Friday, June 03, 2005

Less focus on weight, more on taking care of yourself

Ampersand points to an interesting study that compares the effects of dieting to the effects of a health plan focused on being healthier without focusing on losing weight. Take-home?
In summary, while the non-dieters did not lose weight, they succeeded in improving their overall health, as measured by cholesterol levels, blood pressure, physical activity and self-esteem. The dieters, on the other hand, were not able to sustain any of the short-term improvements they experienced and worsened in terms of their self-esteem.
We as a country have become too fixated on weight as a measure of health (as well as general worthiness). I'd rather be ten pounds overweight and able to climb a flight of stairs without getting out of breath than be rail-thin and listless. We need to get focused on the things that really affect long-term health and quality of life.

(See also a previous post on Alas a Blog about recent findings that a few extra pounds could be better for you in the long run...)

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