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Less consumption of fast food associated with lower stress levels finds new research

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After participating in the study, overweight, low-income mothers of young children ate less fast-food diets and high-fat snacks, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients.

They weren’t because the researchers in the study told them to do so, but because the lifestyle interventions being evaluated helped reduce their stress.

The 16-week program aimed to prevent weight gain by promoting stress management, a healthy diet, and physical activity. Getting there was an easy step built into time management and prioritization lessons. Many were shown in a series of videos featuring mothers like participating mothers. Survey..

“We used women’s testimony in the video and demonstrated interaction with the family to raise awareness about stressors. After watching the video, many intervention participants said,” I feel very stressed. This is the first time I’ve noticed that. ” -Because they have lived a stressful life. ” Mei-Wei Chang, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at Ohio State University, said.

“Many of these women feel impatient and are aware of head and neck pain and sleep problems, but they don’t know they are signs of stress,” Chan added.

Analysis of study data showed that reduced sensory stress in women after participating in the intervention was an important factor influencing the ultimate reduction in high-fat and fast food consumption.

“It’s not that these women don’t want to eat a healthier diet. If you don’t know how to manage your stress, you care about what you eat when you’re stressed. Is it? “

338 participants, overweight or obese mothers between the ages of 18 and 39, have a special supplemental nutrition program for women, toddlers and children serving low-income mothers and children up to the age of 5 ( It was adopted from WIC).

Those eligible for the program must have an annual household income of 185 percent or less of the federal poverty line. Chan faces many challenges that can cause stress for these women, including financial difficulties, living in devastated areas, frequent movements, unstable relationships, and households crowded with young children. He said it was likely.

This population also holds a pregnancy weight of 10 pounds or more after childbirth and is often at risk of lifelong obesity and potential problems for themselves and newborns if they become pregnant again.

During the study, 212 participants randomized into the intervention group watched a total of 10 videos. In this video, women gave unscripted testimony about healthy eating and food preparation, stress management, and physical activity.

Participants also dialed a conference call of 10 peer support groups during the course of their research. Chang et al. Earlier, as a group, reported that women in the study intervention group were more likely to have reduced fat consumption than women in the comparative group who were given prints on lifestyle changes.

This new analysis showed that intervention lessons alone did not directly affect dietary changes. When researchers assessed the potential role of stress as a mediator, the indirect effects of interventions-reducing perceived stress in participants-were high-fat foods, including fast food.

A one-point reduction in the measure of stress was associated with a nearly 7 percent reduction in the frequency with which women eat high-fat foods. The intervention focused on demonstrating examples of ways to achieve a healthier and less stressful lifestyle, rather than telling women what needs to be changed.

“I learned a lot from those women. Everything needs to be practical and applicable to everyday life-anytime, anywhere,” Chan said.

Some examples: Comparing a bag of chips with a bag of apples, chips may be half the price, but family-friendly snacks are much less. Alternatively, use the Home Responsibility Chart to assign tasks to the toddler and encourage the mother to hug or pay individual attention to reward the child when following the instructions.

Then take a deep breath to counter the overwhelming sensation. When it comes to stress management, researchers focus on giving women a change of mind and advising them not to blame themselves when problems arise, rather than trying to solve the problems that caused them. I did.

“We have raised awareness about stressors in their lives, and unfortunately many of these issues are out of their control,” Chan said. And give them the confidence to look to the future, “Chan concludes.

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