Many children are obese these days, but what can be done about it? Research-proven treatments for obesity exist, but they rely on regular one-on-one meetings with a trained health coach. So these “behavioral” treatments are seldom available outside of research studies in specialty medical centers. It’s feasible and acceptable to give this same kind of behavioral treatment to groups of families in primary care, Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, found. She published results of the Family Wellness Program in the Permanente Journal. She is a Group Health pediatrician and assistant medical director of preventive care – and a Group Health Research Institute senior investigator. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening children for obesity from age 6 years – and referring children who are obese to intensive behavioral treatment. This kind of treatment provides information about healthy eating and physical activity. It also gives parents and children a place to share their experiences and get social support. But that’s not all.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have found that adding evidence-based weight loss strategies to a statewide wellness campaign improves weight loss outcomes among participants. The study and its findings are published online in advance of print in the American Journal of Public Health. Lead researcher Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., and her colleagues chose to conduct a study among participants in Rhode Island’s annual, three-month statewide health campaign. Called Shape Up Rhode Island (SURI), the campaign was founded in 2005 and takes a grass roots approach in reaching Rhode Islanders. Leahey says, “Given their reach, statewide wellness initiatives like Shape Up Rhode Island have the potential to improve health in large numbers of individuals; however, weight losses produced are typically modest. Thus, we examined whether adding evidence-based weight loss strategies to a statewide wellness campaign improves weight loss outcomes. We found that such an approach was effective and could, therefore, significantly improve the public health impact of these campaigns.” As a researcher with the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center of The Miriam Hospital, Leahey led the randomized trial. For the study, 230 participants were recruited from the 2011 SURI campaign and were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the standard SURI program, the SURI program plus an evidence-based internet behavioral weight loss program, or SURI plus the evidence-based internet program with the option to attend weekly group weight loss sessions.
Research by the University of Liverpool has found that eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss. Consumption of dried fruit is not readily recommended during weight loss despite evidence it enhances feelings of fullness. However, a study by the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society of 100 overweight and obese low fibre consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period. It also examined if low fibre consumers could tolerate eating substantial numbers of prunes in their diet, and if eating prunes had a beneficial effect on appetite.
GlaxoSmithKline is recalling all supplies of its non-prescription weight-loss drug Alli in the United States and Puerto Rico after customers reported finding other pills and tablets in some bottles. The news is a fresh blow for a product once touted as a potential blockbuster but which has had disappointing sales over the years – aggravated, in part, by a separate supply problem two years ago. The British group said it believed that some U.S. bottles of Alli might not contain authentic product, adding that it was working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the retailer-level recall. News that bottles had been tampered with first emerged on Wednesday.
Learn how to make healthy food choices at restaurants and cafés with Pete Evans’ top tips.
1. Beware of portion size
Portion size is extremely important. Humans are often guilty of overeating and eating too fast as well.
2. Avoid sugar
I don’t tend to count calories, but I do avoid sugar, whether it be honey, agave or anything that says ‘sweet’ on the menu, as fructose is the real enemy that we should all be trying to avoid.
3. Go easy on the sauce
Choose dishes without sauces, or ask for them to serve it on the side, as that’s where many of the hidden calories reside.
4. Watch out for ‘low fat’ labels
I look for very low sugar, high saturated fats and low polyunsaturated fats – watch out for low fat labels, which usually mean higher sugar levels and hidden calories.
5. Choose grilled not fried
I always choose for my fish to be grilled, and I ask for a wedge of lemon and no sauce.
Above recipe: grilled swordfish salad>>
6. ‘Fresh’ is your best friend
I look for ‘freshly’ made salads, with the dressing on the side, and I avoid ingredients like croutons, crumbed chicken, or crumbed fish.
If the salads on the menu aren’t tickling your fancy, order a basic one along with a side of freshly cooked vegetables. Broccoli is great in a salad as are snow peas, asparagus, and cauliflower.
A rich chocolate cake is tempting you, but where is a dietitian when you need one? The e-Care for Heart Wellness study sought to solve this problem. In the study, Group Health patients who were overweight and had hypertension were more likely to have lost 10 pounds in six months if they had secure online access to a dietitian than if they received only information and usual care. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published the e-Care study. “One patient said, ‘It’s like having a dietitian in your pocket,’” said Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH, a family doctor at Group Health, an associate investigator at Group Health Research Institute, and an assistant clinical professor in family medicine at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine. “The patients really loved this intervention – and having access to a dietitian to work with them toward a healthier lifestyle.” In addition to team-based care led by a dietitian, the patients in the intervention group were given a home blood pressure monitor, a scale, and a pedometer. They each had one in-person visit with a dietitian where, together, they created a plan to reduce their heart risk, including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, with eight to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. The DASH diet is not about eating less food, just more of the right food, Dr. Green said, quoting a patient who said: “All those fruits and vegetables kept me full and less likely to eat something I might regret later.”
How to mentally prepare yourself for weight loss.
» Think about your core values and what you want out of life.
What brings you happiness? Perhaps you rank health as a high priority and want to feel good and have more energy? Now look at small steps you can take to live in line with these values.
» Find something that suits you
Hate the gym? Then don’t force yourself to go. Instead find something you enjoy (maybe yoga, bushwalking, pole dancing or underwater hockey is more your style?). If you indulge in fitness pursuits that you value and enjoy you will be happier and more motivated.
» Be open to change
Just because running half marathons worked for you five years ago, doesn’t mean that running is still the best option for you now. Listen to the needs of your body and switch to a new fitness routine if necessary.
» Have realistic expectations
If you weigh under 100kg then it’s not safe or realistic to try losing more than 0.5kg per week. If you weigh between 100 and 150kg, 1kg per week is achievable, and if you’re over 150kg, 2kg per week is considered healthy.
» Try to eat every three hours: three main meals per day with two small snacks.
When possible, exercise before breakfast on an empty stomach, and then eat breakfast within an hour of exercising. When starting or changing an exercise regime, watch that you don’t eat more. Your body will naturally crave more food initially but after a few days your appetite will settle down.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have found that DietBet, a web-based commercial weight loss program that pairs financial incentives with social influence, delivers significant weight losses. The study and its findings have been published in the current issue of the open access publication JMIR Serious Games. Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., lead researcher at The Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, sought to examine weight losses associated with the social gaming website and contributing factors to gauge the success of such web-based programs. On Dietbet.com, players join a game to lose weight while betting money on themselves. Players all have four weeks to lose four percent of their starting weight. At the end of week four, all players who have lost at least four percent of their initial body weight are deemed “winners” and split the pool of money collected at the start of the game. To verify weight losses, players submit photo-based evidence of their weigh-ins to DietBet’s referees at the start and end of each game. “Online social weight loss programs are accessible to large numbers of overweight and obese individuals who want to lose weight,” Leahey says, “but there has been little research to date on whether such programs are effective, or just how much weight loss they generate.”