European Congress On Obesity 2013

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‘Move more, eat smarter: simple changes could help reduce obesity in Europe’, says Prof James O.Hill

Liverpool, 14th May 2013: Small changes to daily physical activity and diet could help Europe’s adults fight obesity, according to Professor James O. Hill, PhD, from University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado USA. Speaking at ‘Small changes, big difference: An innovative approach to sustained weight loss, an International Sweeteners Association (ISA) sponsored event at the European Congress for Obesity 2013, Professor Hill argues that the current focus on a single cause for rising levels of obesity is an oversimplification.

The reason for continued weight gain is not overeating or an inactive lifestyle on its own, but rather a combination of too much food and not enough exercise. As an expert in obesity and weight management, Professor Hill believes the answer lies in taking action on both sides of the equation in order to lose weight and achieve energy balance.

Research into energy balance shows that the body quickly compensates for reduction in energy intake, by conserving energy. ‘Few people can maintain significant food restriction – as with a low calorie diet – over a long period of time because we are programmed for survival, not starvation,’ says Professor Hill.

‘The solution is an innovative approach using small and sustainable changes to our diet and physical activity patterns. When these changes are made part of our everyday lives, we benefit without feeling deprived.’ According to Professor Hill, evidence from the US National Registry of Weight Control shows that most people who maintain long-term weight loss adopt this approach.

Professor Hill calls the changes needed to lower body weight, the ‘energy gap’. These may include small changes such as moving more by walking an extra 2000 steps each day or ‘eating smarter’, by making one or two simple substitutions from higher to lower calorie choices each day. People find this much more achievable because they can make small changes successfully. And over time, a lot of small changes can add up to a significant difference.

More than half (52%) of the adult population in the European Union is overweight or obese, according to the OECD. Obesity varies among countries, from a low of around 8% in Romania (and Switzerland) to over 25% in Hungary and the United Kingdom (26.1%).

Professor Hill believes low calorie sweeteners have an important role to play in helping people with long-term weight management. They give people the satisfaction of enjoying sweet taste without adding calories.

Professor Hill co-founded the National Weight Control Registry, a registry of individuals in the US who have been successful in maintaining reduced body weight. He is also co-founder of America on the Move, a national weight gain prevention initiative, and is past President of the American Society for Nutrition.

About Professor James O. Hill

Prof. James O. Hill, Ph.D., is a pioneer scientist in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and energy balance. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of New Hampshire in Physiological Psychology. Dr. Hill is the Founding Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is cofounder of the National Weight Control Registry, a registry of individuals who have successfully maintained significant weight loss. He is cofounder of America On the Move, a national initiative to prevent weight gain by inspiring Americans to make small changes in how much they eat and move. He was a member of the Expert Panel on Obesity of the National Institutes of Health that developed the first US guidelines for the treatment and prevention of obesity. He has also served as the first chair of the World Health Organization Consultation on Obesity. Dr. Hill has published more than 500 scientific articles and book chapters, and is co-author of the Step Diet Book and The State of Slim (to be published August 2013). He lectures worldwide on obesity, health and wellness.