PhD health psychology researcher Stuart Leske said there was no single secret to weight loss to help the almost 20 per cent of Australian adults who were considered obese, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or more than 30.
Mr Leske said there were many reasons why people ate excess amounts food, including psychological factors which played a significant role in weight gain.
“Emotions play a big role in what we eat,” he said.
“People can turn to food for comfort or reward. When bad things happen, it can help people cope.
“There are also a lot of negative thoughts about food and weight loss.
“People are too hard on themselves when they lose weight but don’t reach their goal; they are dissatisfied with what they have achieved.”
Mr Leske said when helping people to lose weight, it was important to see the person separately to the weight they carried.
“You need to treat the person first before you can treat the condition,” he said.
To help discover the range of psychological factors behind excess weight gain, Mr Leske is looking for people who have a BMI of 30 or more to share their experiences and thoughts on food, exercise, identity and experiences with any weight loss attempts.
He said study participants would be involved in a private, face-to-face interview to share their individual experiences.
“The study will provide health professionals with a better understanding of what it means and what it is like to live in Australia with a BMI of 30 or above,” he said.
“The findings from this study may inform the development of more effective psychological interventions for people with excess weight living in Australia, interventions which take into account individual perspectives and experiences.”
People should be aged between 20 and 60 years with a BMI of 30 or above and a waist circumference more than 102cm for men and more than 88cm for women. A BMI calculator can be found at http://www.your30.qld.gov.au/BeActive/Howhealthyisyourbodyweight/Checkyourweight/tabid/120/Default.aspx
To recognise the contribution of participants, the research team is offering movie vouchers to the value of $17.50 for participants’ time.
If you would like to participate in this study, please contact Stuart Leske at [email protected] or 3138 0045.
Media contact: Rachael Wilson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1150 or [email protected]