National Cancer Institute Home at the National Institutes of Health | www.cancer.gov

Publication Abstract

Authors: Flegal KM, Troiano RP, Ballard-Barbash R

Title: Aim for a healthy weight: what is the target?

Journal: J Nutr 131(2S-1):440S-450S

Date: 2001 Feb

Abstract: The first guideline statement of the Year 2000 edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans is "Aim for a healthy weight." The purpose of this paper is to describe the evolution of the weight guideline and discuss some issues related to it. We reviewed current and previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines and the corresponding advisory committee reports. The weight guideline has evolved over the years into one that is complex and touches on a wide range of issues. The 2000 edition emphasizes weight loss more than previous editions. Unlike the other guidelines in the Dietary Guidelines, the weight guideline has a health outcome, a "healthy" weight, rather than a behavioral outcome as its goal. Also unlike the other guidelines, the weight guideline has become more medically oriented over time. The concept of healthy weight in the guidelines includes aspects of body composition, fat distribution and weight-related health conditions. It may be difficult for the public and even for health care providers to interpret some of the concepts included in the weight guideline. Issues related to the appropriate management of weight can be complex and may require a health care provider as a resource for interpretation. Rather than try to incorporate further clinical decision-making and weight loss guidance within the weight guideline, it may be more appropriate to refer the reader to a health care provider for guidance, as was done in previous editions.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013