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After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss the meaning of body composition, how it is measured, and when body-composition assessments might be helpful.

  2. List the areas where fat is stored in the body and the functions of these different stores.

  3. Summarize the reasons why obesity is often associated with negative health effects and explain how in some cases people are obese yet healthy.

  4. Describe the factors that influence energy balance, including factors related to both energy intake and energy expenditure.

  5. Apply an ecological perspective to analyze factors that prevent or contribute to overweight and obesity.

  6. Explain how behavior-change theories can be applied to weight-management programs.

  7. Outline the behaviors and psychological factors most commonly associated with long-term weight-loss maintenance.

  8. Describe how behavior-change skills are incorporated into successful weight-management programs.


image Ari is looking forward to meeting his first weight-management group. Although he has worked with clients trying to lose weight for several years, this is his first experience as a group leader. He has been hired by a local physicians' practice to run this group at the hospital's wellness center. All group participants have been referred by their providers and have been diagnosed with obesity and related health disorders such as hypertension or diabetes. They have also been referred to a dietitian who has helped them set up eating plans.

Ari himself lost about 30 lb several years ago through a combination of eating less and exercising more. He lost the weight on his own over a 2-year period and has kept it off, probably because his work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer get him to the gym every day. To prepare for this new work, he attended a weight-loss group for a few months, to see how the leader ran the groups and what kinds of issues tended to be discussed.

Ari is excited about his new work because he is making exercise the foundation of everyone's weight-management programs. Not only will all his clients attend the weekly group meeting, but they will also meet with Ari individually for five or six sessions to get started on a regular exercise program. Ari loves working out and hopes that people's positive exercise experiences plus the extra contact will lead to weight-loss success for his participants.image

Lifestyle guidelines for good health are fairly clear in the area of weight control and obesity prevention: get regular physical activity, eat a balanced diet, and avoid overeating. But while some people have great success managing their body composition by adjusting food intake and activity levels, this sensible advice has failed to reverse the rising tide of overweight, obesity, and the chronic health problems that accompany disorders of excess body fat. With two-thirds of adults in the United States overweight or obese, it is imperative that health and fitness professionals improve their ability to work with ...

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