Unit 3A:

Are Weight Loss Attempts Effective?
95% percent of all weight loss attempts fail:
  • Successful weight loss practices would be evidenced by maintenance of a stable or reduced weight over time.1
  • Weight loss efforts can lead to initial losses of more than 10% of initial body weight, but there is a strong tendency to regain the weight:2,3,4
  • Up to two thirds of lost weight is usually regained within one year.
  • Within five years, 95% of dieters will have regained all of their weight .
  • Some will actually be heavier then when they started.
  • The failure of weight loss practices is exemplified by steadily increasing weights within American society despite the prevalence of dieting. From 1976-1991, mean weights increased by 3.6 kilograms, while mean heights increased less than 1 centimeter for individuals 20-74 years of age.5,6
  • Hypothesis: Human beings have evolved to maintain genetically determined weights by participation in a physically active lifestyle coupled with ingestion of a low fat diet. Relatively recent societal changes have led to increasing participation in sedentary lifestyles coupled with increased fat intake. These changes have caused genetically determined set-point weights to be over ridden.7
  • Today's weight loss methods cannot alter thousands of years of evolution.
  • The real issues surrounding weight are being missed: "The 'blame' for the obesity problem and for other 'diseases of civilization' must be placed squarely on the shoulders of a culture that promotes sedentary living, high-fat eating, and, at the same time (particularly for women), tremendous psychological and social pressure to be thin "(p. 423).8


Back to Unit 3 A: The Failures of The Old Paradigm


© Spring 1998