The Enormity of Obesity

The May 24th issue of The Scientist has two articles as different as possible about approaches to weight control. Blackman describes the last 10 years of molecular obesity research into the multitude of complex, overlapping metabolic and hormonal pathways being studied in an attempt "to find a chemical cure for the seriously overweight."1 Lewis in her personal note, "Drs. Atkins and Agatston, you were so right,"2discusses her loss of 25 pounds adhering to the newly appreciated effects of a low c

Alan Schechter
Jun 20, 2004
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The May 24th issue of The Scientist has two articles as different as possible about approaches to weight control. Blackman describes the last 10 years of molecular obesity research into the multitude of complex, overlapping metabolic and hormonal pathways being studied in an attempt "to find a chemical cure for the seriously overweight."1 Lewis in her personal note, "Drs. Atkins and Agatston, you were so right,"2discusses her loss of 25 pounds adhering to the newly appreciated effects of a low carbohydrate diet.

If weight is indeed a risk factor for many illnesses, one clearly wonders which approach – the pharmacological or the behavioral/diet one – is likely to produce greater public health benefit in the foreseeable future. Are we not again following the path of reductionism and 'medicalization' of a health condition for which population studies and behavioral interventions are more appropriate at the front-line?

Alan N....

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