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New Research From America On the Move Foundation Indicates American Weight Loss Efforts Stalling

Poll commissioned by AOMF and conducted by Harris Interactive(R) shows efforts to lose weight have dropped 14 percentage points in the last four years

BOSTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today America On the Move Foundation (AOMF), a national non-profit organization, released new research that indicates efforts by Americans to lose weight might be stalling. The results, released in conjunction with AOMF's Steptember 2007 celebration, show that in the past four years, the number of Americans trying to lose weight has declined by 14 percentage points, from 73 percent in 2003 to 59 percent today.

The research also indicates that building social networks might be crucial to regaining momentum: though 74 percent of Americans agree it is important to have a support network of family and friends when trying to lose or maintain healthy weight, only 40 percent say their immediate family members encourage them to eat healthy and nutritious foods. Fewer than two in 10 Americans (16 percent) report their close friends encourage these same choices.

"As obesity continues to rise at an alarming pace, these results show that Americans do not have the support they need to make healthy changes," said James O. Hill, Ph.D., AOMF co-founder and professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center. "In September and throughout the year, AOMF is committed to providing social networks that encourage and support Americans who are making small changes to lose or maintain weight."

AOMF mobilizes millions of Americans to embrace healthy eating and active living habits and measures our progress toward a healthier nation. AOMF's research-based programs encourage Americans to move more and eat less by making two simple daily changes:

-- Adding 2,000 more steps (about 1 mile)

-- Cutting 100 calories (1 tablespoon of butter)

Today's research findings, coupled with a recent New England Journal of Medicine study that found social networks can greatly influence healthy weight(1), have prompted AOMF to refocus its efforts on building and reinforcing online and real life social networks that can help Americans move more and eat smarter by surrounding themselves with positive examples, building confidence and showcasing successes.

AOMF's national survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R), polled 2,493 U.S. adults aged 18 or older, regarding their attitudes toward weight loss and healthy living. Results show:

-- Efforts to lose and maintain healthy weight might be stalling. In

the four years, the number of Americans trying to lose weight has

declined by 14 points (from 73 percent in 2003 to 59 percent today).

Another quarter (24 percent) of Americans are trying to maintain their

current weight.

-- Americans need social support networks that encourage and promote

healthy eating and exercise habits. Three-quarters (74 percent) of

Americans agree that it is important to have a supportive network of

family and friends when trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy

weight. Nearly six in ten (57 percent) adults agree it is important

to have a community that supports and encourages healthy eating and

exercise habits.

-- Sustaining and reinforcing social networks is key to helping Americans

reach weight loss or healthy weight goals. Only four in ten

(40 percent) adults say that all or most of their immediate family

members encourage them to eat healthy and nutritious foods or eat

healthy and nutritious food themselves on a regular basis (38 percent).

Only three in ten adults say that all or most of their immediate family

members encourage them to be physically fit (36 percent) and exercise

or do physical activity themselves on a regular basis (27 percent).

Similarly, fewer than two in ten Americans say all or most of their

close friends eat healthy and nutritious foods on a regular basis (19

percent), encourage them to be physically fit (18 percent), exercise

or do physical activity on a regular basis (17 percent), and encourage

them to eat healthy and nutritious foods (16 percent).

"These findings suggest Americans are not getting support from social networks that they view as crucial to living healthier," said Dana Markow, Ph.D., vice president, Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive.

Each year, Steptember focuses on introducing families and friends to the social networks that already are in place to support their healthy living goals. Through Steptember, AOMF and the YMCA of the USA offer a live support network by giving Americans new resources to take action among their friends, their families and their communities. For more information about AOMF and Steptember, visit

Throughout the year, AOMF's Web site,, offers individuals, families and community groups quick ways to take action including tips sheets, step equivalents, benchmarks and an online tracking system.

PepsiCo and its Smart Spot(TM) brands are supporting this effort as the National Presenting Sponsor of AOMF. Today, more than 300 Smart Spot products are available Tropicana(R), Aquafina(R), Gatorade(R), Baked! Lay's(R), Quaker Oats(R) and Diet Pepsi(R) among others. Additional AOMF Steptember sponsors include LEAN CUISINE(R) and Merck & Co., Inc.

About the Research

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery(SM) on behalf of AOMF between Aug. 10 and 14, 2007, among 2,493 adults ages 18 and older. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, region, level of education, and income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100 percent response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About America On the Move Foundation

America On the Move Foundation (AOM) is a national nonprofit helping individuals, families and communities across our nation make positive changes to improve the health and quality of life. With more than a million participants on and offline, America On the Move (AOM) initiates and maintains individual, social, and environmental behavior changes that support healthy eating and active living habits in our society. AOM's science-based programs provide the support and tools that help individuals of all ages manage weight effectively through energy balance. For more information about Steptember and other free AOM programs, please visit:

About PepsiCo and the Smart Spot Program

PepsiCo, one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, is committed to providing industry leadership in the health and wellness arena. PepsiCo and its Smart Spot products are supporting this effort as a national sponsor of YMCA Activate America and the National Presenting Sponsor of America On the Move. PepsiCo launched the Smart Spot symbol, the first-of-its-kind designation that makes it easier for consumers to identify PepsiCo products that can contribute to healthier lifestyles. Products that feature the Smart Spot symbol meet established nutrition criteria based on authoritative statements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences. The Smart Spot logo appears on more than 300 products across all of PepsiCo's brands including Tropicana(R), Aquafina(R), Gatorade(R), Baked! Lay's(R), Quaker Oats (R) and Diet Pepsi(R) among others.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and one of the fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at

(1)New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 357, No. 4, July 26, 2007, pages 370-379

SOURCE America On the Move Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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