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Rethinking weight management

Weight Management

An Amway study revisits factors that play a role in weight loss.

Last year Amway conducted a survey* in eight European countries. One outcome: the majority of people (63-80%) have tried to lose weight. At the same time the number of overweight people in modern societies is increasing. Obviously it is difficult to achieve long-lasting weight loss results. What is the reason?

This was the question the UK Government addressed to more than 200 scientific experts. The goal was to identify the factors having an influence on weight gain and to identify and to understand the complex systematic structure of weight gain up to obesity. The outcome was a map showing the relation of different factors contributing to obesity.

According to this study* the individual biology – among other factors, such as activity, sociological and psychological factors – plays an important role in the complex system of weight gain. This applies in particular to the individual genetic pattern. Studies in humans have identified a number of specific genes associated with weight gain.

To lose weight and to manage weight long term is difficult, as it is influenced by many factors. The common perception that if only people ate less and did more, the problem would be solved is too simple. There is an underlying complexity to being overweight and an interplay between a wide variety of variables and determinants related to individual biology, eating behaviours and physical activity, set within a social, cultural and environmental landscape.

A modern weight management programme has to respect this complexity and has to address:

  1. every individual’s biology

  2. the personal situation

  3. food consumption

  4. physical activity

  5. motivational support

*Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project report 2nd Edition- Government Office for Science

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