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Curtin research addresses obesity in young adults

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5 September 2008

Curtin University of Technology researchers have developed a unique web-based Tailored Obesity Prevention Program (TOPP) specifically to help young adults improve their eating habits and physical activity levels so that they can avoid becoming overweight as they get older.

TOPP provides a stepwise approach to lifestyle management which is matched to the personal needs and goals of an individual, and prompts them to explore their lifestyle behaviours and choose a solution that works for them.

Lead researcher, Dr Mary Naissides, from Curtin’s School of Public Health explained the benefits of the web-based TOPP.

“As TOPP is web-based, anyone can access the program in their own time and space, which is particularly important for young adults who are juggling careers and families,” Dr Naissides said.

“The Program provides a novel approach to weight and lifestyle management because it focuses on helping people with lifestyle changes that are appropriate to them as an individual and eliminates the prescriptive and restrictive issues related to diet which are found in the majority of other weight management programs”

Dr Naissides emphasised that the key to successful weight management is making small changes to one’s current eating and physical activity habits, in a stepwise approach, and taking different needs into consideration.

“For effective weight management, it is important to consider the issues related to making certain lifestyle changes and exploring these issues,” Dr Naissides said.

“Often there are valid reasons why someone has not been able to switch to low fat foods, or doesn’t do more exercise, even though they know that they should be.”

“Information from similar programs conducted in countries like the Netherlands and the USA show that programs like TOPP are effective in improving the intake of  fruit, vegetable and saturated fat,  increasing knowledge of low fat foods, providing stronger awareness of personal fat intake and improving motivation to be physically active.”

TOPP has been developed in conjunction with Healthway and will be piloted in the City of Belmont from 25 August 2008.

The Program is made possible through the support of the Local Council of the City of Belmont, Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre, Belmont Forum Shopping Centre, and The Lady Gowrie Centre.

Curtin is looking for volunteers to participate in this exciting new Program. Participants should be between the ages of 18 – 35 years and living in the City of Belmont or surrounding areas.

For more information on how to participate, log on to or call Janina Hildebrand on 08 9266 7382.

Modified: 5 September 2008

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