Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Facing Facts: Weight Loss Focused Healthcare Proves Ineffective in Latest Studies

Our friend Peggy Howell, Public Relations Director for the NAAFA, sent us the following press release discussing a recent journal article on the best manner to reach a healthy life style:

A new paper just published in Nutrition Journal cites overwhelming evidence that focusing on weight loss as the only route to achieve a healthy life style is ineffective and harmful.

Co-authors Linda Bacon, an associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis Department of Nutrition, and Lucy Aphramor, an NHS specialist dietician and honorary research fellow at the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions at Coventry University, England cite evidence from almost two hundred studies and come to surprising conclusions; a weight loss centered approach is not only ineffective in terms of health and weight outcomes, but also harmful.

Their analysis indicates that researchers have long interpreted research data through a fat biased lens, and when this bias is removed, it overwhelmingly shows that fat has been highly exaggerated as a risk for disease or decreased longevity, and does not support conventional ideas that:

-- weight loss will prolong life;
-- anyone can lose weight and keep it off through diet and exercise;
-- weight loss is a practical and positive goal;
-- weight loss is the only way overweight and obese people can improve their health;
-- obesity places an economic burden on society.

“The weight-focused approach does not, in the long run, produce thinner, healthier bodies,” said Bacon, who wrote the 2010 book, Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, based on research she published in top scientific journals.

“For decades, the United States’ public health establishment and $58.6 billion-a-year private weight-loss industry have focused on health improvement through weight loss,” Bacon said. “The result is unprecedented levels of body dissatisfaction and failure in achieving desired health outcomes. It's time to consider a more evidence-based approach.”

NAAFA applauds these scientists and encourages others to challenge the “weight loss is the only solution” paradigm. Health At Every Size is possible.

Bacon and Aphramor suggest that the health care community adopt a more ethical, evidence-based approach toward public health nutrition --one that instead encourages individuals to concentrate on developing healthy habits rather than concentrating on weight management. While weight loss may result, the goal is self-care as opposed to weight loss. This weight-neutral practice has become known as Health at Every Size.

The full article may be found in Nutrition Journal at: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/9

Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.

On the web: http://www.naafa.org/


Jay Solomon said...

Dr. Bacon's article and work are sensational, and it's about time that the Health at Every Size call to end the obsession with weight loss be heard. And with this kind of scientific backing that supports how ineffectual and unhealthy the practice of weight loss is, the medical and scientific communities have to take notice.

Anonymous said...


For years I have been saying dieting in particular starvation type diets are not only unhealthy but worthless. It is good to see things backed up by science. The problem with this is that the multi-billion dollar ads campaigns will overshadow all of the positive efforts.

lorna vanderhaeghe said...

It's always good to know the latest studies on health care. Thanks a lot for sharing. We should face the facts.