Obesity is becoming a problem in many parts of the world, and South Africa is no different - a recent survey found that 61%, or nearly two in every three South Africans are overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can significantly shorten a person's life expectancy. New research published by BioMed Central's open access journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that improving body image can enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programmes based on diet and exercise.
On the behavioural intervention plan women found that the way they thought about their body improved and that concerns about body shape and size were reduced. Compared to the control group they were better able to self-regulate their eating and they lost much more weight, losing on average 7% of their starting weight, compared to less than 2% for the control group.