CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ — The last decade can be defined by the ups and downs of different fad diets, but long-term success has been slim. Two out of three Americans remain overweight or obese.

A new campaign crossing the country, the Campaign for Healthy Weight, is rallying Americans behind the healthy weight cause and urging people to think more about their "health" instead of simply a number on the scale. Studies indicate that small, specific changes in physical activity and calorie intake can make a big difference. And, people who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk for weight-related health conditions, such as heart disease. The Campaign will make its stop in Charlotte on September 20 2008, to urge local residents to change their "diet" mindset and elect a new attitude.

Weighing in on the American Diet

A new report called Weighing in on the American Diet, found that the number of adults who say they are on a diet has steadily decreased over the past decade. The study, conducted by The NPD Group in collaboration with the Milk Processor Education Program, found the majority of Americans say they are on a diet for their health and their weight; 68 percent say "feeling healthier" is why they're dieting.

People who are watching their weight, however, are making less than optimal beverage choices. Coffee, soft drinks, teas and juices are most likely filling their glasses and cups with milk being the fifth most frequently consumed beverage — only 14 percent of all beverage occasions. Including milk on the menu appears to make a positive difference, though. The report found that adult dieters who made drinking lowfat or fat free milk a daily habit were more likely to have a healthy body mass index (BMI) with better quality diets richer in essential nutrients and were less likely to feel deprived compared to dieters who didn't — findings which are in line with previous scientific studies.

Milk supplies two nutrients that along with physical activity are especially important when cutting calories — calcium to prevent bone loss and protein to help build muscle mass. Studies suggest that drinking the recommended three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day along with a healthy diet can help maintain a healthy weight. Researchers also have found that people with higher intakes of milk tend to be leaner and are less likely to gain excess weight than those who drink little to no milk.

Milk — The Beverage with Your Health Interests at Heart

People who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to be at risk for weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. In addition, some studies have linked meeting the recommendations for lowfat and fat free milk along with eating fruits and vegetables to a lower risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, as part of a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association 2007 Guidelines for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Women emphasize eating fresh fruits, vegetables and lowfat milk and milk products.

Charlotte Residents Pledge to Maintain a Healthy Weight

As part of milk's proud support for the American Heart Association's Start! Heart Walks in cities across the country, the Campaign for Healthy Weight will set up headquarters at walk events nationwide to rally Americans to eat right, walk more and milk their diets. Participants at the Start! Charlotte Heart Walk on September 20, 2008, will be able to join thousands of other Americans who have taken a healthy weight pledge and voted for milk with their upper lips.

     While at the Start! Charlotte Heart Walk, visitors can:      -- Sample heart-healthy lowfat or fat free milk from PET Dairy and Milkco,        Inc.     -- Pick up a FREE got milk? pedometer to count their steps     -- Take a souvenir Milk Mustache photo and receive a complimentary        two-week Curves membership to help them to continue to be active     -- Join the Campaign and take the pledge to maintain a healthy weight in a        healthy way with milk     -- Enter for a chance to win a FREE trip to the 2009 AHA Start! Heart Walk        in Hilo, Hawaii  

To learn more about the Campaign for Healthy Weight and the findings from the Weighing in on the American Diet report, log onto http://www.whymilk.com. Here visitors can take the healthy weight pledge, get tips on how to maintain a healthy weight and prevent unhealthy weight gain and find out if their beverage choices may be derailing their efforts.

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the national Milk Mustache "got milk?"(R) Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to http://www.whymilk.com. The tagline "got milk?"(R) was created for the California Milk Processor Board by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and is licensed by the national milk processor and dairy producer groups.

SOURCE Milk Processor Education Program

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