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                                                        DR. DAN PETERSON

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      Obesity in both children and adults is on the rise. In fact, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's report on obesity as estimated:
bullet61% of U.S. adults
bullet13% of children
bullet14% of adolescents 

are either overweight or obese.


     The reports say that half of Americans are overweight.  At some time over half the women and a quarter of the men in the US have tried to lose weight. Excess weight can  increase our risks toward heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.

      Those who try the "shortcuts" to lose weight are the ones that end up trying to lose weight over and over again.

There are no shortcuts to losing weight!

     The weight loss focus is too often on severely restrictive diets and setting unrealistic goals.  The results of this choice is that not being able to reach these goals can set you up for an endless cycle of failure and discouragement, which increases your sense of failure.   Extremely limiting food choices can lead to disordered eating.

     Weight management involves adopting a lifestyle that includes a healthful eating plan, behavior modification and regular exercise.

The Key: Realistic lifestyle changes, eating habits and physical activity.

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     Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

Healthful Eating Plan

Eat 5 a day!

  1. Eating breakfast generally helps you feel less hungry throughout the morning.

  2. Drink eight cups of water a day, especially before a meal to curb your appetite.

  3. Include right foods you will enjoy eating for the rest of your life

  4. Include foods that are easily available.

  5. Enjoy low calorie or low fat foods as part of your meal plan.  Even though it is temping, eating a double portion of a lower-fat foods can double your calories and result in an overall higher caloric intake and possible  lower satisfy value ......calories still count!

  6. Eat your favorite foods in moderation.  Taste is still number one.  You will not maintain healthier eating habits if the food you are eating don't taste good.

  7. Stop fixating on calories: eat a wide variety of foods that are from the food groups; low in fat; high in fiber; whole grain, and contain complex carbohydrates.  Eat great tasting desserts.

  8. Nonrestrictive approach to eating based on internal regulation of hunger and satiety.

  9. Monitor your portion sizes.

  10. So single ingredient or food item can ensure good health or reduce body weight.

  11. Try eating 5 a day, fruits and vegetables.

  12. Determine the nutrient contributions of the of the foods you are eating.

  13. Follow 2000 guidelines.  You can feel satisfied with the suggested number of servings from each food group: 6-11 servings of bread, cereal or pasta; 2 to 3 servings of fruits, 3-5 servings of vegetables; 2-3 servings of low fat milk foods and 5-7 ounces of lean meat or meat alternatives.  The number of serving you choose depends on:

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Activity level
  4. Weight loss goals

Changing your eating habits does not mean dieting, but rather managing your eating patterns by enjoying a balanced menu with a variety of great tasting food in appropriate amounts with regular exercise.

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  E.  Focus on eating healthy NOT on "dieting".
  F.  All foods can fit into a nutritious reduced calories eating plan.
  G.  Eat what you like in moderation.
  H.  Don't give up, if you overate, acknowledge it, get back on your plan
  I   Snack with care.
  J.  Eating out:

  1. Start with broth based soup, raw vegetables or salad with low calorie dressing

  2. Calculate and know what you are going to eat BEFORE you eat out.

  3. Choose meats that are steamed, poached, broiled, roasted, baked not fried or sautéed.  Cut off the fat and remove the skin.

  4. Avoid rich sauces and salad dressings.  Order dressings "on the side".

  5. Half your portions. eat half at the restaurant and take the other half home

  6. Split a meal with a friend.

  7. Order an appetizer as your main

    K.  Eat at least 1,200 calories a day. Dietary Assessment Tools
     L.  Eat a variety of food in moderation

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    M.  Avoid: 

  1. "Diets" that use diet pills.  Usually upon quitting these "pills" all the weight is regained within 3 to 5 years

  2.  Encourage "special foods" 

  3.  Drastically restrict your caloric intake.

  4. Unsafe "diet" programs

  5. Doesn't fit into your lifestyle 

  6. Expensive

  7. Does not allow you at the least the minimum number of serving from the Food Guide Pyramid

Make gradual, healthful, sustainable behavior changes to reduce disease risk, improve feelings of energy and well being.

Healthy eat light ideas!

Regular Exercise

  1. Exercise for enjoyment, lift your spirits, release stress, burn calories, increase muscle mass and strength, suppress appetite.

  2. People who are active are more successful at losing and keeping weight off.

  3. Combined total of 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days.

  4. Focus on increasing daily physical activity

  5. Set realistic "exercise" goals.

  6. Pick an activity that you enjoy and will continue doing.

  7. Choose a variety of activities.

  8. Use stairs instead of elevators.

  9. Park your car farther away when shopping.

  10. Meet with a friend for lunch AND a walk.

  11. Increase your daily activity levels with ideas like: Washing your car by hand instead of using the car wash,  use a push mower, rake your yard by hand.

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Make health, NOT appearance, you priority!

Behavior Changes

  1. Train yourself to eat in one place with no distractions like TV. or driving or working at your desk.

  2. Eat takes 20 minutes before you body can signal your brain that you are full.

  3. Reward yourself with a nonfood item: walk, bubble bath, swim, earrings, massage, etc.

  4. Set realistic goals to achieve the best weight possible in the context of overall health.

  5. Focus on healthful eating and increased activity.

  6. Lifelong commitment to a healthful lifestyle.

  7. Set realistic weight goal based on your individual needs not according to social standards.  Try setting a goal to reduce your percentage of body fat.  

  8. Reduce your focus on weight loss and food and establish a more constructive focus in life.  This may lead to counseling to improve self-esteem and body image and to learn how to cope with societal pressure for the perfect body type.

  9. Make these changes  slowly, simply and gradually.  They are easier to master than giant leaps.

  10. Make permanent lifestyle habits rather than temporary rules to lose weight....sustain and practice these new behaviors for at least a year to make them a permanent part of your lifestyle.

  11. Lose weight gradually, about 1 to 2 pounds a week.

  12. Weigh only once a week.

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    If you think you need to lose more than 15-20 pounds, if you have any health problems, or if you take medication on a regular basis than: the only healthy way to lose weight is to quit "dieting" and see a dietitian.  A dietitian can:


Individualize a program that helps you lose weight slowly and steadily.


Educate you to adopt a healthy eating plan so it becomes a part of your  lifestyle.


Teach you behavior modification techniques designed to encourage healthy eating behavior.


Offer personalized support .


Help you design an exercise program.

Even modest weight loss can provide important health benefits!

Successful Losers

Four behaviors characterize long term weight loss maintainers:

  1. Self monitoring-they weigh weekly and report high levels of dietary restraint.

  2. Low calories and low fat diet-total energy intake average 1300-1400 cal/d with fate intake 20-24%.  They avoid fried foods and eat more low fat non fat substitutions.

  3. Eat breakfast each day

  4. Regular physical activity-they expended for women 2500 cal/week for men 3300 cal/day or about 1 hour of physical activity a day. as reported by the National Weight Loss Registry
    NDA 1/04

News Flash!

How to Have Your Cake and EAT IT, Too! all about discretionary calories

From the early 1960s to 2002, the mean weight for men and women aged 20--74 years increased 24 pounds, and the mean height increased approximately 1 inch. During 1999--2002, the mean weight of men aged >20 years was approximately 190 lbs. and the mean height was approximately 5 ft., 9 in.; among women, the mean weight was approximately 163 lbs. and the mean height was approximately 5 ft., 4 in.

SOURCE: Ogden CL, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. Mean body weight, height, and body mass index, United States 1960--2002. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no 347. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2004. Available at


New Update on Trans fatty Acids...PDF Files

Prevalence of Overweight Children, Teens and Men in U.S. Continues to Rise Though Rate May Be Leveling Off for Women
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents and obesity among men increased significantly between 1999and 2004, according JAMA.

Obesity continues to be a leading public health concern in the United States. Between 1980 and 2002, obesity prevalence doubled in adults aged 20 years or older and overweight prevalence tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

Staff from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues examined data on national measurements of weight and height in 2003-2004 and compared these data with estimates from 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 to determine if the overweight trend is continuing. The data consisted of weight and height measurements from 3,958 children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years and 4,431 adults aged 20 years or older obtained in 2003-2004 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population. Overweight among children and adolescents was defined as at or above the 95^th percentile of the sex-specific body mass index (BMI) for age growth charts based on data collected between 1963 and 1994. Body mass index is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Obesity among adults was defined as a BMI of 30 or higher; extreme obesity was defined as a BMI of 40 or higher.

The researchers found that 17.1 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years were overweight and 32.2 percent of adults aged 20 years or older were obese in 2003-2004. The prevalence of extreme obesity among adults was 4.8 percent. There was a significant increase in the  prevalence of overweight in female children and adolescents from 13.8 percent in 1999-2000 to 16 percent in 2003-2004. There was also an increase in the prevalence of overweight in male children and adolescents from 14.0 percent to 18.2 percent.

Among men, the prevalence of obesity increased significantly between 1999-2000 (27.5 percent) and 2003-2004 (31.1 percent). Among women, no significant increase in obesity was observed between 1999-2000 (33.4 percent) and 2003-2004 (33.2 percent). The prevalence of extreme obesity in 2003-2004 was 2.8 percent in men and 6.9 percent in women.

In 2003-2004, significant differences in obesity prevalence remained by race/ethnicity and by age. Approximately 30 percent of non-Hispanic white adults were obese as were 45 percent of non-Hispanic black adults and 36.8 percent of Mexican Americans. Among adults aged 20 to 39 years, 28.5 percent were obese while 36.8 percent of adults aged 40 to 59 years and 31.0 percent of those aged 60 years or older were obese in 2003-2004.

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Can brushing help you lose weight?

If you are trying to maintain a healthy weight you may want to try brushing. A study published in the Journal of the Japan Society for the Study of Obesity found that people who brush their teeth after every meal tend to remain slimmer than those who don't brush as often. Japanese researchers discovered this effect when they compared the lifestyle habits of nearly 14,000 people whose average age was the mid-forties. They concluded that tooth brushing is a good health habit that could play a role in preventing obesity. I have long suggested brushing your teeth at least twice a day, accompanied by daily flossing, to help prevent the buildup of small amounts of food that attract and nourish bacteria. So if gingivitis, cavities, or bad breath weren't enough of a reason to brush and floss, consider becoming a slimmer you. 7/05

A.D.A. Position Paper on Weight Management.

Nutrition Tips by A.D.A.:
A Resolutions Last Stand
Free Nutrition Handouts
Determining A Healthy Weight
Free Color Low-Carb Fad Diet Handout

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

SMART: Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends

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Avoid Portion Distortion

Healthy Weight Handouts

Healthy Weight Network childhood obesity prevention

Top rated diet:

S Ph.D.'s just gave "Volumetrics" the highest combined score in their evaluation of 13 of America's most popular diet and weight management plans.

February 06, 2008

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