I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau
Far too often, people are heard commiserating that they don't have time or a place to exercise... and they just can't lose weight. Perhaps they are trying too hard or do not understand that you don't have to become a jogger or marathon runner or consume an overly-calorie-restricted diet to have a healthier lifestyle.
One message that needs to be heard and embraced is this: Small changes in one's diet and activity level can indeed result in weight loss or help with preventing weight gain. This goes for adults as well as children. In fact, there has been a significant amount of media coverage about American children and the “obesity epidemic” affecting this young and vulnerable population. Kids today are often glued to the television or other favorite electronic devices that require very little, if any, movement. Some of their favorite foods are not the healthiest by far, either.
But the good news is that research has revealed that drastic changes need not occur to see positive results. In particular, one study funded by the National Institutes of Health and McNeil Nutritionals, LLC., in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that by making two simple changes daily – modestly increasing activity levels and replacing sugar calories with SPLENDA® Sweetener – families could help prevent excess weight gain in overweight children.
This study of families was designed to evaluate whether small changes in diet and physical activity, as promoted by the “America on the Move” initiative, could prevent excessive weight gain in overweight children. Two different groups were studied. Group 1: Families who did NOT change their diet or physical activity level while monitoring daily activity with pedometers. Group 2: Families made two simple changes – they walked an additional 2,000 steps per day above any regular activity (these steps were measured by pedometers) and also eliminated 100 calories a day from their typical diet by replacing regular sugar with SPLENDA® Brand Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products.
As a result, children in Group 2 had a significantly better result in maintaining or reducing their body mass index (BMI), just by making these two simple changes. Researchers concluded that this “small changes” approach (advocated by the America on the Move® program) could be useful for addressing childhood obesity by preventing excess weight gain in families.
Pretty amazing-- just by making one small dietary change and adding 2,000 steps of physical activity, a positive health outcome was seen.
But nobody is saying you have to walk 2,000 extra steps daily all at once. They can be easily spread out throughout the day. And if you have kids, you know how active they can be, if encouraged. There are lots of ways to include these extra “steps” that have nothing to do with walking. Here are some fun ways you can entice your children (and you too!) to work these all-important 2,000 extra steps into a daily routine:
- Get off the couch and move during every television commercial. Try jumping jacks, use a hula hoop, or make up a dance.
- Help out around the house or even better, get outside and go for a bike ride.
- Dance to a video with friends or family – make it fun!
- Whenever possible or feasible, walk, bike, rollerblade or skateboard to where you want to go.
- Play active games, including ones found at a “dollar store” such as jump rope or throwing a Frisbee-like disc.
- Make up games that could be done while walking (for example, how many different house colors can you identify)
Check out this chart of fun activities (e.g., soccer, swimming) that has calculated the time required to add 2,000 steps to your daily routine!
Watch for more blogs about the importance of making small changes for better health -- coming soon on SplendaLiving.com!
Sue Taylor is a consulting nutritionist with more than 35 years of experience. She is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge and fondness for good, healthy food. Sue will put relevant information in consumer terms and provide valuable perspective to clear up misinformation and confusion about nutrition and food safety.
For more information, please visit:
- SplendaSweeteners Channel on YouTube, and especially the video “Ready, Set, Walk – SPLENDA® Sweetener” with an introduction by Joan Lunden.
- About.com, “Walk 2000 More Steps Per Day and Never Gain Another Pound”
- Rodearmel SJ, Wyatt HR, Stroebele N, et al. Small changes in dietary sugar and physical activity as an approach to preventing excessive weight gain: the America on the Move family study. Pediatrics. 2007;120:e869-e879