Weight Loss Several weight loss programs alert individuals with long-term effects of obesity like greater risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma. A new study from the University of Cincinnati highlights various health benefits of weight loss, thereby motivating obese individuals to lose extra weight.

Experts identified that 21 percent of participants who were part of a local dietary weight loss program reported less pain in the lower extremities and back after losing approximately 10 pounds. These participants also reported a 20 to 30 percent decrease in overall body pain post weight loss. These findings put forth that even the slightest weight loss relieves pain and lowers the burden of surplus weight.

Susan Kotowski, PhD, study collaborator and director of the Gait and Movement Analysis Laboratory in the UC College of Allied Health Sciences, quoted, “By focusing on an immediate benefit that can be felt like pain reduction instead of the future health impact of obesity, weight loss programs may be able to inspire overweight individuals to lose weight.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that around 44 million Americans are surprisingly clinically obese. The number of obese Americans has increased from 47 percent to 66.3 percent since 1975. Previous analysis highlighted that obesity-attributable medical expenditures in the United States was around $75 billion.

“Obesity has become a national health crisis, but compliance for weight loss programs is notoriously poor. One potential reason for this is that current programs target long-term diseases, with little direct relevance to the person’s current health status,” remarked Davis, senior author of the study and director of the Low Back Biomechanics and Workplace Stress Laboratory at the UC College of Medicine’s environmental health department. “Our study results challenge people to rethink the way they structure weight loss programs.”

The study enlisted thirty-two women who were aged between 22 and 76 and the information was gathered from a 12-week dietary weight loss program. Individual weight and musculoskeletal pain information was accumulated from nine body regions namely, neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, wrists, upper back, lower back, hips, knees, lower legs and feet.

“From an ergonomics perspective, we can only do so much to alter the work environment to remove body stressors,” commented Kotowski. “Excess weight adds additional stress to the musculoskeletal system and that can only be relieved through weight loss.”

Further, experts noted individual weight loss and asked the participants to rate their pain on a scale of zero to 10 every second week. They revealed an essential relation between weight loss and overall pain reduction in the elbow, hip region and upper and lower back. These findings may benefit companies who employ overweight workers with musculoskeletal problems, specifically industries that require manual or repetitive weight-bearing labor.

These findings were reported in the August 2010 issue of the journal Work.