Saturday, November 29, 2014

Identifying Characteristics in Young People that Can Predict Weight Loss Success

Overweight and obesity are major problems, not only among mature adults, but among young adults and children. And approaches that effectively deal with overweight and obesity in young people are continually sought. Counseling is an important approach in many weight loss and weight management programs. And if the counselors have some indication of what personality characteristics lead to a healthy lifestyle, the counselors can try to produce the characteristics in the overweight or obese individual. And if the desired characteristics are produced early enough in life, children and young adults may be able to maintain a lifetime of healthy living.

Therefore, gaining insight into healthy-weight related characteristics is important. Understanding these characteristics can enable health care providers to  better identify those young people who can and those young people who cannot maintain a healthy weight. A study published in a 2014 "American Journal of Health Behavior" issue concluded that young adults who change their lifestyle to include weight self-monitoring, gym attendance, participation in exercise classes, and change in eating less fat were the best predictors or weight loss." So, inducing young people to adopt these behaviors could be helpful in avoiding overweight and obesity in mature adulthood.

The 5A counseling model, a well respected counseling approach, may be a good choice for instilling the desirable characteristics within a young person. The five components of the 5A approach are ASSESS, where the risks related to the overweight young person's behavior would be evaluated; ADVISE, where the young person would be given suggestions on how to change certain behaviors; AGREE, where the counselor and the young person agree to put goals in place; ASSIST, where the counselor would work with the young person to identify and plan to remove barriers to weight loss and weight control; and ARRANGE, where the counselor and young person would arrange for follow-up activities.

The 5A approach has proven to be effective. Therefore, utilizing the approach to may motivate young people to embrace the desirable healthy-living characteristics. Weight loss service providers may want to get a good understanding of these characteristics and the 5A counseling method. This understanding could help providers better serve their young clients. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

In the Short Run, Diet Is More Important Than Exercise for Weight Loss and Weight Control, but ...

A 2009 New York Time magazine article concluded that exercise alone will not promote an appreciable amount of weight loss. The article's author suggested that it is the food you eat that counts in weight loss, not your physical activity. Most people who have looked at weight loss studies agree that exercise alone is not as effective, in losing weight, as exercise plus a low calorie diet. But a recent study shows that exercise becomes more important to weight loss and weight control as time passes. In fact, the combination of diet and exercise becomes more effective after about a year.

According to the study, in the short run, say less than a year, behavioral weight management programs that use diet alone are as effective as weight management programs that use both diet and exercise. However, in the long term, say a year or more, combining diet with exercise is the most effective way to lose and maintain the weight loss. But exercise alone was not as effective as diet alone or diet plus exercise for any period of the research.

Exercise, alone, may not be as effective in weight loss as diet because of defenses the human body has built up over time. According to some research, our bodies are able to adjust, for example, to reduced energy intake. Millions of years of evolution have enabled our bodies to "adapt to our daily routines and find ways to keep overall energy expenditure in check.”

Still, exercise is an important part of losing weight and maintaining weight loss in the long term. Further, without any weight loss, exercise is important to mental health. Therefore, the combination of a healthy, low calorie diet and frequent exercise is a winning approach to long-term good health, including weight loss maintenance. And weight loss service providers should always make this clear.
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