Young participants sought for obesity weight loss trial

10 September 2010

Researchers from the University of Sydney are seeking participants to sign up for a new tailored weight loss program trial specifically designed for obese young people.

Annaleise Robertson from the School of Psychology said the aim of the study was to investigate the specific factors relevant to weight control in overweight and obese young adults aged between 18 and 30.

"Primary topics for investigation will include factors which inhibit weight loss and sources of motivation for weight control," she said.

"In our study, a combination of qualitative (focus groups or individual interviews) and quantitative (standardised questionnaires) will be used to gather data on the differences between young and older adults who are overweight or obese.

"Based on the results from both qualitative and quantitative analyses, the need for a weight loss intervention tailored to young adults will then be assessed."

Ms Robertson said obesity had recently replaced smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia.

"Over 60 percent of the adult population in Australia are now overweight or obese," she said.

"The condition is also associated with severe medical, social, and psychological problems, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, discrimination, depression, and low self-esteem.

"A recent report from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle study (AusDiab) found that young adults aged 25 to 35 have shown the greatest increase between 2000 and 2005 in weight, BMI, and waist circumference of all age groups studied.

"Alarmingly, young adults remain under-represented in the literature, with the average age of participants in weight intervention studies being 45 or older.

"It is predicted that young adults will experience a unique set of difficulties and motivations regarding weight control compared to older adults. However, no specific hypotheses have been made due to the limited amount of literature currently available.

"Our study will provide information as to whether it is necessary to develop a weight loss intervention tailored specifically to the facilitators and obstacles of weight control in young adults rather than utilising standard treatment developed primarily among older adults."

For more information on the trial, contact Annaleise Robertson on 9351 5952 or 0408 863 680.

Media enquiries: Rachel Gleeson, 0403 067 342, 9351 4312,