This project has drawn two major conclusions. The first is that the obesity epidemic, identified by many as one of the biggest public health problems facing the world, is largely due to declining levels of occupational energy expenditure. This conclusion calls for a major refocusing of efforts to deal with the obesity epidemic. The constant attention to dieting for weight loss over the past decades has largely been a failed enterprise, and new approaches are needed. Fortunately, we now have a U.S. National Physical Activity Plan that was released May 3, 2010 (www.physicalactivityplan.org). The Plan presents a broad array of strategies and tactics for promoting physical activity and making the American public healthier. High levels of Positive Health across the population are unlikely to be achieved unless we are successful in promoting physical activity.
A second major conclusion of this White Paper is that fitness is far more important than fatness as a contributor to overall health. We submit that physical activity, leading to good fitness, is a more malleable behavior than dieting to lose weight. We must become more creative in helping more individuals meet current physical activity guidelines, as a major public health challenge remains in getting more people, more active, more of the time. High levels of Positive Health are unlikely to be achieved unless we are successful with this endeavor.