Simple, Realistic Diet and Exercise Guidelines Needed

Consumers find healthy eating, physical activity, and weight-related recommendations confusing

FRIDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers need to be provided with simple, clearly written, realistic, and tailored guidelines for healthy eating, physical activity, and weight-related recommendations, according to research published online March 8 in Obesity Reviews.

Sinead Boylan, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature and identified 46 relevant studies that examined consumer attitudes toward dietary guidelines and physical activity and weight-related recommendations.

Based on a review of the literature, the researchers found that consumers perceived guidelines to be confusing and reported a need for tailored guidelines that are realistic, clear, simple, and specific. The credibility of the organization issuing the guidelines did not necessarily impact consumer understanding or utilization of the guidelines. Additional studies are needed to provide information on the behavioral impact and consumer response to physical activity guidelines as well as to evaluate the response of specific populations, such as men and people in developing countries.

"Despite the increasing interest in consumer's response to weight-related guidelines during the last couple of decades, to our knowledge, this is the first systematic review to examine consumer's response to such guidelines," the authors write. "The results of this review indicate that individuals require simple, realistic, specific, and in some cases, quantifiable and tailored guidelines."

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