Making the Effort?

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Many people who want to lose weight are not following the recommended guidelines for weight loss, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Two-thirds of those trying to lose weight and four-fifths of those trying not to gain weight are not following the recommended guidelines of cutting calories and/or fat and exercising at least two and a half hours a week, write the researchers in the February 2002 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey of 1,224 adult men and women in Olmstead County, Minnesota, from February 28 to May 5, 2000, asking the participants questions about their weight, weight loss goals and diet and exercise regimens.

Slightly more than half the men (65.6 percent) and almost half the women (47.9 percent) reported that they were overweight (a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 25 to 29) or obese (a BMI of 30 or higher). Most (72.6 percent of the men and 85.1 percent of the women) said they were trying to either lose weight or avoid gaining it.

Being overweight or obese and having the desire to control weight—but not dieting and exercising enough—are common, the researchers conclude, adding that the phenomenon identified in Minnesota is found throughout the United States.

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