Term Paper: Diet and Exercise

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¶ … diet and exercise. There are sixteen references used for this paper.

Americans are becoming more and more obese, which can lead to serious and potentially fatal health risks. It is important to explore diets and the role that exercise plays in them, as well as how age affects a person's metabolism.

Understanding Diet

Diet is "food and drink regularly consumed for nourishment. Nutritionists generally recommend eating a wide variety of foods; however, some groups of people, such as Eskimos and vegetarians, survive on a very limited diet (Unknown, Columbia)."

Until refrigeration was developed, availability was the factor which decided most people's diets. Diets were dependant upon growing seasons and the migrations of animals. Culture and religion also played an important part in an individual's diet.

The diets of individuals changed greatly during the 20th century due to "refrigeration, improved and faster transportation, advances in food preservation and new farming methods that prolong the growing season and increase the yield per acre (Unknown, Columbia)." When World War II ended, "increased advertising, particularly on television, and the growing number of households in which all adults are employed, contributed to an increased consumption of unhealthy fast foods. Efforts in the 1980s and 90s by health experts to educate the public about the importance of a healthy diet has had some impact, resulting in people eating more fruits, grains, and vegetable, and less red meat (Unknown, Columbia)." Individuals are more conscious of the need to maintain their weight, however this desire has led many to participate in dangerous, fad diets. "Successful weight control requires a carefully planned regimen of exercise combined with a diet based on the nutrition information supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid (Unknown, Columbia)."

Role of Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise should be used conjunctively. The "principle behind all weight loss programs is to make a person burn more calories than he or she takes in. When a person burns more calories then are consumed, the body will resort to stored energy reserves for energy. Reducing the calorific intake is one portion, increasing the amount of calories burnt is the other and aerobic exercise is a great way to increase the amount of calories burnt (www.thecolumn.org/diet-and-exercise.asp)."

When a person is involved in aerobic exercise, there is an increase in the rate, which in turn "increases the amount of calories burnt. Some examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, running, swimming and bicycling (www.thecolumn.org/diet-and-exercise.asp)."

Alone or Together

Some individuals try to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle by only eating healthy or with exercise alone. Health experts agree that one can eat less and lose weight without exercise, but it the body will suffer. They stress that "good health is more than simply being the right weight, and if that was all that was necessary, slim people wouldn't bother to exercise (Citron)." To be healthy, one must consume a healthy diet and make sure to exercise regularly. A person may only concentrate on their diet, but if they "have no exercise, their mood might be deflated and the heart and lungs would not be working at their best (Citron)." Ways to incorporate exercise into one's daily life include walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator, and parking further from a store or mall.

Exercise and Health

There are a number of benefits for individuals who exercise regularly, including that of cutting the risk of heart disease. Australian pharmacists and physicians have been working to encourage patients to "exercise moderately for around 30 minutes a day to prevent heart disease (Unknown, Australasian Business)." A "Physical Activity Module has been developed for those seeking advice, and includes sheets on diet and exercise. Pharmacists are especially encouraged to give advice about the benefits of exercise to people who come in with scripts for heart disease drugs or diabetes (Unknown, Australasian Business)."

Exercise and Sex

Researchers have found there is a "direct correlation between exercise and improved sexual function. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that regular exercise may enhance sexuality through a variety of mechanisms that affect both the mind and body. Physical improvements in muscle strength and tone, endurance, body composition and cardiovascular function can all enhance sexual function (Unknown, Newswire)." However, if one over exercises, testosterone levels may drop, resulting in a lower sexual drive.

In June 2004, researchers found that obese men experienced improvement with erectile dysfunction when they exercised regularly and had a lower caloric intake. In August 2003, it was discovered that men over 50 were less likely to be impotent and had better erections when they exercised regularly.

Doctors point out that "sexual function is affected by general health and the more one does to improve their health with physical activity, the better their sex life can be. Exercise has psychological benefits as well such as stress reduction, improved self-esteem, elevated mood and increased confidence that can also contribute to a more enriched sex life (Unknown, Newswire)."

Students attending college face many challenges, including ready access to junk food and the risk of becoming sedentary. Some institutions are implementing programs aimed at promoting a good diet and regular exercise.

Kansas State University has a six-week program that starts right before spring break which provides students with information on good nutrition and ideas on how to implement them into their daily diet. "Along with helping students maintain a healthy diet, students involved in the program are given a personal workout schedule based on their own personal needs (Roderick)." Students like the program because it "helps them remember what to eat, and allows them to get on a schedule that lets them know which areas of the body they should work out (Roderick)."

The program also provides students with a needed "break after a stressful day in class (Roderick)." Students find the program gives them the needed incentive to become fit, while staff at the Wellness Center state "the program is for students to learn how to exercise regularly and live a healthy lifestyle (Roderick)."

Fad Diets

While "one of the only proven ways for healthy, long-term weight loss is healthy eating and exercise, people are constantly searching for the next miracle pill or wonder diet to shed unwanted pounds. This has led several people to turn to a fad diet, which is a weight-loss plan that promises dramatic results. It appeals to many people looking for a short-term fix rather then making long-term changes in their eating habits (Peabody)." number of fad diets do help individuals lose weight for a short time period, which increases their popularity, however "most people are not able to keep up with the demands of a diet that strictly limits their food choices or requires them to eat the same foods over and over again, resulting in many people gaining back weight they lost (Peabody)."

It is reported that "more than 54 million Americans are currently on a diet, with the average diet lasting only 42 days (Peabody)." Experts stress that fad diets may cause severe health problems, and therefore caution must be used before trying one of these diets. They also stress that "the only sensible way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight permanently is to eat less and balance food intake with physical activity (Peabody)."

Current Popular Diets

There are currently a number of fad diets being used by individuals. Some of the most "popular diets are:

High Protein-Low Carbohydrate- Various diets falling under this category include Atkins, Sugar Busters, the Zone and the South Beach Diet. These diets claim consuming fewer calories leads the body to burn fat stores. With high-protein diets, weight is lost primarily through water loss and decreased appetite. Fewer carbohydrates in the body leads to less water retention, while protein causes the body to feel fuller. Downfalls to these diets included dizziness, headaches, dehydration, kidney disease and osteoporosis.

Diet Pills- Diet pills appeal to people wanting to lose weight without changing their diet or exercise. Trimspa, Dexatrim Natural, Metabolife and Hydroxycut each guarantee quick and easy weight loss. Weight loss with diet pills is caused by a change in hormone levels as well as caffeine, which causes decreased appetite. These diets can be harmful because pills may have unknown ingredients and can lead to detrimental, long-term hormonal changes.

Liquid Diets- the idea with these diets, such as SlimFast and protein shakes, is that substituting liquid for a meal causes weight loss. The reason for this is decreased caloric intake. However, there is often an inadequate nutrient intake.

Other Diets- the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet are diets which require strict food choices. Many people lose weight because of limited calories, but most people quickly grow tired of eating a specific food every day quit these diets (Peabody)."

Amylose-Free Diet

Individuals who are grossly obese find it difficult to do even a modest exercise program, forcing healthcare providers to find other means to improve the person's health. One trial conducted in 2001… [END OF PREVIEW]

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