The use of the Wii Fit in forensic mental health: exercise for people at risk of obesity, British Journal of Occupational Therapy , 2012 Feb; 75(2): 61-8
Introduction: Side effects of psychotropic medication often lead to rapid weight gain, having detrimental effects on forensic mental health patients’ health, wellbeing, occupational performance and quality of life. Virtual reality technology could provide novel environments and motivating forums for exercise, which are otherwise unavailable to patients in such secure settings. This exploratory study aimed to evaluate the use of the Nintendo Wii Fit in changing engagement in physical activity for patients at risk of obesity at a secure hospital. Method: Two participants used a Wii Fit for 8 weeks in individual or group sessions. A mixed methods approach was taken, because participants’ use of the Wii Fit was compared with their attitudes towards it (reported during interviews) and their daily physical activity levels (measured using an accelerometer). Researcher field notes were also used to gather contextual data. Findings: Participants played Wii Fit up to four times a week in sessions ranging from 7 to 127 minutes. When using the Wii Fit, participants increased their overall time spent actively moving their bodies in physical activity, as measured by the accelerometer. Using the Wii Fit also changed participants’ attitudes towards exercise as they realised that it could be ‘fun’ and ‘challenging’, especially if staff members also participated. Conclusion: The Wii Fit encouraged patients to attempt physical activities and to learn about their bodily response to exercise. It provided a meaningful occupational intervention in a secure setting and demonstrated a potential use of the technology in mental health settings.
A systematic review of the impact of physical activity programmes on social and emotional well-being in at-risk youth, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 2012, 17 (1) pp 2–13
Lubans, D. R., Plotnikoff, R. C. and Lubans, N. J.
Background: Physical activity programmes have been identified as a potential strategy for improving social and emotional well-being in at-risk youth, who have a prevalence of depression and low self-esteem exceeding the general population.
Methods: A systematic search of six electronic databases (EMBASE, OVID MEDLINE, PsychINFO, PubMed, Scopus and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify physical activity programmes designed to improve social and emotional well-being in at-risk youth.
Results: The search identified 15 studies, which reported the effects of three types of physical activity programmes (i.e. outdoor adventure, sport and skill-based and physical fitness programmes) on social and emotional well-being. While many of the interventions resulted in significant positive effects, the risk of bias was high in all of the included studies.
Conclusion: Due to the mixed findings and the high risk of bias, it is difficult to determine the efficacy of physical activity programmes for improving social and emotional well being in at-risk youth.
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A joint BDA (British Dietetic Association) and Alcohol Concern Cymru briefing paper on Alcohol and Calories has been released. Alcohol Concern say many of us are taking in more calories in the form of food and drink than our bodies can use – and a major part of this is increasing levels of alcohol consumption.
Jeff Bartley is a physiotherapist and active living co-ordinator in the North Lancashire community health team
A weight reduction club for people with learning disabilities helped participants to each lose 5.9kg on average over a 12-month period. In this article Jeff Bartley describes how the club was set up and the important factors that led to its success. He suggests how other clubs could be created using the learning gained during this pilot project.
Iain Broome – Director, Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology, Robert Gordon University
The Counterweight programme has been developed by clinicians to tackle the rising incidence of obesity in adults and children. Iain Broom outlines the health benefits and cost-effectivess of this weight management intervention.
Randomised clinical trial of a family-based lifestyle intervention for childhood obesity involving parents as the exclusive agents of change, Behaviour Research & Therapy, 2010 Dec;48(12):1170-9
Parent-centred interventions for childhood obesity aim to improve parents’ skills and confidence in managing children’s dietary and activity patterns, and in promoting a healthy lifestyle in their family. However, few studies assess changes in parenting over the course of treatment. This study describes the evaluation of a lifestyle-specific parenting program (Group Lifestyle Triple P) on multiple child and parent outcomes. One-hundred-and-one families with overweight and obese 4- to 11-year-old children participated in an intervention or waitlist control condition. The 12-week intervention was associated with significant reductions in child BMI z score and weight-related problem behaviour. At the end of the intervention, parents reported increased confidence in managing children’s weight-related behaviour, and less frequent use of inconsistent or coercive parenting practices. All short-term intervention effects were maintained at one-year follow-up assessment, with additional improvements in child body size. The results support the efficacy of Group Lifestyle Triple P and suggest that parenting influences treatment outcomes. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the intervention and to elucidate the mechanisms of change.
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A special briefing produced by the well-being and public mental health programme on the Public Health White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People.
The White Paper presents many opportunities to build on the considerable volume of research and practice evidence for the integration of mental health within an overall public health approach. Furthermore the proposed new public health system at both national and local levels also provides considerable opportunities and scope for mental health to be both complementary and central to future local strategies and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for local communities.
The opportunities lie both in ensuring mental health is complementary and integral to overall approaches to improving public health and well-being and also in ensuring that the promotion of the public’s mental health and wellbeing is an action and commitment in its own right.