scientatious

Weight Watchers the solution to the obesity crisis?

Posted in scientatious on September 8th, 2011 by steph – Comments Off on Weight Watchers the solution to the obesity crisis?

This morning I read about a study out in the Lancet medical journal that compared weight loss (over a 12 month period) on a standard weight-loss program (provided by a family doctor/primary health care provider) to weight loss with Weight Watchers. My first thought was “oh, so people lose more with Weight Watchers? Well fine, but the real question is was their weight loss maintained?”. I assumed this would be answered at some point in the article. I read on, learning about the “obesity crisis” and how bad it is worldwide, and how this study shows that Weight Watchers is a “robust intervention” that can be generalized across other developing countries, and so on. And nowhere did it mention what happened with these people’s weight after the 12 months. Nor did the original study seem to look at that either. I remembered reading somewhere people get pretty darn excited about weight loss studies, but that there is really very little to suggest (based on research) that initial loss is maintained, and that looking at participants after a longer period of time has elapsed (say, 5 years) dramatically reduces the apparent success of weight loss programs. I can’t remember where I read this- maybe it was something by Leslie Kinzel or Kate Harding- but the person who wrote that also added that no wonder so many studies of weight loss interventions just don’t track participants after 6 months or a year or two: after all, that weight loss in the initial period is genuine, and they’re looking at loss not maintenance, right?

But I think it’s pretty damn disingenuous to have a huge spiel about how this new research suggests that Weight Watchers could be the solution to the “obesity crisis” (and therefore the associated diabetes, heart disease, cancer, whatever “epidemics”) but to not even be able to show that the program manages to make obese people permanently not-obese. Surely if the program is unsuccessful at helping people maintain their weight loss, it wont be these awesome tool with which to end obesity, because people will just end up putting the weight back on again. So a good study -one that wants to make the sweeping statements made by this one- would actually look at follow-up weight after the initial 12 month program trial. And why wouldn’t you want to do that if your program is so great and successful and actually works- it would only make you look good. But, as the blogger who I have forgotten (sorry!) would say cynically, there’s probably a reason that studies of weight-loss programs (especially ones funded by the company who runs the program, as this study was) don’t do long-term follow up on the participants.

Science and sports bras

Posted in exercise, scientatious, sports bras on August 20th, 2010 by steph – Comments Off on Science and sports bras

Good news! The perfect sports bra now exists, but isn’t actually available yet for us to get our greedy little hands on. Apparently studying breast movement during sport and exercise has been sneered at for a while now (anyone surprised?), but it is gaining momentum.

Australian researchers reported that the most effective sports bra, particularly for women who have a D-cup or larger, is one that compresses the breasts while lifting them from underneath with foam pads, “elevating the low point of breast displacement dynamically.”

Women reported this experimental bra was the most comfortable and scientists found it prevented breasts from moving in a figure-8 motion during exercise. Unfortunately, this bra is still in the lab, and the two styles currently on the market — the sports bras that smash both breast down into a uni-boob and those that cup each breast individually — won’t cut it, even if you wear both bras at once.

So, sadly, the news is that nothing on the market now will really cut it, and this sweet new sports bra probably wont be on the market anytime soon. One can only hope that, given the consumer desire for such a product, it wont be far away.