Monday, 21 July 2014

SPHPM researcher leads new program for women's health

The Healthy Lifestyle
 Research Program Team
SPHPM's Dr Cate Lombard is leading a new program in the Bellarine and Geelong region which aims to help prevent weight gain and support women aged 18 to 50 years to lead healthy lifestyles.

According to Dr Lombard, women are an important group to target in preventing weight gain because their lifestyle is significantly affected by work demands and caring for family.

“Their level of physical activity drops off and their diet changes,” she said.

“Women also tend to be in control of what food is in the house so they can influence what their partner and children eat and how much activity their children do.”

Weight gain occurs at different stages in life for different reasons. Research indicates young women in Australia in their 20s and 30s are at particular risk and are gaining weight faster than any other age group.

As part of the program, women attend three one-hour sessions during three weeks and then receive ongoing support and motivation via email or text messages. Participants are not asked to follow a strict diet or strict exercise plan as the program encourages them to decide for themselves what is important and possible to change at this time in their lives.

“Women don’t want to be pressured to lose weight – in this program they decide their own individual needs and we support them,” Dr Lombard said.

“We know women are interested in preventing weight gain, we know it is important to their health and we know that this program works.”

Barwon Health, Bellarine Community Health Service and Healthy Together Geelong are working together to implement this new women’s health program across the City of Greater Geelong during this year. For more information about the program on the Bellarine Peninsula, phone Lauren Purser at Bellarine Community Health on 5259 2537 or email healthycommunities@bch.org.au.

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