Prevention of childhood obesity: shining a lens on the early childhood years

The 2017 National Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference will be held at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast over  7-8 August.

The conference will focus on the specific issues of eating disorders and obesity, the co-relationship within the context of mental health, the challenges surrounding public health in our current and future population and the role of physical health in maintaining our positive wellbeing.

Professor Andrew P Hills

Joining us at the conference this August as a Keynote Speaker is Professor Andrew P Hills DipT BEd PhD FASMF AEP, Professor of Sports and Exercise Science, University of Tasmania. Andrew joins us to discussPrevention of childhood obesity: shining a lens on the early childhood years’.

Early childhood is a critical period for the establishment of healthy eating and activity behaviours. Better practices fostered during this period are likely to impact body composition and health status across the lifespan. Parents and caregivers play a primary role in shaping eating and activity behaviours through modelling and the food and physical activity environments provided. This presentation overviews the main determinants of childhood obesity and discusses practical solutions to support healthy lifestyle practices and prevent obesity early in life.

Other Confirmed Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Dr Evan Atlantis, Senior Research Fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Blair Bowden MBBS, FRACS, General Surgeon specialising in bariatric and general laparoscopic surgery
  • Associate Professor Kevin Brooks,  Macquarie University
  • Dr Vinay Garbharran, MBBCh (Wits), FRANZCP, Cert. Child. Adol. Psych., Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, Robina Private Hospital & Dr Kim Hurst, Psychologist, Robina Private Hospital
  • Professor Timothy Gill, University of Sydney, Professor of Public Health Nutrition & Research
  • Ms Christine Morgan, CEO, The Butterfly Foundation
  • A/Prof Matt Sabin, Director of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity; The Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Doctor Evelyn Smith, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Western Sydney University

For more information on the 2017 National Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference and the various partnership opportunities available please visit the conference website.


Do making habits or breaking habits influence weight loss and weight loss maintenance?

Gina Cleo, Dietitian and PhD Scholar.

More than two-thirds of the population is currently on some kind of weight loss program. The unfortunate thing is there seems to be an inevitable weight regain with almost all lifestyle interventions- that’s every diet, every exercise regime and even every pill. In fact, we regain 40% of the weight we lose in the first year after losing it and much of the rest in the following 3 years.

About half of our everyday behaviour is automatic and habitual which means we’re not completely conscious of the decisions that made us partake in that behaviour. We generally sit in the same place to have dinner, eat the same breakfast, eat at similar times of day -not necessarily when we’re hungry.

Gina Cleo

We actually make over 200 food decisions everyday- it’s the ones we make subconsciously that are invariably hindering our weight loss success.

Gina Cleo, Dietitian and PhD Scholar at Bond University conducted a Randomized Controlled Trial with 75 participants to evaluate the efficacy of two psychological concepts suggested to be the most plausible explanations to this overwhelming lack of long-term weight loss success, and compared them to a wait list control.

The first program is ‘Ten Top Tips’ which promotes the formation of new habits. Therefore, healthy diet and exercise related behaviours are performed without awareness or deliberation, like tying your shoe lace or brushing your teeth. They simply become habits.

The second theory is ‘Do Something Different’ which promotes the breaking of habits. This program disrupts daily routines by assigning an individual with unstructured tasks to perform. The aim of doing something different is to create more mindfulness as an individual becomes more intentional and less automatic in their behaviour.

The programs ran for 12 weeks with a 12-month follow-up period.

The research results showed an average weight loss of 4.7kg (SD = 0.5kg) on both interventions. 12-month post-intervention data showed a further 1.3kg weight loss (SD 1.15kg) in participants in both interventions. Considering people on lifestyle programs generally start to regain the weight they’ve lost straight after the program finishes, these habit-based programs have displayed quite promising results after 12 months of no treatment and no contact.

The findings from this study show that by changing the habits that define us we can potentially succeed at long-term weight loss.


BMI may cost you higher insurance premiums despite questions over accuracy

With his Popeye forearms and washboard abs, Thomas Lacombe looks a picture of health.

Yet a tool widely used by government agencies, weight loss companies and insurers for gauging healthy weight suggests Mr Lacombe, a personal trainer and model, is fat.

“I’m not in the healthy weight bracket,” he said. “I’m literally overweight.”

Thomas Lacombe, a personal trainer and former model, has a BMI of 27.2, which puts him in the overweight range. Photo: Janie Barrett

Mr Lacombe is 189 centimetres tall and weighs 97 kilograms, giving him a Body Mass Index of 27.2 – well outside the healthy weight range of 20-25, according to insurance company Bupa’s BMI calculator.

“That measurement right now doesn’t really make sense,” Mr Lacombe said.

The Bupa website cautions against using BMI – calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared – as a diagnostic tool.

It also suggests BMI can be an inaccurate measure of healthy weight for pregnant women, children, older people, athletes and “very muscular” people such as Mr Lacombe: “It may also need to be adjusted for some ethnic groups, including people of Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.”

A Bupa spokesman said: “It is true that certain populations will not get an accurate picture of the healthiness of their weight in comparison with their height.”

The accuracy of BMI has been questioned, yet insurers may charge higher premiums for life insurance on the basis of a heightened BMI.

“Life insurance is the only one that includes BMI as a part of the assessment process,” Bupa’s spokesman said. Allianz Australia spokesman Nicholas Scofield said: “BMI is used in a similar way to other health risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.”

Mr Scofield said BMI was not used in a “rigid manner” for pricing. “Someone needs to be fairly overweight before it affects their premium,” he said. “However, past a certain point, the clear link with health outcomes makes BMI a credible metric for underwriting and pricing.”

Originally Published by The Sydney Morning Herald, continue reading here.

This is how to recognise emotional eating

Glenn Mackintosh is a psychologist who specialises in weight management and one of the expert’s on this year’s iteration of The Biggest Loser. Each week, myBody+Soul will discuss a common weight loss quandary with Mackintosh, who will tell you the mind is a critical muscle, when it comes to losing weight.

Emotional eating is a term that gets thrown around loosely. Some would say it’s become part of our daily vernacular; an adequate explanation for everything from casual over-indulging to regular bingeing.

But what actually constitutes emotional eating? Because, at one point or another, we’ve all used the phrase to rationalise something as benign as a second piece of cake at a birthday ‘do – or to describe straight-up cry-eating after a, er, trying day at work.

Photo: Instagram/@glennmackintosh

So when does a poor diet choice (or five) cross over into dangerous territory?

“It’s a bit tricky to figure out if you are an emotional eater.

“The first thing is to understand the way we define emotional eating. It’s not just eating because the food is there,” says Mackintosh.

“You’re eating to deal with some unpleasant feelings – whether it’s boredom or stress or frustration or feeling down on yourself,” he explains, and says this is one of the most common issues he deals with in practice.

According to Mackintosh, genuine cases of emotional eating are one of the top three things (alongside “restrictive dieting and poor body image”) that stop people from reaching their weight loss goals – or even committing to a healthy lifestyle to begin with.

Originally Published by Body and Soul, continue reading here.

Are You Thinking About Food Too Much? Here’s The Line

We all think about food every single day, and for a bunch of different reasons — out of necessity, for fun, out of boredom, for comfort and for enjoyment.

But at what point are we thinking about food too much? How much time should food and eating really be occupying in our minds?

“Eating is part of our lives and everything we do day-to-day. But when it becomes obsessive, negative or causes us anxiety, that’s when there’s an issue,” Vivienne Lewis, clinical psychologist at the University of Canberra, told The Huffington Post Australia.

“It goes from instinctual eating because you’re hungry, to ‘Oh God, I shouldn’t have eaten that’.”

Food is more than numbers and calories.

Sound familiar? The point at which regular eating tips over to disordered eating is far more common than we realise.

How much time should we think about food?

There’s no ‘ideal’ amount of time we should be thinking about food, but there is a normal and abnormal amount.

“The ‘normal’ amount of time would depend on whether they’re male or female and what their role is within their environment — whether they’re responsible for the production of meals or just feeding themselves, or whether good food is a particular interest (but not obsessive interest) for you. It’s very much context-driven,” Frances Quirk, director of research at Barwon Health in Victoria, told HuffPost Australia.

Originally Published by Huffington Post, continue reading full article at here.