Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Understanding the Family Can Improve Weight Loss Intervention

Understanding family dynamics can improve weight loss intervention programs. And this understanding can mean even more to single-parent households than dual-parent households, since single-parent household are generally hit harder by obesity.

A study, done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHAMES ), shows that single-parent households have higher levels of childhood obesity than dual-parent households. Further, lower income appears to be a factor in the elevated level of single-parent household childhood obesity.

While the researchers concluded that "children of single-parent households were significantly... more over weight than children of dual-parent households," more research needs to be done to determine why this is the case. And the researchers suggested that when obesity intervention programs are planned, parents ought to be included in the planning process, even though, often, they aren't.

Indeed, to fight obesity in the community, it is important to get families involved in the weight-loss process. Moreover, it is important to learn about the families and their culture. There is already ongoing research into how to get families involved in weight loss programs. For example, in our 9/3/2010 blog post, we reported on an obesity-fighting program that gets families in the community involved in the program by using dance as a primary vehicle. To promote involvement, gospel music, an important element in the families' culture, was the music the dancers danced to.

We believe that the gap in obesity rates between single-parent and dual-parent households can be closed by understanding both the single-parent and the dual-parent households. Understanding each family as a unique entity, and as a part of a culture and community, can enable obesity intervention designers to establish effective weight loss intervention programs. Medical weight loss practitioners can play a leading role in this endeavor.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Telephone-Delivered Weight Loss Counseling

Many believe that long-term counseling could be an important element in long-term weight loss and weight management. And using the telephone to do the counseling could make the counseling more cost effective. An 18 month-long-Australian study is attempting to determine if telephone-delivered weight loss counseling intervention can be an effective weight loss approach.
The study’s primary purpose is to gain knowledge that might help improve the long-term treatment of type ll diabetes. Following a healthy diet and increasing one’s activity are among the most important elements in the treatment of the disease. In the study, over a period of 18 months, three-hundred adult participants will be subjected to intensive telephone-delivered counseling, focusing on getting the participants to improve their exercise and eating habits.
A final assessment of the participants’ health will be made at 24 months, or six months after the end of the formal study. The results of the study will make available the first real data on the effectiveness of long-term telephone counseling.
Counseling for weight loss is already assumed to be effective. For example, the recently passed US Health Care Reform requires that health insurers cover obesity counseling without any co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles. Also, the well-known weight-loss company, Nutrisystem, includes counseling in the company’s Nutrisystem D program, a program designed to fight type ll diabetes.
And ongoing counseling, or some form of talk-therapy, is usually a component of a post-bariatric-surgical program. This component can be helpful in preventing future weight regain following the bariatric surgery. So weight loss counseling is, or will be, an integral part of the treatment for many persons in weight loss or weight management programs.
Using the telephone as the primary counseling communications device may be a simple, yet inexpensive, way to deliver important elements of medical weight loss health care. If long-term counseling via telephone proves to be effective, primary care physicians and other medical weight-loss practitioners may be more likely to include counseling in their patient care programs.
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