Why aren`t Counsellors the Heavy Weights in Meeting Consumer

Why Aren’t Counsellors the Heavy
Weights in Meeting Consumer Demand in
the Weight Loss Industry?
Presented by
Philip Armstrong FACA
Snap Shot of the
Counselling Industry
• Self-regulated
• Multiple professional bodies
• No rebates against National Health System
• Some recognition by Private Health Funds
• Some recognition by State Governments
• Counselling is seen as an Adjunctive skill by
the Federal Government
Public/Employer/Government are confused
Employment potential is good
Low paying profession
Private Practice is extremely competitive
Training comes from both Vocational and
Higher Education sectors
• Registration is seen as necessary by public
and employment sectors
Top 5 in order of demand:
1. Government recognition
2. Increase employment opportunities
3. Increase market potential and consumer
demand for Private Practice
4. Standards
5. Ethics and Code of Practice
Snap Shot of the Weight
Loss Industry
Three Primary Commercial Providers in
What do they
Commercial Value
Global Weight Management Market
is estimated to be worth USD 385.1
Canada approx 6 Billion annually
USA over $310 Billion per year
Australia over $1 Billion is annually
How have they positioned
themselves to dominate the
market with products that
simply do not work?
Marketing - Expenditure
Food manufacturers are reported to spend a significant
amounts of money on advertising
In 1999 food manufacturers in the US spent almost $7.3
billion on direct consumer advertising.
In Australia spending was reported to be estimated at $400
million on advertising (2003) and food ranked number five in
the top ten product categories advertised.
Food companies which produced high-fat and
high sugar foods that were highly processed and packaged
spent most of this money in both the US and Australia.
Media Influence
The media has been identified by consumers as an
important source of nutrition information and this has
important implications, as many consumers rely on this
information to make their food decisions .
Studies have found that processed foods are the most
commonly advertised food form among those
advertisements identified as containing a healthy eating
Canned and bottle foods were the most commonly
advertised products .
1. Australia New Zealand Food Authority. Food labelling issues - consumer qualitative research. Canberra: Australia
New Zealand Food Authority; 2001.
2. . Goldberg J. Nutrition and health communication: the message and the media over half a century. Nutr Rev.
3. Lohmann J, Kant AK. Effect of the food guide pyramid on advertising. J Nutr Educ. 1998;30(1):23-8.
4. Pratt CA, Pratt CB. Comparative content analysis of food and nutrition advertisements in Ebony, Essence, and Ladies'
Home Journal. J Nutr Educ. 1995;27(1):11-7.
Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating
Jennifer L. Harris, John A. Bargh, and Kelly D. Brownell Yale University. (Health Psychol 2009)
Health authorities believe that the accumulation of unhealthy
messages communicated to children through food advertising is a
leading cause of unhealthy consumption (Brownell & Horgen, 2004;
IOM, 2006).
Every day, children view, on average, 15 television food
advertisements (Federal Trade Commission, 2007), and an
overwhelming 98% of these ads promote products high in fat,
sugar, and/or sodium (Powell, Szczpka, Chaloupka, & Braunschweig,
Moreover, food advertising to children portrays unhealthy eating
behaviors with positive outcomes.
Children consumed 45% more when exposed to food advertising.
Adults consumed more of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods
following exposure to snack food advertising compared to the other
Consumer Needs
Foundations of Theory in Health Promotion and
Health Behavior
Not all health programs and initiatives are equally
successful, however. Those most likely to achieve
desired outcomes are based on a clear understanding
of targeted health behaviors, and the environmental
context in which they occur.
Practitioners use strategic planning models to develop
and manage these programs, and continually improve
them through meaningful evaluation.
Theory gives planners tools for moving beyond
intuition to design and evaluate health behavior and
health promotion interventions based on
understanding of behavior.
How can health professionals meet consumers’
needs better?
Anthony Worsley BSc(Hons), PhD Department of Public Health, University of Adelaide, South Australia
1. Realise that there may be more important things in the lives
of consumers than the pursuit of health.
2. Recognise that people may find it difficult to separate
healthy eating from the rest of their lives. Particular
solutions to consumers’ lifestyles will have to be found.
3. Take a flexible approach to education and counselling —
there are probably many healthy lifestyles and food
consumption patterns.
4. Distinguish nutrition science from general beliefs and moral
positions and, whenever possible, seek sound scientific
evidence for their advice and teaching.
How can health professionals meet consumers’
needs better?
Anthony Worsley BSc(Hons), PhD Department of Public Health, University of Adelaide, South Australia
5. Support consumers, provide clear explanations when they
require them.
6. Equip consumers with general principles (schema) that
will enable them to assimilate new information.
7. Encourage food companies and health agencies to work
together to meet consumers’ needs. There is a need for
companies (and government and non-government
agencies) to cooperate in the public interest; for example,
in the promotion of healthy food consumption patterns.
8. Develop policy positions that can be taken to government
to assist the many sorts of consumers to lead healthy
What does the research
Other interesting examples of research on context
• Seeing someone eating tends to encourage you to eat more
• Obese individuals eat more in the presence of other obese
• We consume more when we are served more food regardless of
our body size or the food served (portion size has a strong affect)
• The easier access is to food the more likely we are to consume it
and consume more of it
• A recent study found that eating a snack while
watching TV results in greater intake of the food
and also a marked decrease in the ability to
determine just how much was consumed.
• Across the board TV viewing affected the ability
to accurately recall just how much was eaten and
increased total intake
• The longer a meal is the more we will tend to
 We spend more money on food when appealing music is played
 The more people we are with during a meal increases consumption
(not to mention the impact of each individual on our intake)
Impact on Unborn Babies
PREGNANT women who eat junk food program their unborn babies to be addicted to
an unhealthy, high-fat and high-sugar diet, research suggests.
University of Adelaide researchers found a diet high in junk food causes children to
have a preference for junk food once they have been weaned - the first time the
addiction has been found to be present at such a young age.
Study leader from the university's FOODplus Research Centre Dr Bev Muhlhausler
said it was likely the addiction - similar to an opiod habit - was present at birth.
Dr Muhlhausler said this meant children born to a mother who ate a diet high in junk
food would need to eat more fat and sugar to experience the same good feeling, similar
to someone addicted to opioids who needs to consume more of the drug to feel the
same sensation.
Research Review of Body Image Programs
Psychology Department, University of Melbourne 2002
In the United States a survey found 56% and 43% of
women and men respectively reported body
Body image dissatisfaction and extreme dieting is
associated with depression in adolescents and adults.
Through its effects on eating behaviour and physical
activity, body dissatisfaction is likely to contribute to
the development of overweight. For example, high
body dissatisfaction and dieting predict binge eating.
Binge eating, especially when combined with reduced
physical activity, can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Science reveals why you can't eat one potato chip
Do you suffer from hedonic hyperphagia? That means ‘eating to excess for pleasure rather than
hunger’ and it plagues millions around the world.
The scientific secrets underpinning that awful reality about potato chips — eat one and you're
apt to scarf 'em all down — began coming out of the bag in research presented at the 245th
National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific
Tobias Hoch, Ph.D., who conducted the study, said the results shed light on the causes of a
condition called "hedonic hyperphagia“.
"That's the scientific term for 'eating to excess for pleasure, rather than hunger,'" Hoch said. "It's
recreational over-eating that may occur in almost everyone at some time in life. And the chronic
form is a key factor in the epidemic of overweight and obesity that here in the United States
threatens health problems for two out of every three people."
Does Socioeconomic Status Count?
The Victorian Lifestyle and Neighbourhood Study (2007), found
a definite link between where you live and what you eat. The
study found that compared to people living in a high SES
(socioeconomic status) area, those in low SES areas were less
likely to:
• Purchase groceries that were low in fat, high in fibre, low in salt
and sugar
• Purchase fruit
• Exercise at levels sufficient for health
• Spend time walking
Fast food outlets are more common in low-to-mid SES areas,
consequently individuals in low SES areas were also more likely
to buy and consume fast foods at home.
Urban Myths
It is difficult to find any large and recent peer-reviewed
studies that have tested the claims of detox kits.
A group of early-career scientists, part of the group the
Voice of Young Science, published a "detox dossier" that
reviewed a bunch of popular detox products in 2009.
They found none of the product manufacturers were able to
provide evidence for their kits' claims, or even give a
comprehensive definition of what they meant by "detox".
Putting it all
What should an Effective
Program Include!
1. Psycho-education (including marketing
Address Behavioural Issues, Habits and
Emotional Triggers
How to Develop Exercise Routines
Life Skills
The Team
Sports Psychologist
Policy Writer
Clinical Psychologist
The Journey

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