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Your New Years' resolution could help science

Gold Coasters looking to pound the pavement and drop a few kilos in 2016 could improve their fitness and benefit science as part of a new Bond University study.

A new research program has just kicked off that aims to discover the best level of exercise for weight loss - testing the theory that low to moderate intensity workouts are most beneficial and productive for shedding kilos.

Researchers are also looking for the next group of women keen to eat their way to a better figure to participate in a 30 week weight loss study - with all meals provided - and a group of people to help determine the link between stress and weight gain.

Interested in taking part?  Contact Dr O'Neill on [email protected]

Bond University Professor Nuala Byrne and Dr Hayley O’Neill, who head the research with a team of collaborators, said improper exercise, poor diet and stress were the three key causes of weight gain.

Professor Byrne said the studies were geared towards identifying the optimum strategies to improve weight management.

"The New Year is a time when people are motivated to make changes in their lives and there are few as important as taking better care of your health," she said.

"We recognise that in our busy world it is difficult for people to stay on track and motivated, which is why it is so important that we discuss the most successful strategies for weight loss.

"Our exercise study will examine whether people can exercise more efficiently by undertaking shorter, less intense workouts to achieve a similar result to someone who can commit to a more intense and prolonged regime.

"We are also continuing to progress our diet study that considers physiological and behavioural changes that take place as women diet, to see what factors may be helping or inhibiting their ability to lose weight.

"The third, and often forgotten, factor in weight loss is stress management, so we are also looking for more candidates to be part of a program that will track stress and anxiety levels and the impact this has on weight control.

"It is very common for people who are stressed to experience an increased appetite and cravings for sweet and fatty foods, which leads to growth in fat around the stomach region, while increased levels of cortisol promote muscle loss.

"We hope that by gaining a better understanding of the underlying triggers for weight gain, we will be able to better inform people about how they can more easily manage their weight and in turn, improve their health."

The research team is looking for:

  1. Fat Oxidation Exercise study: 10 lean and 10 obese men and women for a fat oxidation study, assessing whole-body metabolism during exercise via indirect calorimetry and acquiring muscle biopsies and blood samples.  The study is looking for participants over 18 years old with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 or over 30, with a stable weight.  Participants will be required to attend four testing sessions over a two-to-three week period.
  2. Diet study (MATADOR2): women, aged between 25 and 55 with a body mass index of 30 to 40kg/m2 who have maintained a stable weight for at least six months. The study will ultimately involve 50 women, with all meals provided throughout the 22-30 week dietary weight loss intervention. Participants will be required to attend fortnightly testing sessions and complete food and physical activity diaries and record daily body weights. 
  3. Stress and Weight study (SWS): 10 lean and 10 obese men and women to take part in the study, investigating the link between stress and weight gain. The participants would be required to attend Bond two to three times for testing and to complete questionnaires assessing sleep quality and perceived stress and anxiety levels.  Men and women aged between 18 and 60 years of age, with a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m2 or less than 24.9 kg/m2 are eligible to participate. Participants will be required to attend three testing sessions over a two-to-three week period.

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