Research is valuable and important. Research gives us quantifiable and qualitative data that can be used to help explain why things work the way they do and/or what works better for what. Although research isn't everything it is important to stay up to date and read the literature, especially that which can be applicable to your particular atmosphere or population. That's why I like to try and share a weekly study that I think not only benefits me, but can also benefit others. This week's study of the week is actually a review, but it still provides beneficial information, called Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity by Casazza et. al, which was published in the January issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The review makes for a great read because it has a light-hearted tone considering it is a scientific review. The reviewers address seven common beliefs regarding obesity that include the following:
1. Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes.
The reviewers challenged this idea with several great points, but the one I felt most people needed to hear was that was if you increase your energy expenditure by 100kcal a day by performing a particular activity to lose weight your weight loss will not be a great as your initial expectations because as you increase your activity and weight begins to fall-out the energy requirements to perform that particular activity will become less so unless you increase your intensity the weight loss will slow in progression.
2. Setting realistic goals for weight loss is important because otherwise patients will become frustrated and lose less weight.
Reviewers note that there is not significant and direct evidence that suggests or links ambitious or unrealistic goals to less weight loss results.
3. Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight-loss outcomes, as compared with slow, gradual weight loss.
Reviewers note there is not correlations between the speed of weight-loss and ultimate outcomes.
4. It is important to assess the stage of change or diet readiness in order to help patients who request weight-loss treatment.
Reviewers state that there is not any evidence showing that diet readiness correlates to increase success or increased weight loss.
5. Physical education classes, in their current form, play an important role in reducing or preventing childhood obesity.
Reviewers state that current physical education classes do not reduce or prevent obesity.
6. Breast-feeding is protective against obesity.
Negative the reviewers say by pointing to several studies that fail to demonstrate any compelling evidence of an effect on breast feeding on obesity
7. A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 330 kcal for each participant.
Reviewers note that the average male would expend about 3.5kcal per minute of activity and that the average sexual encounter last for about 6mins which would mean that even a 30min sexual encounter would burn that many calories and that is 5x times longer than the average.
The conclusion that the reviewers came to was that despite the literature that directly contradicts these myths they are continually perpetuated by a large group of people, which sadly, includes those in academia, bodies of regulation, and media
I love this review because it illustrates the importance of not believing everything you hear. When some one gives you a piece of information that they hold to be a fact I encourage you to be a skeptic and do your own research regarding the topic before taking another's word for it.
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training