Want to lose weight? Incorporating sessions to improve body image may improve the amount lost, according to a study published today in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Their results demonstrated a significant improvement in overall weight loss amounts when body image was addressed (-7.3% vs -1.7%).
BioMed Central: www.biomedcentral.com
Intl Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: http://www.ukdistribute.com/links/1310722818976-Body%20image%20change%20and%20improved%20eating%20self_regulation.pdf
Obesity is a growing public health problem in the US and around the world. Current estimates indicate 25-33% of the US population is obese (defined as a body mass index > 25). With increasing lack of physical activity, these numbers are predicted to rise over the coming years. Obesity is linked to many diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and cancer. Health care costs rise with increased obesity rates. It is not easy to lose weight, but the health and financial benefit of doing, on a personal and societal level, so far exceeds the potential risks.
Over the years, many approaches to weight loss have been published. Some are healthy options that can lead to sustained weight management. Others are fad diets that are both ineffective and unhealthy. This study addressed whether body image could be a significant factor in determining overall outcome of weight management programs. By comparing a program that incorporated sessions on body image with the same program that included general sessions about health, Carraca et. al. demonstrated a significant increase in overall weight loss when body image sessions were included (-7.3% with sessions vs -1.7% without). Body image improved and the preoccupation with societal influence on body image decreased.
There is no magic pill or fad diet that will work. It comes down to effort, desire, and commitment to increased physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. Including methods to improve body image seem to be a key component to add to the mix that may lead to successful and maintained weight loss.