A small-changes approach reduces energy intake in free-living humans

Academic Article


  • Objective: America On the Move (AOM) is a national weight gain prevention initiative that promotes small lifestyle changes by increasing walking by 2000 steps/day and reducing energy intake by about 100 kcal/day. The study's intent was to determine the impact of these small changes recommendations on steps/day and energy intake. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, food and fluid intake and physical activity in 116 healthy overweight adults (BMI: 25–36 kg/m2; age: 18–60y) was compared between a non-intervention and an intervention week using diet diaries and pedometers. The major outcomes were steps/day, daily caloric intake, macronutrient intake and meal size. Within subject ANOVAs were conducted to compare results between intervention and non-intervention weeks. Results: Total energy intake was lower during intervention week than non-intervention week (P < .01), including macronutrient contents (all P's < .01), meal size (P < .01), consumption of sugar (P < .01), sugared sodas (P < .01) and sodium (P < .01). Steps/day were higher during intervention week than non-intervention week (P < .01). Conclusions: The results support previous research showing that the message to increase steps/day results in an increase in physical activity. The results demonstrate for the first time that the message to reduce intake by 100 kcal/day does actually result in a lower intake in the short term. People seem to be able to make positive changes in diet and physical activity in response to these messages. If these small changes can be sustained, this approach could be effective in preventing further weight gain in the population. © 2009 American College of Nutrition.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stroebele N; de Castro JM; Stuht J; Catenacci V; Wyatt HR; Hill JO
  • Start Page

  • 63
  • End Page

  • 68
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 1