The Calorie Activity Balance- A Proven Study (NDPP#7)

In a healthy Lifestyle Balance Program, you should be improving your diet and increasing physical activity at the same time. There was a study from Stanford University that enrolled 200 people over age 44 whose diets and physical-activity levels were well below healthy standards. They were hoping to improve their lifestyles but were not specifically trying to lose weight.

Study participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups:
• The diet-first group began with counseling about improving nutrition, then received both nutrition and exercise counseling.
• The exercise-first group began with counseling about increasing their activity level, then received both nutrition and exercise counseling.
• The simultaneous group got both nutrition and exercise counseling.
• The control group got stress-reduction counseling.

For all groups, the exercise goal was to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week. The diet goal was to get five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables and to reduce saturated fats to 10% of total calories consumed.
What happened? The control group met none of these goals. Those in the diet-first group met their dietary goals. Those in the exercise-first group met their activity goal. But only those in the simultaneous group met both goals. One thing is certain, lifestyle change is very hard to do by oneself.

Most people need counseling and encouragement.  However, every individual has his or her own lifestyle and needs an individualized approach to changing it.  It doesn’t work merely to tell people what they must do, what they need to do, or what they should do. They need the confidence to do it.  Without confidence, behavior change chances are difficult.