The Long Term Effects Of Weight Loss Diets On Health Outcomes Essay

1337 Words6 Pages
When physicians recommend that their patients go on diets, their implicit goal is unlikely to be to help these patients improve their appearance or body image. The assumption in recommending diets is that losing weight will lead to improved health, and yet, it is far less common for studies of the effectiveness of diets to directly measure health outcomes than to measure weight. There is ample evidence that diets do not lead to long-term weight loss in the majority of people (Mann et al., 2007), but what does this mean for health? Is losing weight closely tied to health benefits? In this paper, we attempt to answer this question by reviewing evidence on the long-term effects of weight-loss diets on health outcomes. Traditional Definitions of Dieting Success Historically, the criterion that diets – defined as a change in eating, most often a reduction in calories with a goal of weight loss – have been judged on has been weight loss. The necessary amount of weight loss, however, has been somewhat arbitrary and has changed dramatically since dieting first started being routinely studied. The original standard weight recommended by physicians was based on the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tables requiring particular weights for any given height and body frame size. For example, the tables designated 134 lb as the expected weight for an average-height woman (5′5′′) of medium body frame. Whatever her starting weight, 134lb would be her goal (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company,
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