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More than 100 factors influence diet and exercise

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Experts say that more than 100 factors influence the amount of diet and exercise we do - but don't panic, as changing just a few of these factors could help you to lose weight and improve your fitness.

Independent experts have produced a report on behalf of the government, which claims that there are more than 100 internal and external factors that influence the type, amount and timing of the food we eat, as well as the amount of exercise we do.

This in turn affects how well we are able to manage our weight, in addition to our overall health.

The report's findings were discussed at a British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) conference this week (June 26th), which was held at the Royal College of Physicians.

There, experts discussed ways to encourage people to make positive changes to their eating and lifestyle habits.

Scientists at the BNF believe that that people can increase their chances of losing weight and subsequently maintaining their weight loss by focusing on a handful of factors at the same time.

But these will undoubtedly differ from person to person, as the way we behave in relation to external and internal stimuli varies "considerably", according to Bridget Benelam, the foundation's senior nutrition scientist.

She said: "What works for some people may not for others.

"There are lots of different options to choose from in terms of making changes in our behaviour that could have a positive impact on our health."

Ms Benelam suggests that people should try addressing one or two factors from each of seven categories - social; psychological; eating and drinking; physical activity; environment; physiology; and media.

"Within each of these categories there are multiple influencers and we believe that by proactively selecting a range of these to focus attention on, people can make a series of small changes to their behaviour which, when combined, will have a larger overall effect," she explained.

"If everyone were to choose one factor to do more of and one to do less of from each of the seven influencing categories, we believe they would increase their chances of successful weight loss considerably, while also finding the route to a healthier and more enjoyable lifestyle."

Examples of small changes that could make a big difference include developing your cooking skills, keeping a food or fitness diary, spending more time outside, leaving the car at home for short trips and reducing the size of your meals.ADNFCR-858-ID-801396204-ADNFCR

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