Four tips to lose weight
The association between weight gain and meeting simple guidelines for four key behaviours. A survey of a cohort of 1,155 people (43% men, 57% women) at two points five years apart.
Four good habits add up to lower weight gain
The four behaviours are: eating breakfast, limiting takeaway food to no more than once per week, taking at least 10,000 steps per day and watching no more than two hours of television per day.
Healthy behaviours pay off – those who meet the guidelines at both survey times have lower weight gain than those who ddon’t meet the guidelines. Lead researcher Dr Kylie Smith says the study also showed that it’s never too late to change – those who don’t meet the guidelines in the first survey but did five years later have a similar weight gain to those who meet the guidelines in both surveys.
The research participants are aged between 26 and 36 when the data was collected for the first time. The average weight gain for the entire cohort over five years was two kilograms.
The greatest weight gain tend to be among those whose healthy behaviours lapse between the first and second surveys. Weight gain increased as the number of guidelines met decreased. Participants who met none or only one guideline gain on average 3.8 kilograms more over the five years than those who meet all four guidelines.
While the majority of participants met the recommendations for breakfast, takeaway food consumption and television viewing, most did not achieve 10,000 steps/day. Women were more likely to meet the guidelines than men.
Dr Smith said the survey provided encouragement for young adults to make some simple changes to reduce weight gain. “Weight gain is common among young adults so here are four simple things to consider. Our analysis clearly shows the association between the behaviours and weight gain,” she said.
The data analysis was part of the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study (CDAH), a Menzies longitudinal study that is tracking cardiovascular health through the life of several thousand Australians first surveyed as school children in 1985.
This research has been published in BMC Public Health.