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Putting focus on immediate health effects may improve weight loss success
Date:8/11/2010

CINCINNATIMost weight loss programs try to motivate individuals with warnings of the long-term health consequences of obesity: increased risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma. New research suggests the immediate health benefitssuch as reduced painmay be the most effective motivator for helping obese individuals shed extra weight and commit to keeping it off.

In a pilot research study, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers found that 21 percent of participants in a local dietary weight loss program reported significantly less pain in the lower extremities and back after losing an average of 10 pounds. Additionally, study participants reported a 20 to 30 percent reduction in overall bodily pain after weight loss.

Researchers say their results indicate that even small weight loss can relieve pain and reduce the burden excessive weight puts on the musculoskeletal system.

"By focusing on an immediate benefit that can be feltlike pain reductioninstead of the future health impact of obesity, weight loss programs may be able to inspire overweight individuals to lose weight," says Susan Kotowski, PhD, study collaborator and director of the Gait and Movement Analysis Laboratory in the UC College of Allied Health Sciences.

Kotowski and colleague Kermit Davis, PhD, report their findings in the August 2010 issue of the journal Work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 44 million Americans are considered clinically obese. Since 1975, the number of obese Americans has risen from 47 percent to 66.3 percent. Previous studies have estimated obesity-attributable medical expenditures in the United States at $75 billion, with half of these costs financed by Medicare or Medicaid.

"Obesity has become a national health crisis, but compliance for weight loss programs is notoriously poor. One potential reason for this is that current programs target long-ter
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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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