stick with it for the long term," said Nonas.

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