Scientific Search for “The Best Diet” Distracts From The Real Issue

A provocative editorial in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has many of us in the health field buzzing today.

The essay, “A Call for the End to the Diet Debates” by Drs. Sherry Pagoto and Bradley Appelhans, argues that it’s time for the research and medical community to accept that when it comes to weight loss, there is no one diet that is best for everyone. They point to study after study in which scientist have pit, for example, the Atkins diet against the Mediterranean diet against low-fat diets, has not led to any clear answer for weight loss alone.

The real measure researchers should be looking at, they say, is not how many pounds individual subjects of these studies lost, but how able they were to stick to the diet in question. Or, in scientific terms, “adherence.” Continue reading

Is Obesity a Disease? American Medical Association (AMA) thinks so.

Earlier this week, at their annual meeting, they announced they were officially recognizing obesity as a disease. It’s a move that will have far-reaching effects on the American healthcare system, in that it will raise awareness and spur action on the part of physicians, who are historically reluctant to discuss weight with their patients. It may also encourage more insurers to cover obesity treatment and, hopefully, prevention efforts.

Much of the attention surrounding this new classification has focused on semantic issues (what is a disease, anyway, and how does it differ from a condition or disorder?) and on the fact that the most widely-used measure of obesity, the Body Mass Index or BMI, is an imperfect one. Continue reading

For National Men’s Health Week, Get the Facts on Cancer Prevention

Active senior man, in blue t-shirt and shorts, walking golden retriever along woodland path, smiling, front view, portraitThe week leading up to Father’s Day is National Men’s Health Week, which is dedicated to raising awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment among men and boys.

Here at AICR, we’re proud to do our part by highlighting the message that many of the most common cancers in males have significant links to lifestyle factors. (For some cancers common in men, however, no strong links to diet, weight or physical activity have been identified; for these cancers, screening and early detection are key.)

Let’s start by taking a look at the most common cancer in men (besides skin cancer). Continue reading