Dr. Kevin Fontaine, professor and chair in the department of health behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — in collaboration with Dr. Gareth R. Dutton, associate professor in UAB’s division of preventive medicine, and Dr. David B. Allison, distinguished professor and director of UAB’s office of energetics and Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) — recently reviewed an array of interventions targeting health policy, the environment, and individual behaviors that have been developed at the public health and community level to diminish or to prevent obesity.
Individual strategies typically stress either a “desire reduction” (D-RED) approach, which attempts to reduce a person’s desire to eat or be sedentary, or a “desire resistance” (D-RES) approach, which enables a person to effectively resist the urge to eat or be sedentary when exposed to environmental cues that promote overeating or physical inactivity. Since most public health interventions focus mainly on modifying aspects of the environment, they may be overly accentuating D-RED and nearly excluding D-RES. “Because it is impossible to eliminate all food- and activity-related stimuli, public health interventions may benefit from a more balanced approach that includes both D-RED and D-RES strategies,” says Dr. Fontaine.
The researchers advise that additional research is necessary to both develop and to investigate the efficacy of incorporating D-RES efforts into obesity reduction programs.
“Desire Resistance and Desire Reduction in Public Health Approaches to Obesity” was published in the September/October issue of Nutrition Today.