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Myths About Obesity Rest on Slim Evidence

By Dr. David Lipschitz Modified: February 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm •  Published: February 23, 2013

5. Snacking contributes to obesity. Here as many studies show weight loss as show gain.

6. Living in a community with great parks and sidewalks promotes weight loss. There is no consistent evidence from the observational studies that have been done that shows where you live affects obesity risk.

The authors listed some beliefs that have been supported by scientific evidence.

While genetic factors affect weight, their effect can be modified by changes in diet, health and exercise.

Going on a specific recommended diet effectively leads to weight loss but rarely succeeds in the long term.

While exercise alone may not lead to weight loss, regardless of your size, it is good for your health, and exercise in sufficient amount (that is vigorous) helps promote weight loss. Developing and maintaining healthy habits promotes and, more importantly, maintains weight loss.

For overweight children, involving the parents in a plan is the most critical factor leading to weight loss. Providing balanced meals or using meal replacement products does appear to assist in long-term weight loss by promoting better structure and meal habits. And finally, use of some pharmaceutical pills can assist in losing and maintaining weight, and bariatric surgery is very effective in overcoming morbid obesity.

What conclusions can be drawn from this information?

If you are morbidly obese, a medically supervised program that leads to rapid weight loss may prove effective if accompanied by appropriate lifestyle changes. If all else fails, consider gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery.

If moderate weight loss is needed, learn how to eat well. That may require joining an appropriate weight loss program (for example, Weight Watchers). Set ambitious weight-loss goals, and exercise as much as possible. To be effective, these habits must become lifelong and enjoyable.

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at: