Fitness professionals have another reason to emphasize the importance of sleep to clients. Short sleep of less than 5 hours per night is significantly associated with weight gain in both men and women, according to a large study of more than 21,000 apparently healthy adults. Researchers from St. Luke’s International Hospital, in Tokyo, analyzed data from the annual health check-ups of 21,469 individuals between 2005 and 2008 and evaluated the relationship between average nightly sleep duration, body mass index greater than or equal to 25, and weight gain.
Many fitness professionals employ behavior change strategies to help clients drop fat. However, according to researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, lifestyle improvements are more effective when the focus is on upgrading neurobehavioral processes.
There is little doubt that men and women view the world differently. The same can be said for how they view their bodies, according to a press release from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Researchers studied 1,900 adults, average age 69, participating in a physical activity program, and the results suggest that older men and women perceive their bodies differently. For example, both groups noted that their focus shifted from appearance to functionality as they aged; however, men appeared to place greater importance on functionality than women did.
It’s been said that with even modest efforts we can reap substantial rewards. This applies to fitness as well as to our other endeavors. According to a study published in The Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-673660749–6), even minimally active people exhibit more positive health outcomes than do completely inactive ones. The study included 416,175 men and women in Taiwan who participated in a medical screening between 1996 and 2008. The individuals completed a questionnaire and were placed into categories based on self-reported physical activity levels.
Here’s another bit of news to help encourage overweight men to drop the extra pounds. A link has been found between excess weight in 18-year-old males and increased risk of cancer-related death later in life. The Harvard Alumni Health Study cohort involved 19,593 males who had had physical examinations when they were 18. The men then submitted follow-up questionnaires at age 45, with a final vital status follow-up at a maximum of 82 years. After analyzing the data, researchers learned that 2,395 of the men had died of some form of cancer.
A telephone-based weight management program, as part of a worksite wellness program, helped overweight and obese individuals to become more active, eat better, lose weight and improve their overall health, according to research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (2011; 25 , 186–89). Other studies have shown that telephone coaching is successful in producing initial weight loss, but few researchers have tracked subjects for more than 6 months after a program has ended.
There’s really nothing new about the long-standing weight loss tip to drink more water—except that now it’s backed up by pretty compelling research. New, unpublished clinical evidence shows that drinking water prior to eating can be an effective weight loss tool. Findings of the study, led by Brenda Davy, PhD, RD, associate professor in the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech, were presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemistry Society in late August.
Little is known about the effectiveness of behavioral strategies to prevent long-term weight gain in female adolescents and young adults. That’s why researchers set out to assess the connection between diet and physical activity in weight-control strategies (alone and together)
and in subsequent weight gain.
A recent study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (2010; 303 , 1173–79) announced that women should average 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity daily in order to avoid long-term weight gain. Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston investigated activity levels and weight change among 37,079 women for 13 years. The subjects were said to have consumed a “usual diet” during the intervention period; no details were provided about diet.