Man Up, Reduce Your Waistline

Behavioral interventions facilitate modest reductions in waist circumference

(RxWiki News) Men needing to lose weight may want to consider talking to a health counselor, a new study suggests.

Canadian researchers investigated whether or not behavioral interventions run by physicians could inspire weight-loss amongst obese patients, and uncovered that success might depend on sex.

"Talk to your doctor about a behavioral intervention to facilitate weight-loss.  "

Lead author, Robert Ross, Ph.D., of Queen’s University in Ontario, explains, “The primary finding of this trial is that a lifestyle-based intervention delivered by a trained health educator within the primary care setting was associated with significant reductions in abdominal obesity compared with usual care.

"However, the magnitude of the reduction in waist circumference was modest and the effectiveness of the intervention was restricted to men, suggesting that behavioral interventions designed to reduce obesity may be sex dependent."

The modification program lasted two years and incorporated health experts to both educate and counsel the patients. In order to gauge its effectiveness, the patients were divided into two groups and one received treatment as usual while the other engaged in the behavioral intervention.

Of the 490 people who participated, 249 received individualized counseling from doctors about how to adjust their lifestyle in order to promote weight-loss. This included tips on eating well, exercising, and living healthy.

Roughly eighty-percent of the participants completed the program, and “a significant main effect was observed for waist circumference change within the intervention [group] compared with usual care,” says Dr. Ross and his co-authors.

While intervened men sustained reductions throughout the program, the women lost more weight initially, noted at both six and twelve months, yet seemed to put it back on by month twenty-four.

The Canadian Institute of Health funded the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The research reported no conflicts of interest.  

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Review Date: 
February 27, 2012