The government’s latest release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans takes a significant step forward in delivering a strong and simple message on addressing obesity in a healthy and sustainable way, according to experts at Weight Watchers International (NYSE: WTW).
While many of the individual recommendations in the new guidelines are similar to other recent versions, the 2010 Guidelines break new ground in their 30-year history by focusing directly on the REAL dietary issues of today – weight management and nutrient-dense foods. Specifically, the Guidelines tell Americans to:
1) Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
2) Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.
“In my twenty years tracking food and nutrition guidance for Weight Watchers, I think this is the strongest call-to-action to this country to make some serious changes to the way we live,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, registered dietitian and chief scientific officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc. “The new Guidelines succinctly convey that the key is to both cut calories and to make the calories we keep count in terms of those key nutrients.”
In line with the philosophy that drove the new Dietary Guidelines, Weight Watchers developed its new PointsPlus program with the newest nutrition science in mind, including and consistent with the science supporting the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. First and foremost, the PointsPlus program promotes a healthy lifestyle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It does all the work and calculations needed for the desired calories in/calories out with the right mix of both beneficial and problematic nutrients.
“The Dietary Guidelines tell us what we should be doing, but not necessarily how to fit these common sense and scientifically-vetted guidelines into our daily lives,” said Miller-Kovach. “The good news is that our new, simple PointsPlus program can help Americans easily bring these guidelines to life. The PointsPlus program is the simplest answer for people who want to achieve a healthy weight and live a healthier life.”
Specifically, the PointsPlus program helps people implement a healthy lifestyle that is highly consistent with the Dietary Guidelines by promoting and teaching to our members:
- Reasonable Weight Loss/Maintenance: The new PointsPlus food system is a simple counting method that produces weight loss at the recommended rate while guiding people to food choices that are healthy and filling. It makes the smart choice the easy and preferred choice.
- Nutrient-Dense Best Bets: Power Foods, an important element of the new PointsPlus program, provide an easy way to identify the best food choices among similar foods, for example, those foods with higher eating satisfaction, lower sugar, lower sodium, healthier fat and more fiber – the same nutrients highlighted in the Dietary Guidelines.
- Foods to Increase: As do the new Guidelines, we’re emphasizing whole grains, a variety of healthful proteins, and vegetables and fruits – nutrient-rich foods too often in short supply in Americans’ diets. In fact, all fruits and most vegetables are now zero PointsPlus values.
- Behavior Change: For the first time, the government emphasizes that environment and behavior modification are key to making the lifestyle changes – a reality in line with the fundamentals of the Weight Watchers approach, that weight loss is built on healthy eating, physical activity, behavior modification and support.
“Weight Watchers has long been supportive of and a resource for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and we’re excited to see the Dietary Guidelines come to fruition,” said David Kirchhoff, president and CEO of Weight Watchers International, Inc. “We applaud that they have provided such a solid and common sense framework to address the obesity crisis in this country and give Americans practical advice for healthful eating and behavior change.”
About the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) establish the scientific and policy basis for all Federal nutrition programs, including research, education, nutrition assistance, labeling, and nutrition promotion. The DGA offer advice for healthy Americans ages 2 years and over about making food choices that promote health and reduce disease risk. The DGA provides a consistent, science-based foundation for nutrition efforts by the various government agencies. All federally-issued dietary guidance for the general public is required by law to be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.