Readers of Childhood Obesity News will recognize Dr. Pretlow’s W8Loss2Go iPhone app on the device held by the radiant young woman. Now, it’s showing up in a new place, on the cover of Southern Health News magazine, published by Australia’s Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, which provides care for more than 340,000 people.
Yes, the news is exciting. The W8Loss2Go study has been formally announced and launched, and takes place under the auspices of several institutions in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, which has the distinction of being known as the most “liveable” city on the entire continent. The trial is a partnership between Dr. Pretlow and researchers from Flinders Medical Centre’s Department of Paediatrics, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), and Flinders University.
Also appearing on the magazine cover is student Ellen Burne, who is training for the interesting career of midwife. Ms. Burne experienced childhood obesity, which became teen obesity. Eventually, her weight topped out at 100kg (220 lbs) and she had lap band surgery in 2011. As sometimes happens, there were ups and downs. The body’s adjustments and necessary lifestyle changes seem to have leveled off, and she has maintained 66kg (145 lbs) for six months.
In other words, Ellen Burne is a bariatric surgery success story and as such, any opinion she might offer about the attainment of a healthy weight is worth listening to. Accordingly, writer Sarah Garvis sought her out and reported:
Ellen said apps like W8Loss2Go would be an invaluable support for young people battling to get their weight under control. ‘I found myself looking for support from people who really didn’t understand what I was experiencing so having the buddy system would help immensely.’
Had the W8Loss2Go app been available to her, it would have made her weight loss journey much easier. Ms. Burne is also quoted as saying:
I am a generally happier, healthier and more positive person, and I am much more social. My self-confidence has improved greatly which has allowed me to do a lot of things I wouldn’t have before…
It is precisely because Ms. Burne is such a bariatric surgery success story that her endorsement of a different approach and a different concept means so much. The W8Loss2Go application was created to impact childhood obesity on two fronts: prevent kids from becoming hooked on seductive hyperpalatable foods, and help them get un-hooked if they’re already over the line. The genius is, its usefulness is not limited to those two areas.
One of the difficulties with weight-loss surgery is that while the body is modified to lessen the intake of food, the mind still can retain its old habits. When someone is caught in an addiction to problem foods, eating as a displacement activity and other undesirable patterns are very entrenched. Some unfortunate patients have even caused additional harm to themselves by finding ways to “get around” the physical limitation set by the surgical intervention.
The surgical approach can only work as it was designed to, if the patient makes the necessary lifestyle changes, and an application that can help children avoid obesity can also help adults who have undergone bariatric surgery to stick with those vital changes. In other words, there is no reason why W8Loss2Go should not prove to be as beneficial to post-op teens and grownups, as to children who are trying to avoid ever going through invasive procedures.
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