Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tackling overweight and obesity: does the public health message match the science?

The writers below admit that weight-loss propaganda has failed but think that better propaganda might do the trick.  Good luck with that!

Katherine Hafekost et al.



Despite the increasing understanding of the mechanisms relating to weight loss and maintenance, there are currently no validated public health interventions that are able to achieve sustained long-term weight loss or to stem the increasing prevalence of obesity in the population. We aimed to examine the models of energy balance underpinning current research about weight-loss intervention from the field of public health, and to determine whether they are consistent with the model provided by basic science. EMBASE was searched for papers published in 2011 on weight-loss interventions. We extracted details of the population, nature of the intervention, and key findings for 27 articles.


Most public health interventions identified were based on a simple model of energy balance, and thus attempted to reduce caloric consumption and/or increase physical activity in order to create a negative energy balance. There appeared to be little consideration of homeostatic feedback mechanisms and their effect on weight-loss success. It seems that there has been a lack of translation between recent advances in understanding of the basic science behind weight loss, and the concepts underpinning the increasingly urgent efforts to reduce excess weight in the population.


Public health weight-loss interventions seem to be based on an outdated understanding of the science. Their continued failure to achieve any meaningful, long-term results reflects the need to develop intervention science that is integrated with knowledge from basic science. Instead of asking why people persist in eating too much and exercising too little, the key questions of obesity research should address those factors (environmental, behavioral or otherwise) that lead to dysregulation of the homeostatic mechanism of energy regulation. There is a need for a multidisciplinary approach in the design of future weight-loss interventions in order to improve long-term weight-loss success.


Computer use linked to literacy for pre-schoolers

The bumptious Susan Greenfield won't like these findings.  A truly odious woman.  For nothing more than her own attention-seeking reasons, she has done her best to upset the world's children

PARENTS of screen-loving pre-schoolers can relax. A new Australian study has found four-year-olds who spend more time on the computer have better knowledge of the alphabet than others.

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute survey of 1500 four-year-olds found more than half used a computer at least once a week.

They found this was closely tied to letter recognition, which is linked to reading and spelling ability.

Researcher Professor Sheena Reilly said greater computer use among pre-schoolers "appears to have a positive association with emerging literacy development" and was much better than watching TV.

Computer products, such as keyboard games, are marketed to children as young as nine months old.

"These days you do see lots of kids playing games on iPads and iPhones and even reading books on them," Prof Reilly said.

She said the link between literacy and computers remained significant even when researchers controlled for factors such as socioeconomic status and parental reading ability.

"It is possible that the kinds of activities pre-school children engage in when using a computer, including interacting with the letters on the keyboard, stimulate letter knowledge," Prof Reilly said.

But she acknowledged it was "also possible that pre-school children with strong emergent literacy skills and good letter knowledge are more likely to choose to engage in computer-based activities than those with weaker skills".

Prof Reilly said the study did not distinguish between educational and recreational computer use.

Canterbury mother of three and GP Kirstin Charlesworth said her son Lachlan, 5, played letter and number games on the computer.

"It's no replacement for one-on-one time with a parent, but high-quality computer time has its place," Dr Charlesworth said.

"I think it's important that kids go to school with some idea about computers and how to use them."


1 comment:

Olaf Koenders said...

"Researcher Professor Sheena Reilly said greater computer use among pre-schoolers 'appears to have a positive association with emerging literacy development' and was much better than watching TV."

What utter bullshit. Bet she hasn't researched the spelling abilities of those on bookface or twitter!