Price Intervention For Weight Loss
Improving diet quality at home is a major health promotion initiative. The Healthy Foods programme offers up to a 25 percent discount on selected organic food items to more than 260,000 families in South Africa. The programme targets mothers, children and adolescents and aims to improve nutrition standards in those groups. Since the programme started, the number of children under the age of five who are suffering from obesity has dramatically declined. Furthermore, more families have been benefitting from the increased consumption of fresh, wholesome food at home.
A major factor in helping a family stay fit and healthy is through the introduction of healthy food at home. This is where Healthy Foods for Families (WHF) comes in. The programme highlights the importance of introducing healthy food into the diet of a family. For example, one family member, who was an exclusive breadwinner, decided that it was no longer OK for him to eat white bread anymore as he felt that bread was high in trans fat and cholesterol, and as such was not good for his heart.
To better understand the role of the Healthy Foods for Families program in addressing the issues surrounding obesity, the researchers carried out a sensitivity analysis using nationally-representative samples. The study looked at the relationship between dietary behaviors and weight status. In general, when more families were exposed to healthy food at home, they were at a lower risk of being overweight or obese. When comparing highly reactive types of diets, the results showed that the more flexible the dietary behaviors, the higher the risk of being obese.
The study confirmed previous research showing that there is strong evidence for the relationship between a healthy food program and decreased weight status. Furthermore, it was found that when controlling for dietary behaviors and physical activity levels, there was a significant effect of the healthy food program on weight loss, especially among severely obese individuals. There was a suggestion that the strength of the association varied according to the patient’s BMI. However, this finding was suggestive that weight loss might be facilitated by incorporating the healthy foods into the diet, without stronger measures being taken to change the body’s physical activity level.
The results from the sensitivity analysis provide additional support for the effectiveness of healthy food purchases. When the various factors of both the diet and the patient’s BMI and physical activity were entered simultaneously, there was a significant effect of dietary behaviors on weight loss ( Supplementary Figure 4). However, controlling for these factors did not alter the significant association between dietary behaviors and weight loss.
The results from the current study provide additional support for the use of HEALTHYFOOD in the prevention and treatment of obesity. Healthful foods are not necessarily the most expensive ones; instead, they must be affordable to most families. A price intervention is necessary to make healthier foods more accessible to those who would not otherwise purchase them. In addition, healthy foods are more likely to be purchased by obese individuals when they are advertised in health promotions.