Getting Couch Potatoes off the Couch
Obesity is becoming an increasingly serious health problem in Canada and around the world. Almost one in four Canadians are now obese. Overweight individuals are more likely to be sedentary compared to healthy weight individuals.
Dr. Ross Andersen, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health, is developing new strategies to help overweight people lose weight while adopting and maintaining more active lifestyles. For example, he is helping sedentary, overweight adults accumulate activity throughout the day, by walking more, sitting less and relying less on labour-saving devices. These activities are appealing to beginner exercisers and people who do not enjoy or are unable to do traditional vigorous exercise.
Andersen is also working closely with bariatric surgeons to better understand the changes in body composition and health outcomes that accompany large weight losses. He is developing a tailored exercise program for bariatric surgery patients to work on after their surgery, which may help to prevent the loss of muscle and bone mass.
In addition, Andersen is conducting focus groups to explore the barriers that overweight people face in adopting exercise as part of their lives.
Canada’s obesity epidemic must be addressed in a serious manner. Andersen’s research should help overweight people develop the confidence to lead physically active lifestyles, which will ultimately help them better manage their weight. It will also help health care professionals teach their patients to better manage their weight and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.