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This week: The simple changes needed to get more women active • Growing up is bad for the waistline • Eating disorders workshop for fitness professionals

The simple changes needed to get more women active

Do you want to train and instruct more female clients and participants? We all want more women to get involved in – and stay involved in – exercise and sport.

On 30 January, VicHealth is hosting and live streaming a workshop in which it will share the latest research from This Girl Can – Victoria that highlights simple changes you can make to help more women get active.

The event is sold out, but is being live streamed. Those attending and watching will hear about what women have experienced and felt when being active, and learn how this can help you create programs and places that will appeal to women. A new guide and a clear plan of action will also be made available.

Designed for anyone involved in getting people active – fitness professionals, gyms, sports clubs, local councils, community groups and more – the workshop promises to deliver some useful insights that can benefit your local community and help your business attract and retain more female clients.

For details of the event and how to register click here.

Source: VicHealth

Growing up is bad for the waistline

Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a decline in physical activity, while becoming a mother is linked to increased weight gain, conclude two recent reviews led by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Many people tend to put on weight as they leave adolescence and move into adulthood, and this is the age when the levels of obesity increase the fastest. This weight gain is related to changes in diet and physical activity behaviour across the life events of early adulthood, including the move from school to further education and employment, starting new relationships and having children.

Writing in Obesity Reviews, researchers from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) at Cambridge looked at changes in physical activity, diet and body weight as young adults move from education into employment and to becoming a parent. To do this, they carried out systematic reviews and meta-analyses of existing scientific literature – these approaches allow them to compare and consolidate results from a number of often-contradictory studies to reach more robust conclusions.

In the first of the two studies, the team looked at the evidence relating to the transition from high school into higher education or employment and how this affects body weight, diet and physical activity. In total, they found 19 studies covering ages 15-35 years, of which 17 assessed changes in physical activity, three body weight, and five diet or eating behaviours.

The team found that leaving high school was associated with a decrease of seven minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The decrease was larger for males than it was for females (a decrease of 16.4 minutes per day for men compared to 6.7 minutes per day for women). More detailed analysis revealed that the change is largest when people go to university, with overall levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity falling by 11.4 minutes per day.

Three studies reported increases in body weight on leaving high school, though there were not enough studies to provide a mean weight increase. Two studies suggested that diets decrease in quality on leaving high school and one suggested the same on leaving university.

‘Children have a relatively protected environment, with healthy food and exercise encouraged within schools, but this evidence suggests that the pressures of university, employment and childcare drive changes in behaviour which are likely to be bad for long-term health’ said Dr Eleanor Winpenny from CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.

‘This is a really important time when people are forming healthy or unhealthy habits that will continue through adult life. If we can pinpoint the factors in our adult lives which are driving unhealthy behaviours, we can then work to change them.’

In the second study, the team looked at the impact of becoming a parent on weight, diet and physical activity. A meta-analysis of six studies found the difference in change in body mass index (BMI) between remaining without children and becoming a parent was 17%: a woman of average height (164cm) who had no children gained around 7.5kg over five to six years, while a mother of the same height would gain an additional 1.3kg. These equate to increases in BMI of 2.8 versus 3.3.

Only one study looked at the impact of becoming a father and found no difference in change.

There was little evidence looking at physical activity and diet. Most studies including physical activity showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents. The team found limited evidence for diet, which did not seem to differ between parents and non-parents.

‘BMI increases for women over young adulthood, particularly among those becoming a mother. However, new parents could also be particularly willing to change their behaviour as it may also positively influence their children, rather than solely improve their own health’ said Dr Kirsten Corder, also from CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit.

‘Interventions aimed at increasing parents’ activity levels and improving diet could have benefits all round. We need to take a look at the messages given to new parents by health practitioners as previous studies have suggested widespread confusion among new mothers about acceptable pregnancy-related weight gain.’

Source: University of Cambridge

Eating disorders workshop for fitness professionals

Eating Disorders Victoria, which has the mission of connecting those in Victoria who are affected by eating disorders with the people, services and hope they need for recovery, is holding a workshop for fitness professionals at Collingwood Football Club next week, on 5 February.

Professionals in the fitness industry are uniquely placed to recognise and support people affected by eating disorders.

The event is a comprehensive 4-hour education workshop created specifically for those who work in the fitness industry in Victoria. The workshop will explore:

  • Myths and stereotypes of eating disorders and obesity
  • Striving for health in an eating disorder journey
  • Understanding eating disorders
  • The fitness professional’s role
  • How to raise your concerns
  • How to support people with eating disorders
  • When and where to refer, and how to build protective factors for good mental health with your clients.

Accredited for 3 CECs with Fitness Australia, the workshop aims to be of benefit to anyone working in the fitness and movement sectors, including personal trainers, group fitness instructors, coaches and yoga teachers.

The 4-hour workshop, which has a cost attached to it of $88, takes place on Wednesday 5 February at EDV, Level 2, Collingwood Football Club Community Centre in Abbotsford, VIC. For details and to register click HERE.

Source: Eating Disorders Victoria

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