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Volpe Debunks Obesity Myths and Shares Lifestyle Tips on WHYY

February 27, 2013

On February 12, Stella Volpe, PhD, professor and Chair of the Nutrition Sciences Department, was interviewed for an hour-long segment on WHYY’s Radio Times about the validity of some of the myths and presumptions surrounding obesity treatment and prevention. She was joined by David Sarwer, PhD, a professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. Both Volpe and Sarwer agreed that obesity is a complicated issue with multiple contributing factors, two of which are recent increases in portion sizes and our population’s tendency to live a sedentary lifestyle.

Volpe often says to patients, “It didn’t take you three weeks to get here, so don’t expect it’s going to take that much time to lose it.” She says that the average adult should aim for 300 minutes or more of exercise per week if they desire to lose weight. Some of the tried and true recommendations, she continued, are basic but effective. “Energy balancing” involves balancing the input and output of calories. Essentially, if an individual seeks to maintain their weight, the calories that they take in should equal the calories that they expend throughout the day. Likewise, if someone wants to lose weight, they need to take in less calories than they’re exhausting through their activity. The keys to achieving a healthy weight for the one third of Americans who are overweight or obese are regular physical activity, avoiding mindless eating, portion control, and swapping soda for water.