I read today’s health news about ‘obesity prevention’ starting to have a positive impact with surprise. In all the years since I’ve been researching into this stuff I’ve never found any evidence that the way we’re dealing with the so-called ‘obesity epidemic’ (which is an overeating epidemic, not obesity) has had anything but a negative effect. I’ve known without doubt that all of our obesity prevention methods are digging us deeper into the hole we’re trying to get out of. All my beliefs, theories and five years of helping people has been influenced by this, so when I saw the headline:
My heart started to speed up. I’ll admit this was a mixture of hope (because if it were true it would be fantastic) and fear (because I’d have to go right back to the beginning and start everything again from scractch and re-think my whole career). But I also had a feeling of doubt because of the evidence that’s already been around for a long time that the opposite is true – evidence that is like an avalanche of trials and studies.
This trial states that: “Increasing public awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic may be contributing to evidence of overall reductions in body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity in children, according to the results of a nationwide study.”
The report doesn’t say how many schools were involved, just that they were nationwide. Basically they divided schools into two groups. Group 1 carried on without change. Group 2 implemented the usual ‘obesity intervention’ of ‘changes in their nutritional and physical education programs’.
The results of the study were surprising to the researchers because both schools had a reduction in ‘obesity’ levels, very similar reductions in BMI. The BMI decreased by more than 4% for both groups of students from the start of 6th grade to the end of 8th grade.
The title of this report suggests that the trial itself is revealing the positive impact but it’s just showing that wherever kids are they’re going to be influenced by the weight loss/diet message, regardless of whether it’s part of their actual in-school education. And let’s have a closer look at a possible explanation this 4% decrease in BMI in these kids.
Have a look at this study, also in the news:
This study was carried out in Taiwan on 120 schools. Thirteen per cent of the 8,673 girls and 7,043 boys who took part in the research admitted they made themselves sick to lose weight.
Interestingly this report says that a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in 2010, found that 4% of students had vomited or taken laxatives in the last 30 days to lose or stop gaining weight.
The report went on to quote the Dr conducting the trial: “Our study found that children as young as ten were aware of the importance of weight control, but used vomiting to control their weight” concludes Dr Liou. “This reinforces the need for public health campaigns that stress the negative impact that vomiting can have on their health and encourage them to tackle any weight issues in a healthy and responsible way.”
It’s tackling ‘weight issues’ in what society believes is a healthy and responsible way that is making sure that the kids are making themselves vomit in the first place!
This doctor goes on to say: “The findings also suggest that self-induced vomiting might serve as an early marker for the development of obesity and/or other eating and weight-related problems.”
Yes. Interfere with kids’ natural food regulation systems (in the brain) by making them look outside themselves for instructions about what and how much to eat and you get kids who feel like they are unable to control food – they react in one of two ways – take absolute control (bulimia/anorexia) or give up and lose control (overeaters).
Or they start off over controlling build stress through the feeling of food scarcity, spark up a stress response occurs that causes a functional re-wiring in the brain. This re-wiring impair the endocannabinoids’ ability to regulate food intake and could contribute to enhanced food drive and they become compulsive overeaters many of which will become obese.
Basically this is a long-winded explanation of why the first study about the positive impact of our obsession with thinness and dieting is utter rubbish.