Junkfood Science: A few more bricks

June 06, 2007

A few more bricks

...to throw at the fight against obesity. New Jersey is actually creating an office of obesity with a budget of $2 million, and New Zealand is paying celebrities to become “lifestyle ambassadors” to spread “the healthy living message.” A new product has been introduced that can sense your behavior and report on your compliance with prescribed exercise and healthy lifestyle behaviors. And coming soon to you, may be a visit from the Health Corps to whip you into shape.

Here’s an assortment of recent news stories to get your Nanny radar tuned up:

State's new office to lead fight against obesity

State health officials yesterday announced they are establishing a new Office of Nutrition and Fitness to help lead the fight against obesity. The office will oversee more than $2 million in nutrition and fitness programs and coordinate the department's existing obesity prevention programs. They include efforts to promote sports and physical activity, encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption and promote breastfeeding. Department staff will also work to implement the New Jersey Obesity Prevention Task Force's recommendations....

Lifestyle ambassadors help fight child obesity

Several well-known names have agreed to be lifestyle ambassadors in the fight against child obesity....Health Minister Pete Hodgson says the ambassadors will visit schools and youth events, and act as virtual buddies providing online support. A text message campaign with tips for keeping fit is also in the pipeline. Former Silver Ferns captain Bernice Mene is looking forward to spreading the healthy living message....

SenseWearR Shown to be Effective Behavioral Modification Tool for Weight Loss

...[B]y incorporating the SenseWear body monitoring system into weight loss intervention programs physicians can improve treatment outcomes. The results present positive evidence on the ability of SenseWear to assess and report patients' daily metabolic behavior accurately and continuously which when provided to both patient and physician can contribute to behavioral change....

The study results, which were published in the April 2007 issue of Obesity, examined the effects of the SenseWear Body Monitoring System on 57 patients enrolled in a 12-week behavioral weight loss intervention program. The results showed that weight loss was significantly greater among the patients who used SenseWear continuously during the program. Their weight loss was nearly twice as great as those who used SenseWear only intermittently.

Ideally suited for patients with chronic conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the SenseWear Body Monitoring System delivers up-to-the-minute behavior data such as calories burned, physical activity and sleep to physicians and patients. This kind of information is the foundation to any behavioral change program intended to help manage metabolic disorders and promote weight loss.....

[Quick note on this study. There were about only about 19 people in each study group: either the traditional diet and behavioral weight program group, the group that wore the device intermittently (3 weeks total), or the group that wore it continuously. During this short 12 week period, the regular dieters lost about 3/4 pound a week, the intermittent wearers even less (1/2 pound/week), and the continuously monitored about 1 pound/week. It awaits to be seen how any of them have faired in a few years and kept the weight off.] It makes one wonder if next in development is a device to deliver shocks when people misbehave? :)

And the pièce de résistance:

Dr. Oz, an Oprah regular, says NYC govt can help with obesity

...Oz, a co-author of the best-selling "You: On a Diet" book, who makes regular appearances on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, joined several city councilmen to talk about getting New Yorkers to be healthier....

[Councilman Joel Rivera] is hoping to get more city funding for a number of health initiatives that address obesity, like the program that Oz founded known as HealthCorps. Modeled after the Peace Corps program, HealthCorps pays recent college graduates a stipend to mentor students on diet, nutrition and exercise. It received crucial funding of about $250,000 from the City Council last year, Oz said.

Noting New York City's ban on trans fats, Oz said city government is “setting the trend" with progressive health policy.

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