The future of weight loss

Stephan J. Guyenet at Works in Progress:

Heart attacks can be prevented with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs, bacterial infections can be eliminated with antibiotics, and even HIV is now treatable with antiviral drugs. But obesity remains a remarkably stubborn condition.

Losing weight is hard, with or without the help of a doctor. Two-thirds of American adults with obesity try to lose weight each year using every diet imaginable, yet the adult obesity rate remains at 43%. Even intensive diet and lifestyle interventions have historically struggled to exceed a sustained 5% loss of body weight, and most weight loss drugs are no more effective. Compounding the problem, primary care doctors often can’t deliver the best diet and lifestyle tools that are available. “I spent my career trying to get primary care providers to deliver effective weight loss interventions in their office,” says Donna Ryan, professor emerita at the Pennington Biomedical Institute and president of the World Obesity Federation. “It’s hopeless.”

Doctors understand the profound impact obesity has on their patients, and the remarkable benefits of even modest weight loss, but have historically been unable to do much about it.

That is changing.

More here.