Compliance for weight loss programmes is notoriously poor. One potential reason for this is that many programmes target long-term effects of obesity like greater risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma, which have with little direct relevance to the person's current health status.
A new study Susan Kotowski and Kermit Davis from the University of Cincinnati suggests the immediate health benefits -- such as reduced pain -- may be the most effective motivator for helping obese individuals shed extra weight and commit to keeping it off.
Thirty two women between the ages of 22 and 76 participated in the study. Baseline individual weight and musculoskeletal pain data related to nine body regions: neck, shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists, upper back, lower back, hips, knees and lower legs and feet were collected.
Participants were then tracked weekly over 12 weeks to record any weight loss and asked to rate their pain on a scale of zero to 10 every other week.
Even the slightest weight loss relieves pain and lowers the burden of surplus weight.
Significant associations were found between weight loss and overall pain reduction, as well as pain reduction in the elbow, hip region and upper and lower back. These findings put forth that even the slightest weight loss relieves pain and lowers the burden of surplus weight.
Researchers say these preliminary results could have ramifications for companies with a high prevalence of overweight workers with musculoskeletal problems -- particularly in industries that require manual or repetitive weight-bearing labor.
"From an ergonomics perspective, we can only do so much to alter the work environment to remove body stressors," explains Kotowski. "Excess weight adds additional stress to the musculoskeletal system and that can only be relieved through weight loss."
These findings were reported in the August 2010 issue of the journal Work
CLICK HERE for more reports on obesity