A whole bunch of obesity experts have just published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine about myths, presumptions and facts about obesity. Surprise: I agree on all points!
Some common dietitian or Weight Watcher claims are found among the myths, i.e. things that have been proven wrong. For example myths #1-3:
- Myth #1: Small changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes. WRONG. Small changes in lifestyle will only produce small effects on weight.
- Myth #2: Setting realistic goals is important. WRONG. Setting ambitious goals will produce at least equally good results.
- Myth#3: An initial rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term results. WRONG. Rapid weight loss will produce at least equally good results.
They also debunk various presumptions that are often put forward as facts, but are lacking support, for example the following:
- Unproven presumption #1: Regularly eating breakfast is protective against obesity.
- Unproven presumption #3: Eating more fruits and vegetables will result in weight loss.
Let’s hope the myths will die out soon, especially myth #1. Advice to just choose a smaller cookie or to take the stairs instead of the elevator will not make anyone thin. Period. This has been proven wrong.
Advice on “just minor changes” will not only lead to disappointment, but will also contribute to the prejudice against people with weight problems, as the advice incorrectly makes it sound like overweight people would be thin if only they had the slightest willpower.
A lot of “experts” need to stop spreading this common prejudice-creating myth in the media.
All the myths can be read here:
- Weighty Matters: The New England Journal’s Obesity Mythbusting
- The New England Journal of Medicine: Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity
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