Food Manufacturers Say Lack of Exercise Causes Weight Gain
A Hong Kong researcher maintains that consumers are being led to believe that lack of exercise is the cause of their excess weight. Exercise more and problem solved, say many food companies. Not so fast says the science.
Associate Professor Mukjopadjyay, a marketing specialist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, says that food companies are using a tactic he labels “lean-washing” to remove dietary quality, calories, and portion sizes as the main culprits of weight gain, implicating exercise as the full answer to weight balance. He says they are wrong and most experts agree.
With obesity a worldwide problem and a 2014 McKinsey report estimating the cost of obesity at $2 trillion; consumers need science-based facts and honesty. Suggesting that exercise is the major answer is just downright dishonest. The professor believes that consumers have incorrect beliefs about weight gain and the role diet and exercise play. He believes that those mistaken beliefs have been a driver of weight gain.
In truth, science has clearly proven that exercise can help to nudge weight balance and it can also help with weight maintenance. The major driver of weight gain is poor diet, too high daily calorie tally, and certainly sedentary lifestyle. Drinking caloric beverages, emotional eating and the 24/7 availability of food have really pushed childhood and adult obesity rates. The professor and other nutrition and food experts suggest that the food industry must shoulder some responsibility.
The new nutrition facts label guidelines will help to guide consumers by highlighting calories per serving in larger, bold-face type, highlighting more realistic single portion size servings, and clearly showing added sugars per serving.
The Physical Activity Guidelines provide guidance for how children and adults can improve health through physical activity. Current exercise guidelines for children and teens suggest:
Aerobic activity – Engage with sixty minutes or more daily with moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, like running, dancing, biking, or jumping rope, but have at least three of those days focus on vigorous intensity exercise.
Muscle-strengthening activity – Part of the sixty minutes daily exercise should include strength training efforts like climbing and swinging on the monkey bars, climbing trees, or even lifting weights on at least three days.
Bone-strengthening exercises – Maintaining bone density is crucial during the formative years, so exercises that involves “impacting” like jumping, jogging and running should also be part of, at minimum, three days a week exercise efforts.
Experts say it’s important to encourage kids to try a variety of different physical activities and sports. Some kids and teens may match up well with team sports while others may prefer individual sports. There’s a perfect match for every kid.