Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2004
Publication Date: 6/5/2004
Citation: Keim, N.L., Blanton, C.A., Kretsch, M.J. American's obesity epidemic: measuring physical activity to promote an active lifestyle. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104:1398-1409.
Interpretive Summary: In the United States and in populations around the world, the incidence of obesity has increased dramatically, reaching epidemic proportions. Dietitians and health care providers can play a key role in combating the obesity epidemic by assisting individuals to adopt a more physically active lifestyle. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the health benefits of physical activity and provide a description of tools that can be used by practitioners in research, in the clinical setting, or in the field for measuring physical activity and energy expenditure.
Technical Abstract: The incidence of overweight and obesity in the United States and worldwide has reached epidemic proportions. To effectively intervene, dietitians and healthcare practitioners need to address both halves of the energy balance equation when counseling clients and patients. Oftentimes, the focus on energy intake supersedes promoting a physically active lifestyle. Incorporating appropriate and sufficient physical activity into one's lifestyle is an essential component to achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. This review summarizes background knowledge on the benefits of physical activity for health and provides an overview of available tools for measuring physical activity and energy expenditure. The physical and mental health benefits of an active lifestyle, current physical activity recommendations for the American public, the prevalence of inactivity in the United States, and components of energy expenditure are reviewed. Additionally, tools for estimating total energy expenditure, resting metabolic rate, and physical activity are evaluated and suitable approaches for applying these tools are provided.