Background/aims: The aim of this study was to determine the types of healthy lifestyle programs (HLPs) (diet and physical activity) used by overweight and obese adults to help them maintain or lose weight.
Methods: Men and women residing in the Illawarra region who expressed an interest in taking part in a 12 month healthy lifestyle trial were asked to complete an online screening survey asking about their health and wellbeing. The survey was completed by 620 participants and included questions on healthy lifestyle programs and self-reported height and weight.
Results: Median BMI was 32.8kg/m2 (range 25.0-63.8 i.e. obese) with no significant difference between males and females (p value = .103). About two thirds (66%)of participants reported using ≥1 HLPs in the previous two years whilst 12% reported using ≥3 HLPs. Of the overweight participants (BMI range 25-<30), 42% did not use a HLP whereas 15% of participants with a BMI ≥40 reported using ≥ 3 HLPs in the previous two years. The most commonly used HLPs reported were private programs such as Weight Watchers (33% and mobile applications (33%). This compares to 7% of participants reported to use Government HLPs such as NSW Get Healthy.
Conclusion: These preliminary findings are useful for understanding the frequency and types of healthy lifestyle programs being used by an overweight and obese population. Further research is necessary to determine whether these programs are effective and how they can be further developed and incorporated in weight loss programs.
Funding: Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute