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Mental Health & Obesity 2014: Mental Health Issues Should Not Be Seen As Barriers to Behaviour Change: Practical Strategies to Promote Best Weight Behaviour

Dr. Michael Vallis, PhD R Psych, Capital Health & Dalhousie University, Halifax

Health behaviours affecting weight are often ignored within mental health populations. Smoking, sedentary behaviour and food can be seen by some providers as comforting reinforcers to offset the burden of mental health disorders. As well, when working with obesity in general practice the presence of mental health issues is seen as a barrier to intervention, to the point of being a contraindication. The purpose of this session is to provide evidence based strategies to increase the implementation of effective behaviour change strategies when working with mental health populations or when encountering mental health issues in the obese population. The specific goals are to address the potential that providers are biased in labelling mental health issues as barriers for behavioural intervention and to outline effective behaviour change strategies.