snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Medical

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 31 January 2013, 09:33 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 107,977
Glasses Seven myths about obesity, and why they're wrong

Some top obesity researchers joined forces to bust the most pervasive myths about weight loss in a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They say they donít want people to stop trying, but they do fear there are some misguided policies out there.

http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2...y-theyre-wrong
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 31 January 2013, 11:40 PM
quink quink is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 2,466
Default

I've read about four different versions of this today, and I really dislike how it's being spun in most of them. Several seem to push towards weight loss surgery being the only solution, and there's an attitude of "this doesn't work, so don't even bother trying". I don't think that's what the study itself is saying, but the articles I've read certainly are.

As an example:

Quote:
Small, sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes. Itís not only untrue, the researchers say, but illogical.
How many people are going to read that and think that getting out and walking for fifteen minutes is useless? No, walking fifteen minutes a day isn't going to be enough on its own, but it's a start. The idea of making small changes is that you build on them rather than jumping in and trying to do an ironman triathlon when you can barely get off the couch.

The spin of the articles seems to assume that people take these starter tips at face value and never improve upon them (the reasonable goals, small changes, etc). Maybe people do, and it's good to let them know that that's just the starting point and you eventually have to do more, but I see these articles going the opposite way and suggesting that it's not worth even trying. Might as well just go have your stomach amputated, because that's the only proven way to lose weight and keep it off.

The other thing that disturbs me is that it focuses on weight loss alone and not on building a healthier life style. Slightly less weight loss over a longer period of time is seen as a negative compared to rapid temporary weight loss. If you want rapid, immediate weight loss, chop an arm off.

As interesting as some of these are, I have a feeling that the way media's pouncing on it will do more harm than good.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01 February 2013, 03:51 AM
Dasla's Avatar
Dasla Dasla is offline
 
Join Date: 15 April 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 1,616
Default

The title is misleading too. You don't have to be obese to need to lose weight. And the "myths" havn't been "busted" they have just havn't been tested to scientific standards, as they actually say themselves.

The only ones that have been tested to scientific standards are the ones that are commercial products, cause well, if they are "medical devices" they need to be and it would pay them to say "scientifically tested" Who would pay to test the methods that cost nothing and therefore would make nothing? What we need is a government health organisation to test these methods to prove it scientifically.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:02 AM
Dasla's Avatar
Dasla Dasla is offline
 
Join Date: 15 April 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 1,616
Default

As for gradual changes. Like others have said you have to continue. If you never do exercise and are very unfit, walking 15mins may be difficult at first and my not much of a difference, but if you keep at it and build it up.

If your diet cosists of takeaways and other junk and includes little in the way of veges, you proberly aren't going to switch to low fat, high fibre and a big proportion of vegetables overnight. But if you get a few easy recipes and slowly increase the vegetables you eat and decrease junk food overtime.

No the weight lose won't be like those like on those weight lose shows (or ads for weight lose programs) but if you keep at it, it will happen.

As for PE classes. I can't remember how long a average PE class is. But let us say 1.5 hours a week, for 40weeks a year. No that won't make a dfference on it's own, especially since most of that time you aren't excercising hard. But what it might do, if you come from a non active family, is help a child find a sport/exercise that they weren't familar with but find they like. Like enough to continue with. Of course it needs good PE teachers, ones a range of sports, encourages children to keep at sport the show an interest or talent in and doesn't make sport seem like a chore/punishment.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:02 AM
geminilee's Avatar
geminilee geminilee is online now
 
Join Date: 02 December 2005
Location: New Orleans, La.
Posts: 11,094
Default

This is sort of a hijack, but it was mentioned in the article. They said sex burns "closer to 14 calories". Doesn't the effectiveness of sex as exercise depend on the kind of sex you are having? "Sex" covers a pretty wide range, from sedate turtle-sex to the hang-from-the-rafters variety.

Not that I believed the 200 calorie hype either, and for the same reason. Unless there is a lot more information, you can't put a caloric burn rate on it.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:24 AM
Dasla's Avatar
Dasla Dasla is offline
 
Join Date: 15 April 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 1,616
Default

I think the sex one presists because you are talking about something "naughty" (school girl giggle ) rather then something goody goody or nerdy like traditional exercise (booooring).
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:54 AM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,419
Default

The thing that always annoys me about this sort of advice is that it is only about losing weight, rather than avoiding putting it on in the first place. People are not born fat, but I suspect that when someone is born into an obese family, it becomes the norm to them, and they are likely to over eat and not exercise as they should.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01 February 2013, 02:23 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is online now
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 13,457
Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
The spin of the articles seems to assume that people take these starter tips at face value and never improve upon them (the reasonable goals, small changes, etc). Maybe people do, and it's good to let them know that that's just the starting point and you eventually have to do more, but I see these articles going the opposite way and suggesting that it's not worth even trying.
It reminds me of the attitude some websites take toward eating. They urge you to eat more fruits and vegetables and then turn around and say, "oh, but this or that doesn't count because it's not the right kind of fruit or vegetable." Which ends up, again, suggesting it's not worth trying to eat healthier if you don't eat the things they want you to.

Part of the trouble with calorie counting is that people see "sex burns 200 calories and hour!" and think it's 200 calories in addition to the calories they would normally burn, when it's not.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01 February 2013, 03:28 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
Join Date: 14 December 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 23,668
Default

Personally, I wish we would ignore weight for the most part (except in cases in which someone is severely obese or moderately underweight without underlying cause) and focus on a healthy lifestyle.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:09 PM
quink quink is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 2,466
Default

Exactly. I think what bugs me about articles like this is that they essentially say that the only reason to eat well and move your body is for weight loss. And if it's more difficult or less efficient than taking medications or undergoing drastic, life altering surgery, than it's not worth doing it. I hate that weight loss is seen as the only goal. It's often a side effect, yes, but there are more important benefits that people miss out on. Magically being 40 pounds lighter wouldn't have fixed my blood sugar or lowered my cholesterol. The things I did to do that also had the effect of making me weigh less, but I'd still have benefitted from the changes even if I hadn't lost a pound. About the only area where weight loss itself had a direct impact was in ease of movement.


We've built up healthy living to be such a complicated, mystical thing with one single goal that's not even that important compared to what's happening inside the body, and articles that pounce on study results like this just feed into that. It's sad when people find it more practical to go on a starvation diet and inject themselves with magic hormone water than to simply make some healthier substitutions and go for a walk. The answer when the goals are out of whack isn't to throw out the things that move you toward the right goal. Otherwise, chainsaw diet. It works like a charm for instant, permanent weight loss results

Last edited by quink; 01 February 2013 at 04:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:33 PM
Simply Madeline's Avatar
Simply Madeline Simply Madeline is offline
 
Join Date: 15 October 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 9,256
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
Personally, I wish we would ignore weight for the most part (except in cases in which someone is severely obese or moderately underweight without underlying cause) and focus on a healthy lifestyle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
Exactly. I think what bugs me about articles like this is that they essentially say that the only reason to eat well and move your body is for weight loss
Except it says right in the article:

Quote:
That doesnít mean that exercise wonít help people lose weight, or that people shouldnít try to exercise. Exercise even without weight loss improves health, Allison said.
That said, the article isn't seven myths about obesity; it's seven kinda-myths about weight loss.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01 February 2013, 04:42 PM
quink quink is offline
 
Join Date: 22 June 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 2,466
Default

There have been a few articles based on this study, and some are worse than others in how they're presenting the results (I was already irritated at a couple of them before this popped up on the board).

To be fair, most seem to focus on the sex angle more than anything. I wonder if I could somehow make my HRM chest strap and big garmin watch look sexy
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Coca-Cola to air commercials addressing obesity snopes The Bad Gastronomer 0 14 January 2013 08:11 PM
What Is Wrong? snopes Inboxer Rebellion 6 28 December 2010 01:53 PM
20 Things You Didn't Know About Obesity inkrose115 Medical 13 08 February 2008 03:02 PM
Obesity myths snopes Medical 15 21 September 2007 11:38 PM
Obesity contagious among friends Steve Eisenberg Medical 31 08 September 2007 02:48 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.