kitchen table math, the sequel: still off-topic: Gallup poll on weight loss

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

still off-topic: Gallup poll on weight loss

I've become a tad health-and-diet-preoccupied here in the New Year. But I figure I am not alone.

Just came across a Gallup poll -- How Americans Who Have Lost Weight Made it Happen -- and thought this was interesting:
Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare survey results reveal the top weight loss tactics Americans say they have used successfully. The 52% of all U.S. adults who say they have succeeded at losing weight at some point in their lives were more likely to credit dietary changes than exercise.

The top three diet-related tactics Americans said they used were eating less, counting calories/portion control, and eating more natural foods. In terms of those who relied on exercise, just working out in general was the most frequently mentioned form of activity.


Bostonian said...

Research finds that overweight people live the longest , but it's not good to be obese.

Bostonian said...

Link above did not work -- it is .

Crimson Wife said...

Any study that does not control for the fact that illness often causes unintentional weight loss (particularly cancer) isn't worth the paper on which it is printed.

palisadesk said...

I seem to recall that calorie restriction (read, semi-starvation) prolonged life expectancy significantly. So is this a case of either extreme being beneficial but not the happy medium?

Bostonian said...

Responding to palisadesk with a quote from the linked article:

"Compared to people who fell into the normal-weight category:

Those classified as underweight were 73% more likely to die.

Those classified as extremely obese with BMI of 35 or greater were 36% more likely to die.

Those classified as obese with BMI 30-34.9 had about the same risk of death.

Those classified as overweight with BMI 25-29.9 were 17% less likely to die."

This argues against semi-starvation, which sounds unpleasant, anyway.

Jen said...

I think Palisadesk has it right -- you have to factor in Crimson Wife's comment. The first sign of a life-threatening illness is often weight loss (it's also often a side effect of depression and of advanced alcoholism and of course, anorexia, which are all life-threatening as well).

So, unless you factor out the underweight people who are underweight due to illness, you can't really draw valid conclusions.

Here's what Palisadesk is talking about:

The problem is that most humans can't seem to stick with a diet as restricted as it needs to be. Need to spend all of your time/mental energy on...not eating. It's like all those jokes. You might live longer, but you won't enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is that extreme caloric restriction is hard and the benefit may be non-existent.

I remember when these came out because I had a boss who was pursuing this lifestyle. The peripheral benefits (e.g. better artery health) look good, but the result may mostly be that you are healthier, not that you live substantially longer. We may know in 30-40 years (or 20?), but right now we still don't really know.

-Mark Roulo