It May Take a Village Not to Gain Weight

MELBOURNE, July 19 (UPI) — An Australian researcher says community-based support programs help women prevent unhealthful weight gain.

Helena Teede of the Monash University in Melbourne says a randomized trial indicated a low-intensity program, called HeLP-her — where women learned about diet and physical activity, discussed behavioral strategies such as problem solving, relapse prevention, self monitoring and personal goals, and got follow-up support such as regular personalized text messages — helped women with young children prevent weight gain.

Teede and colleagues weighed, measured and continue to track for one year 250 adult women with an average age of 40. A group of 127 women attended HeLP-her– four 1-hour group sessions of 10-30 participants at a local primary school. The control group of 123 women attended a lecture about healthy eating, the benefits of physical activity and given a pedometer.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found women attending the HeLP-her program were less likely to gain weight and more likely to be physically active than women attending a diet information session.

On average the control group gained nearly 2 pounds — not seen in the intervention group. The women age 40 and under gained the most weight — more than 3.5 pounds. Young participants in the intervention group lost about one-half pound.

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