Disease Proof


Barron H. Lerner of The New York Times asks the question, amidst the tidal wave of pop-diets, has willpower died? Look:
A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association in May suggested another way in which genetics might affect changes in weight. Researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston reported that differences in how young adults secrete the hormone insulin determine how well they respond to various dietary interventions.

So maybe it is time for health professionals to stop reflexively assuming that personal sacrifice will lead to weight loss. But this will not be easy.

For one thing, there certainly are success stories of people who have dropped dozens of pounds by drastically altering their lifestyles. Moreover, watching one’s diet can have beneficial health effects beyond losing weight.

And I just cannot conceive of a session with an overweight patient that does not involve a discussion of being careful at holiday meals, controlling portion size, avoiding bedtime snacks and trying to exercise three times a week. Somehow it still seems to me that part of a doctor’s job is to push patients to try harder. Just call me old-fashioned.
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