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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1998 Feb;22(1):73-9.

Weight-control practices of adults in a rural community.

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  • 1School of Human Movement, Deakin University, Melbourne.


Obesity is recognised as a significant public health problem, and health authorities are concerned with promoting a healthy weight for all adults. However, there is a paucity of data about community weight-control practices. We surveyed weight-control behaviour, strategies and goals in a population-based sample of 1342 adults living in rural Victoria. In addition to the 20 per cent of adults who were attempting to lose weight, 22 per cent were actively trying to maintain their present weight or to avoid weight gain. Those taking action for their weight most often did so for health-related reasons, and most of the strategies used were those recommended by health authorities. However, some adults, particularly women, adopted potentially unhealthy weight-control practices. One in four women whose weight was acceptable was trying to lose weight, and 14 per cent of women had a weight goal that was below the acceptable range. Conversely, 50 per cent of men had a weight goal higher than that currently considered acceptable. Additional research is required to assess more accurately the specific nature of community weight-control practices.

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