A majority of Americans are overweight or obese, a factor in the rapid rise in common diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more. According to a paper published collaboratively in this month's issues of the official journals of both the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, energy balance is a viable public health solution to address the obesity epidemic. The paper outlines steps to incorporate energy balance principles into public health outreach in the U.S.
"It is time we collectively move beyond debating nutrition or exercise and focus on nutrition and exercise," said co-author and ACSM member Melinda Manore, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.S.D., FACSM of Oregon State University. "Nutrition and exercise professionals working collaboratively, combined with effective public health messaging about the importance of energy balance, can help America shape up and become healthier."
The paper, published in the July edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, gives the following recommendations:
•Integrate energy balance into curriculum and training for both exercise science and nutrition professionals and strengthen collaborative efforts between them
•Develop competencies for school and physical education teachers and position them as energy balance advocates
•Develop core standards for schools that integrate the dynamic energy balance approach
•Work with federally-funded nutrition programs like the Cooperative Extension Service and school lunch programs to incorporate energy balance solutions
•Develop messaging and promotional strategies about energy balance that American consumers can understand and apply to their lifestyle
•Map out and support existing programs that emphasize energy balance
"Our health professionals are currently working in silos and must work together to educate and promote energy balance as the key to better health" said Manore. "The obesity crisis is one of the greatest public health challenges of our generation. Energy balance can help us work toward a solution so our children aren't saddled with the same health challenges we currently face. "
The paper is an outcome of the October 2012 expert panel meeting titled "Energy Balance at the Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action" hosted by ACSM, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agriculture Research Service.
American College of Sports Medicine