Sunday, August 30, 2009

Environmental Change: A Weapon to Fight Obesity

Environmental change as an effective and low cost approach to weight loss appears to be gaining more attention. Environmental change can promote lifestyle modification, which is the leading method used in weight loss and weight maintenance. The two key elements of lifestyle modification are diet and exercise. And environmental change can enable a person to lose weight by causing the person to modify his diet and exercise.

Along with overweight and obesity comorbidities such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, we are now learning that the brain shrinks with overweight and obesity. And as overweight and obesity increase in children, we will likely see more brain shrinkage as these children reach adulthood. So it is important to attack overweight problems in children as well as in adults. And lifestyle modification appears to be a good weapon.

It is now believed that heavy-handedness is not as effective in helping children fight overweight and obesity as a soft-touch approach. In essence, children should not be restricted from eating certain foods. They should be taught to regulate their food intake and eat healthy food. And parents can help their children by exposing them to healthy food in the home. Indeed, modifying the home environment to be conducive to healthy eating and exercise may lessen the amount of overweight and obese children.

Furthermore, changing the workplace environment may lessen the amount of overweight and obese adults. A study by Justin Trogdon, a consultant at RTI International, indicated that “environmental change interventions in work sites may be more likely to be cost saving than high-cost, individually targeted behavioral change interventions...” The interventions include nutritional programs, on-site gyms, and weight-loss competitions. The competitions include “contests that give overweight employees money if they succeed in shedding extra pounds ...”

So, environmental change may be an important component of lifestyle modification in the home, and a cost effective component of lifestyle modification in the workplace. Environmental change can be an aide in weight loss and weight maintenance which can reduce health care costs for employers.

So weight loss service and product providers should emphasize the importance of environmental change as an element in lifestyle modification. These providers should work with parents and employers to initiate environmental changes that motivate exercise and a healthy diet.

(Please leave a comment by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link at the lower right part of this blog post.)



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