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Minerva Psichiatrica 2017 September;58(3):144-55

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.17.01937-9


lingua: Inglese

Physical activity in the treatment of obesity: a marker of psychosocial predictors of controlled eating, or facilitator of their improvements in women with differing body images

James J. ANNESI 1, 2

1 YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2 Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA


BACKGROUND: Physical activity is a strong predictor of sustained weight loss. However, because of minimal associated energy expenditures probable in deconditioned individuals, it was suggested that this is mostly due to its associations with psychosocial predictors of improved eating behaviors. However, their dynamic relationships/interrelationships are unclear.
METHODS: Women of 47.9±8.1 years with obesity (mean body mass index=34.9±3.1 kg/m2) with either a low body image (N.=36) or moderate body image (N.=63) participated in 2 trials incorporating cognitive-behaviorally supported physical activity (baseline-month 6) and eating behavior change (months 3-14). Within this study, they were assessed on physical activity, eating behaviors, and psychosocial factors at baseline; and changes from baseline-month 6 and baseline-month 24.
RESULTS: The low body image group demonstrated a significantly greater increase in fruit/vegetable intake and reduction in sweets. Neither baseline scores on self-regulation of eating nor emotional eating significantly mediated the prediction of eating changes by physical activity. However, physical activity’s predictions of changes in fruit/vegetable intake and sweets were significantly mediated by changes in self-regulation and emotional eating, respectively, over both 6 and 24 months. Additionally, mood change significantly mediated the association of physical activity and self-regulation over 24 months.
CONCLUSIONS: The results contributed to both theory and future applications related to the association of physical activity and weight loss. Findings suggest that medical and other health practitioners should address both adherence to regular physical activity, and the psychosocial benefits emerging from such, to improve the management of eating behaviors and obesity.

KEY WORDS: Body image - Behavior - Nutritional status - Exercise - Obesity

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