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HHS HealthBeat (March 8, 2013)

What do you know about losing weight?

Older man exercising.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers say a lot of the things people think they know about losing weight are wrong. And the scientists have a list of seven myths to watch for.

Among the myths:  Setting realistic goals. The researchers say people who dream big can be motivated to lose some weight, even if it’s not all they expected.  Another: Slow but steady is more effective than fast. The scientists say you can lose weight rapidly, but they caution against an unhealthy crash diet.

So what does work? At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, David Allison says it’s pretty basic:

“You’ve just got to reduce energy intake and/or increase energy expenditure through largely physical activity and exercise.”

The report in the New England Journal of Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 25, 2013