SHED-IT motivates blokes to battle beer-bulge

Jul 23 2012

A world-first weight loss program by researchers at the University of Newcastle has motivated 85 Hunter men to ‘shed’ a total of 438kgs – equal to about 40 cartons of beer.

The internationally recognised SHED-IT (Self-Help, Exercise and Diet using Information Technology) Program motivates men to lose weight using a range of resources including the internet, a DVD and printed materials, without requiring any face-to-face contact.

Researchers are now calling for another 200 men to take part in the next round of the SHED-IT Program, which also includes the SHED-IT Weight Loss Maintenance Program.

Chief investigator, Professor Philip Morgan*, said the first community-wide SHED-IT Program was a great success with participants, who were compliant with all aspects of the program, losing an average of 9.7 kilos.

“Men reduced their waist size, body fat mass and blood pressure and increased their daily activity levels. The men also reported improvements in their sexual function and quality of life,” Professor Morgan said.

Rathmines resident David Hinchliffe signed up to the last SHED-IT Program and lost 25 kilos.

“I have tried nearly every kind of fad and fast-fix and they work but as soon as you come off the diet, the weight piles back on,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The SHED-IT Program gave me all the information I needed in bite-sized pieces and changed my whole approach to diet and exercise.”

Eighty-five per cent of participants in the first round reported the Program gave them the skills needed to lose weight.

“The SHED-IT Program is tailored for men and has been designed based on the physiology and psychology of blokes – we give them the facts and skills needed to lose weight without having to give up any of life’s luxuries (such as beer),” Professor Morgan said.

“To tackle the challenges of gradual weight regain, an additional phase of the Program has been added to teach men how to keep the weight off for good.”

Currently, seventy percent of Hunter men are overweight or obese, which increases their risk of developing a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Researchers are calling for men between the ages of 18 and 65 who have a body mass index greater than 25 kg/m2. They must also pass a health screening questionnaire and be able to attend four assessment sessions at the University, scheduled to begin in August 2012. For more information or to register your interest, telephone Myles Young on 49 216 096 or email shed-it@newcastle.edu.au

* Professor Morgan is Co-Director of the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle and is a member of HMRI’s Cardiovascular Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

Interviews: Professor Philip Morgan, 4921 7265 or 0402 445 988. Media: Megan Cunneen, 4985 4049