diet, exercise ineffective for long term weight loss

Doug Skrecky (
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:57:52 -0700 (PDT)

How effective are traditional dietary and exercise interventions for weight loss?

Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1999 31(8): 1129-1134 Wayne C. Miller

Abstract Health care professionals have used restrictive dieting and exercise intervention strategies in an effort to combat the rising prevalence of obesity in affluent countries. In spite of these efforts, the prevalence of obesity continues to rise. This apparent ineffectiveness of diet and exercise programing to reduce obesity has caused many health care providers, obesity researchers, and lay persons to challenge the further use of diet and exercise for the sole purpose of reducing body weight in the obese. The purposes of this paper were to examine the history and effectiveness of diet and exercise in obesity therapy and to determine the best future approach for health promotion in the obese population. A brief survey of the most popular dieting techniques used over the past 40 yr shows that most techniques cycle in and out of popularity and that many of these techniques may be hazardous to health. Data from the scientific community indicate that a 15-wk diet or diet plus exercise program produces a weight loss of about 11 kg (24 lb) with a 60-80% maintenance after 1 yr. Although long-term follow-up data are meager, the data that do exist suggest almost complete relapse after 3-5 yr. The paucity of data provided by the weight-loss industry has been inadequate or inconclusive. Those who challenge the use of diet and exercise solely for weight control purposes base their position on the absence of weight-loss effectiveness data and on the presence of harmful effects of restrictive dieting. Any intervention strategy for the obese should be specific to chronic disease risk and symptomatologies and not limited to medically ambiguous variables like body weight or body composition.

Additional note by poster:

The main weight loss motivation for females at least is to increase sexual attractiveness. Unfortunately, while average BMI in our exercise-challenged automobile-centered society has been increasing, the ideal preferred BMI has been steadily decreasing till it has now reached the extraordinary point were any further decrease would halt menstruation and eliminate fertility. The female BMI, that is most preferred by male undergraduates is now only 20, so it is little wonder that females are starving themselves to compete. (The Lancet August 1998 352: 548) To calculate BMI mulitply body weight in pounds by 703 and divide by height in inches, then divide by height in inches again. For example if the height is 5 feet 5 inches (or 65 inches), and weight is 120 lbs then BMI = (703 X 120)/(65 X 65) = 20.
The only suggestion this poster has to the "younger" generation is this: "Come on guys, get real, a generation ago Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield were considered hot stuff. Just look at pictures of beautiful women dating from the middle ages, and you will see this obsession with thin women is a recent aberration. Historially there exists no preference for women with a less than curvaceous figure. Think again: do you really prefer thin or voluptuous women?"