Today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features an article called Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity. The article has caused a stir in the media, prompting headlines like, “Shocking Dieting and Obesity Myths of 2013 Exposed by NEJM,” ”7 Big Fat Lies about Weight Loss,” and “7 Obesity Myths Shattered.”
Myths about Obesity
Some of the myths — beliefs commonly and fervently held (and perpetuated by both journalists and scientists), despite evidence to the contrary — include things like: Continue reading
“More than two-thirds of American smokers say they want to quit but only a fraction actually do,” reports today’s Wall Street Journal. This paints a dreary picture of a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco. But it’s a picture that is not entirely accurate.
Of course, quitting tobacco (not just cigarettes, but chew and snuff) is one of the hardest things you can do. But let’s not overlook the fact that most people in the US who have ever smoked…have quit! ”Only a fraction actually do?” Sure. The fraction is one half.
The WSJ reported their article based on the newly released MMWR from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which included a summary of tobacco prevalences and quit data for 2001 – 2010. The third sentence of the report reads, Continue reading
Have you been enjoying the recent brouhaha about social networks and health, or “social contagion”? In case you missed it, statisticians and other scientists are in a flap over the analytical methods of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, authors of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (in which the summarize their research which, they say, shows that components of health such as obesity, tobacco cessation, and happiness spread through networks of “friends”). Carol Harnett did a fine job of deconstructing both sides of the issue in layperson’s terms on Fran Melmed’s blog. Read it here.
Why should those of us in employee wellness care about this? Several reasons, including Continue reading
I was honored to be invited by AARP to to their Public Policy Institute Innovation Roundtable on Using Financial Incentives to Promote Healthy Behaviors, held April 29 at the AARP headquarters in Washington, DC. The all-day Roundtable included approximately 25 experts representing a wide variety of specialties, including representatives from non-profit health advocacy agencies, researchers, an ethicist, a philosopher, employers, vendors, consultants, lawyers, and a health plan. If you’ve read any wellness research or attended wellness conferences in recent years, you certainly would have recognized many of the people seated around the table.
The objectives of the Roundtable were Continue reading