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Nutrition Obesity Health Analysis Diets


Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Dietary guidelines for people ages two and up as laid out by the USDA. Updated every five years, a new version is expected in 2005. The page also includes background information and links to other relevant government health sites.

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

This homepage for the nutrition education and policy wing of the USDA provides helpful information on dietary guidelines, access to a number of reports and publications, and an interactive Healthy Eating Index with dietary assessment.

National Weight Control Registry

A study developed in part by James Hill to monitor the success of those who have lost weight and kept it off. To join the registry applicants are required to have lost at least 30 pounds and to have kept it off for at least a year.

Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

In addition to providing information about the school and its faculty, the site stays on top of current trends in nutrition with its own "media updates." It also links to relevant Tufts health Web sites and academic publications.

Center for Science in the Public Interest

This non-profit organization focuses on improving the safety and nutritional quality of our food. Among the highlights are the "Nutrition Action Healthletter," and critical reports on foods Americans love -- movie popcorn, Chinese food, and soft drinks.

The Great Nutrition Debate

Read the transcript or watch the video from this Feb. 24, 2002 symposium held by the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Leading diet experts, among them Dr. Robert Atkins and Dr. Dean Ornish, each make presentations on their findings and then engage in a lively question and answer session about which diet Americans should follow.


A non-profit think tank that promotes healthy eating and emphasizes educating the public on the latest scientific findings in regards to nutrition. The site features food pyramids based on vegetarian, Mediterranean, Asian, and Latin American diets intended to shed light on alternative choices for healthy eating.


Surgeon General: Overweight and Obesity

A collection of information on obesity provided by the office of the Surgeon General that includes fact sheets, prior press releases, and links to current initiatives to combat the problem.

Understanding Adult Obesity

This site offers fundamentals on how to define obesity, including how it is measured (listing weight-for-height tables and Body Mass Index (BMI)), its causes, who should be treated, and additional research and readings. It is produced by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health.


America On The Move

A national initiative promoting simple exercise and healthy eating that challenges participants to meet an initial goal of taking 2,000 more steps a day and eating 100 less calories. The site offers the opportunity for individuals or groups to register to receive health tips and motivational information.

Nurses' Health Study

A study based on a survey of nurses that was started in 1976, by Dr. Frank Speizer. The second phase was founded in 1989 by Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Nutrition. The study tracks the health and dietary intake of its participants, and it is one of the only long-term studies that examines the connection between diet and health.


Rebuilding the Food Pyramid

Harvard School of Public Health professors Walter Willett and Meir J. Stampfer explain why they feel the USDA's current food pyramid is flawed. They offer a revised pyramid, and write that "studies indicate that adherence to the recommendations in the revised pyramid can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for both men and women." Their pyramid is also the basis for Willett's book, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. (Scientific American, Dec. 17, 2002)

"What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?"

Science writer Gary Taubes wrote this controversial story for New York Times Magazine, in which he explains why a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates might be the answer to the nation's obesity problem. In response to public health recommendations he argues "We ate more fat-free carbohydrates, which, in turn, made us hungrier and then heavier. Put simply, if the alternative hypothesis is right, then a low-fat diet is not by definition a healthy diet. In practice, such a diet cannot help being high in carbohydrates, and that can lead to obesity, and perhaps even heart disease." (July 7, 2002)


*These are the Web sites of the diets featured in "Diet Wars." FRONTLINE does not endorse any diet.

Atkins Nutritionals

Official site promoting the Atkins diet, books, and food products. It also features success stories, seasonal recipes, and the diet's own version of the food pyramid.

Dean Ornish, MD's Lifestyle Program

Web site hosted by WebMD for Dr. Ornish's diet recommendations that promotes "lifestyle changes" to improve nutrition, exercise, stress management, and intimacy. The site also has an online community message board for discussion of the program.

Pritikin Longevity Center

Official site for the Pritikin spa in Aventura, Fla. that explains the program's approach and promotes the center. The "resort" section describes a typical day at the spa.

The South Beach Diet

Official site for Dr. Arthur Agatston's diet. It offers updates to the diet's recommended menu, information on the three phases of the diet, and an opportunity to become a member of an online community for additional resources.

Weight Watchers

Membership-based site allows users to follow the diet from home. The supportive atmosphere of weekly meetings is mirrored online with message boards and a live chat. The site also offers articles with cooking and lifestyle suggestions.

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posted april 8, 2004

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