Bad choices, not aging, pack on the pounds
Researchers analyzed data on the weight and eating and lifestyle habits of nearly 121,000 men and women from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up study. Participants were tracked every four years for 20 years.
They gained an average of 3.35 pounds over four-year periods and almost 17 pounds over the two decades, according to the study reported in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. Findings:
•People who made the most unhealthful dietary changes gained nearly 4 pounds more in four years than those who had the healthiest dietary habits.
•People who ate an extra serving of chips a day gained an average of 1.7 pounds more in four years than those who didn't eat that extra serving.
•People who drank one more sugar-sweetened beverage a day added an extra pound more in four years than those who didn't.
•Other factors that led to weight gain: decreased physical activity, increased alcohol intake, less than six hours of sleep a night or more than eight, and increased TV viewing.
Although counting calories and watching fat intake have been emphasized recently, the new study indicates it may be better to focus on improving your overall diet, Mozaffarian says.more