Why Is Behavior Change Towards Healthy Diet and Lifestyle So Hard?


I've been pondering this question ever since reading an article that public health officials in the UK want to start labeling foods with "activity equivalents." (1) While only a proposal at this stage, these depictions would let consumers know approximately the time and types of activity required to burn off the calories in the product being purchased. A box of biscuits might, for example, have a picture of a person walking for 60 minutes or swimming for 30 minutes to demonstrate the type of activity and length of time it would take to burn off the calories in one serving. With more than 2/3 of the population in the UK falling into the overweight or obese category, this might be a good step forward.

But it is? While at first glance this looks like another positive step in the labeling of our foods, stop and think for a minute why this proposal is arising in the first place. Despite the myriad of rules we have around labeling and manufacturing of foods, the public health campaigns on TV and in magazines, the education we get in our doctors' offices and schools – we are not effectively combing the obesity epidemic. The article even states currently there is little evidence that the information provided on food products has had any significant impact on changing health behavior. Why is that?

I think on a gut level you know why that is. Marketing. The addictive qualities of salt, sugar and fat (Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss is a good read, by the way). Lack of time to prepare meals and incorporate exercise. Simple lack of health education, especially at an early age. The reasons are endless, and they vary for each person. The deck is stacked against us when it comes to healthy diet and lifestyle choices. While food labeling is helpful, it is not creating the impact that was held for.

Unfortunately I do not have any easy solutions to offer. Like anything, it takes hard work. In my case, I think about food and exercise every single day. And it's not just because I'm a Dietitian, although it does mean I'm reminded daily about the health risks related to poor diet andactivity. In order to stay on top of what I eat and getting in daily movement, I have to plan it out. Yep, every single day I'm mentally recording what I plan to eat, where and when I'm going to exercise, and on top of that doing the same for my kids. It is a mindset that you prioritize, and I just do not think a few pictures depicting walkers and joggers on the side of a food label will catalyze that change, especially when the foods I and other health practitioners recommend generally are not the ones with the crazy busy food labels!

While normally I am all for increased awareness and openness when it comes to labeling, I think this one might be an unnecessary burden on business, may actually increase confusion when it comes to reading the label (how much info can they fit on there anyway? ??), and generally be a huge waste of time. We need to get real nuts and bolts of what creates behavior change, and as I said before, that is not a one-size-fits all approach.

So do not feel discouraged if you are one of the people struggling with long-term change. You are definitely not alone, and you just just have not hit the right messages and planning tools to kickstart that change for good. My recommendation? See a Registered Dietitian of course! Or if not an RD, at least someone with health expertise to help guide you on an individual level. While these mass campaigns to encourage health are helpful to some degree, most of us need more specific and tailor advice, especially when it comes to behavior changes that lasts. Make the time to meet with someone. Your health is worth it.

1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160406202430.htm

Lastly, I am curious to know, what do you think about new labeling suggestions? What, if anything, would be helpful for you to see on a label that is not already there? What do you find helpful in planning your day or reminding you to engage in healthy activities? What are the major barriers you have to implement a consistent plan? These are the questions each of us need to deal with on an individual level to come up with the solution that will work.


Source by Danielle VenHuizen

Related Posts

Pet Hamster Care - Are You Up to the Challenge?

Essential Eye Health Foods For Better Eyesight

[ad_1] In many ways the saying by Hippocrates is true today: "Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food." This principle can be applied to…

Read more
Dwarf Hamster Care - A Pocket Pet For You?

What Are the Serving Sizes on Keurig Coffee Makers?

[ad_1] While different models of Keurig coffee makers will have different options for cup sizes, they all have one thing in common–the buttons you press to brew a cup of…

Read more
Dwarf Hamster Care - A Pocket Pet For You?

Singing Tips and Techniques – Drop Your Adam’s Apple and Extend Your High Singing Range

[ad_1] The “Adam’s Apple” is the container of the vocal cords. When we swallow it moves up to the top of the throat in order to help keep food or…

Read more
Dwarf Hamster Health and Breeding Tips

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Wealthy and Successful

[ad_1] As far as I know, almost everyone wants to become wealthy and successful. Being wealthy and successful allows you to lead a comfortable life, buy anything you want to…

Read more
Dwarf Hamster Health and Breeding Tips

9 Obstacles That Keep You From Achieving Your Goals

[ad_1] While you may have spent a lot of time working on your goals for the next year, there are plenty of things that are going to get in your…

Read more
Dwarf Hamster Care - A Pocket Pet For You?

Prostate Massage – How Much is Enough? How Much is Too Much?

[ad_1] Prostate massage is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools for healing a sick and painful prostate. It's not because of the massage itself. It is because…

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *