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Technology comes to the support of women

BREAST Research Australia researchers, Dr Deirdre McGhee and Professor Julie Steele, will tomorrow (Wednesday February 13) officially release the only app in the world to contain evidence-based information to help women choose a well-fitted, supportive sports bra that is comfortable to wear during exercise.

Using step-by-step instructions combined with clearly labelled photographs and movies, the app, which is downloadable from iTunes, guides the user in finding the right bra for their exercise needs.

Dr McGhee said the team at Breast Research Australia (BRA), based in the Biomechanics Research Laboratory at the University of Wollongong, has been systematically investigating the biomechanics of breast health for the past 15 years.

“One of our recent studies found that 88 per cent of female adolescents wore a bra during sport that didn’t fit properly, while 85 per cent failed a simple knowledge test on bras and bra fit,” Dr McGhee said.

She said that poor bra fit and insufficient breast support during physical activity can lead to excessive breast movement, which in turn can cause embarrassment and breast discomfort, and in extreme cases, can contribute to poor posture and musculoskeletal problems such as upper limb neural symptoms and neck and back pain.

“A well-fitted and supportive bra can alleviate up to 85 per cent of these symptoms, allowing women to exercise in greater comfort and possibly removing the need for breast reduction surgery”, she said.

To help educate and empower women to participate comfortably in physical activity and enjoy the health benefits associated with an active lifestyle, Dr McGhee and Professor Steele have developed the four-step app that guides women through choosing a supportive sports bra, putting it on correctly, how to tell whether the bra fits correctly and how to determine whether the bra provides sufficient breast support.

“The app is not aligned with any one brand of bra or trying to sell any particular product”, Dr McGhee said, “rather, it is designed to educate and empower women, using visual cues, to purchase the product that is most suitable for them.”

Dr McGhee and Professor Steele have acknowledged the support of the UOW Innovation and Technology Transfer Team, the UOW e-Club, and Associate Professor Daniel Saffiotti at UOW’s Information Technology Services (ITS), who have supported the development of the app, as well as the app developer, Rodney Davies from Logical Instinct.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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