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Mental roadblocks

October 13, 2008|Jeannine Stein | Times Staff Writer

Let's BE honest -- most of us are able to exercise, we just choose not to. We set up our own roadblocks that undermine whatever intentions we may have to be physically active.

But obese women may have more roadblocks. A study presented at the Obesity Society's meeting in Phoenix last week found that they create more mental barriers that keep them from exercising than normal or underweight women. Researchers from the Center for Obesity Research and Education and the kinesiology department at Temple University in Philadelphia surveyed 105 overweight and obese women and 173 normal and underweight women in a home-based exercise promotion trial. Overall, the overweight and obese women told of more perceived obstacles than their slimmer counterparts. They were more likely to feel self-conscious about how they looked while exercising, felt they lacked self-discipline, hated to fail so didn't try, had minor aches and pains and felt too overweight to exercise.

Overweight and obese women who had these stumbling blocks at the beginning of the study were less likely to be physically active at a 12-month follow-up.

Tailored programs are necessary to help overweight women clear these hurdles, said lead author Melissa Napolitano, associate professor of kinesiology at Temple.

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jeannine.stein@latimes.com

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