Bites

November 2009

Professional

Weight management

Facts and fallacies

Volume 38, No.11, November 2009 Pages 921-923

Garry Egger

Sam Egger

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the facts around weight loss among health professionals, and the general public. Possible reasons for this include lack of adequate education of doctors in this area, misreporting of health research in the popular media, and a need for further research in some areas. Training doctors in ‘lifestyle medicine’ may be helpful. Standards of evidence in media reports could be significantly improved.

Myths and misinformation about the best way(s) to lose weight are common. This is not surprising given the lack of a clear evidence base. Dedicated research into nutrition, exercise, sleep, weight management, and other health behaviours is relatively new and getting clear answers to research questions in this area can be difficult.1 This is not helped by the proliferation of unvetted ‘expert’ claims in media reports and on internet sites. Proponents of new weight loss diets often claim that their diet is better than another. However it is likely that all diets are regulated by the common factor of energy volume, and a lifetime adherence to a restrictive diet (which is necessary for weight loss maintenance) is unrealistic for most people.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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