Weight loss is not just for
the real world anymore. According to a recent study, individuals who create a
slim virtual version of
themselves—known as an avatar—in the virtual world Second Life (SL) may become more physically fit. Published in the August issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (2009; 2 , 3–11), the study suggests that individuals with physically active avatars were more likely to participate in healthier behaviors than those whose avatars were not physically active.
The recent American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position stand on physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss reflects an update from the previous guidelines, synthesizing all published data–based research from 1999 to the beginning of 2009.
Whether you enjoy watching The Biggest Loser or you find it offensive, you have to admit that this primetime TV program has been effective in showcasing health and fitness to millions of people around the world. Last month, IDEA published “Weighing in on The Biggest Loser,” an in-depth feature story on the topic.
Fitness professionals often suggest to clients that a benefit of exercise is its capacity to boost metabolic function. A recent study, however, has put that suggestion to task. According to research published in the April issue of Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews (2009; 37 , 93–101), the assertion that an exerciser burns fat up to 24 hours after a workout may not be completely accurate.
I saw the [item] about United charging extra for fat people (July–August “Making News,” p. 13). I think it’s terrific. Have you ever sat between two obese people? It’s rather gross and uncomfortable. If I pay for one whole seat, I expect to have full use of the whole seat. Not a portion of it—otherwise I should get a discount. Absolutely. Fat people should pay more. I am sure they pay more when they eat more. Just like we all pay more for larger housing lots.
In early May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to immediately cease using Hydroxycut®, a popular weight loss supplement linked to serious liver damage and at least one reported death.
Shortly after, the manufacturer, Iovate Health Sciences, denied that the fatality was caused by the supplement but voluntarily
recalled 14 different Hydroxycut products.
Because pregnant women are “eating for two,” it’s easy to lose track of or
ignore weight gained during gestation. Not a good idea. For the first time
since 1990, the government has weighed in with new guidelines on how
many pounds women should gain during pregnancy. This is in line with previous studies that have determined that babies born to overweight mothers are at greater risk of premature delivery; these infants are also more likely to become overweight or obese as they grow up.
Many people who succeed in losing weight struggle to keep it off. Finding solutions to this challenge would help many avoid yo-yo dieting. To identify an effective and affordable method
of weight maintenance, researchers from Dunedin, New Zealand, compared the outcomes of two contrasting programs: biweekly weigh-ins with a nurse, plus a phone call on
alternating weeks; and a more intensive program that included personal training and group exercise circuit training classes.
If you’re sending motivating messages to clients via cell phone short-message service (SMS), keep it up. A research review of studies, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2009; 36 , 165–73), noted that SMS-delivered interventions have positive short-term behavioral results.
Researchers from the School
of Psychology at the University of Queensland, in Australia, found 14 studies that had evaluated SMS
If you have an iPhone, it might be time to give it a healthy upgrade. iTMP Technology Inc., a hardware and software developer for iPhone, has created new technology that allows the iPhone or iPod touch to act as a heart rate and fitness activity monitor. Dubbed SMHEART LINK™, the device acts as a “wireless bridge that collects data from distributed health and fitness sensors such as heart rate monitors and cycling sensors and sends it to the iPhone via Wi-Fi.” Users can then upload collected information onto various health and fitness tracking websites.