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More Exercise, Less Fat, More Dollars

Obesity related diseases are costing New Zealand society more than $130 million dollars a year, but research now underway expects to lower this cost.

University of Auckland student, Judith Buckley aims to increase the long-term physical activity of overweight and obese individuals.

“We will be looking at the way people think and feel about themselves, particularly their belief in their capabilities and how this effects their ability to exercise and lose weight,” said Ms Buckley.

“The research adopts an innovative approach to resolving a significant national health priority.”

“The beliefs, thoughts and feelings people have about themselves in regard to their physical and self discipline are often based on past experiences or misinformation, and can negatively affect a person’s ability to exercise in the future.”

“For many overweight people, physical activity may include many negative thoughts and feelings that automatically come to mind, prompted by subtle environmental cues such as seeing other people exercising, or when thinking about their own exercise ability,” said Ms Buckley.

The research is funded through a Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship, which is administered by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology and funded by the Ministry of Education. It will study overweight and obese individuals to identify what commonly held beliefs, thoughts and feelings they have towards physical activity and their ability to do the things necessary to be regularly active.

The research will then develop a program specifically for these people to help them participate in regular physical activity.

“We want to ensure that people are not only taking up exercise but also sticking to it in busy or stressful situations, as these are the times most people find it difficult to exercise,” said Ms Buckley.

“To date, the promotion of physical activity to New Zealanders has been limited mainly to mass media campaigns that have had little impact on exercise behaviour.”

The results will assist the National Heart Foundation, Hilary Commission and the Ministry of Health in their promotion of physical activity.

For further information:

Judith Buckley, University of Auckland, Ph 09 6235130, jude.health.advantage@xtra.co.nz

Madeleine Setchell, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Ph 04 917 7806, Mobile 025 40 60 40, madelein@frst.govt.nz


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