Health Education for Former Elite Athletes
Finding effective weight and fat loss after retirement.
If you work with clients who were athletes in their younger years, you may want to provide health education about the benefits of exercise, good eating habits and other “well-living” parameters. It may make a significant difference.
After retirement, many former athletes who excelled at sport struggle with weight gain and following a healthy lifestyle. An international research group created the “Champ4Life” program to help former athletes, particularly those who gained substantial weight and fat mass. Researchers divided 94 men and women, all former athletes, into either a control group or a health education group for observation for 1 year.
Health education participants attended 12 sessions that provided physical activity, weight management and diet education. They received a nutrition program designed to reduce daily calories by approximately 300–500 calories per day. Investigators collected biometric data on body composition and cardiometabolic health and measured general health-related life quality.
After 1 year, health education group members lost more weight and body fat, improved cardiometabolic biomarkers, and increased life quality, compared with the control group. This study shows the power of education and information to facilitate healthy change among former athletes.
The research is reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2021; doi:10.1136/bjsports-2021-104212).
See also: Motivating Older Athletes
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