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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published an article that deals with weight management programmes for obese kids.
I read this article eagerly, hoping for some new wisdom on the vexing issue of childhood and adolescent obesity, about which I am interested. Eleven authors for one study: very impressive, or... a bit suspicious? Too many authors looks like a few are free-tripping on the basis of position or something. You know, a Head of Department is also listed as an author, even though he may have done nothing more than signing his name. Anyways, I digress, as usual.

What does the article say? It says simply that where the weight reduction program was followed intensively, really hands-on, the results were better than the typical programs used before. Now it is a known fact that 95% of diet-and-exercise regimes fail to provide sustained weight loss. So how does the JAMA article make a difference? Look for yourself:
"The success of the Bright Bodies program undoubtedly relates, in part, to the frequent contacts between families and the professional staff." Which means that the team sat on the heads of the parents and their fat kids. Obviously, they can't do this forever, so once their attention is withdrawn, things are liable to turn back all over again.
"While the program was very successful in treating overweight children, the expense incurred in operating such a program is substantial." Meaning to say, in other words:"Don't even think you can afford this kind of treatment. This is only because we got big funding to enable us to publish this expensive scientific paper".

"Future work for our group includes cost-benefit analyses, as this would be helpful for pediatric clinicians or health management organizations that are considering offering similar services to overweight children and adolescents." Meaning "We are going to ask for more funds so that we can then publish another paper in JAMA that what we are doing is too expensive to be practical, and the State (or somebody) should allocate money for this project, which we will be happy to spearhead."
Another article that proves that the world is round, as are our bellies!

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