All health professionals working in obesity management will have noticed that obesity is notoriously difficult to treat. While health professionals may wonder why their patients or clients can’t just adhere with dietary and activity recommendations that are known to result in weight loss, it is important to recognise that human bodies are equipped with powerful adaptive mechanisms that resist ongoing weight loss and promote weight regain. This ‘famine reaction’, which occurs even in obese individuals after loss of less than 10% of body weight, includes increased appetite and reduced energy expenditure in response to diet– or exercise–induced weight loss, making it very difficult for people to adhere to weight loss strategies in the long-term. This talk outlines the workings of the famine reaction, examines whether the famine reaction is escapable for people who are already obese, and whether the famine reaction can be quietened by various weight management techniques, notably by physical activity and intermittent energy restriction.
Associate Professor Amanda Salis
With a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Western Australia and a PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, A/Professor Salis is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney¹s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders. Her research into hypothalamic control of appetite, body weight and body composition aims to help more people to attain and maintain optimum body composition and metabolic health throughout life. Her translational research spans studies with transgenic mice to randomized controlled trials in humans. A/Professor Salis¹ current research is funded by NHMRC project grants totalling over $2.4 million.