Obesity Fact #5: There is No Cure For ObesityMonday, February 25, 2013
Obesity Fact #5 in the New England Journal of Medicine paper on obesity myths, presumptions and facts, essentially boils down to the simple fact that we currently have no cure for obesity (not really news to regular readers of these pages).
Thus, as anyone, who has ever lost weight and is keeping it off, is well aware that,
“Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss promotes maintenance of lower weight”
The corollary to this is that, discontinuation of whatever treatment resulted in weight loss (and yes, behaviour change is “treatment”), will result in weight regain.
It is this basic fact about obesity that leads to the basic principle that,
“Obesity is best conceptualized as a chronic condition, requiring ongoing management to maintain long-term weight loss.”
This statement obviously has profound implications not just for people living with excess weight – who will require long-term (if not life-long) strategies to deal with their weight – but also for health systems, which have to provide obesity treatments within the framework of chronic disease management programs.
Therein lies the challenge for every health system on the planet – irrespective of whether or not these health systems eventually find effective means to prevent obesity, there are currently millions of people living with obesity, who need treatment.
Unfortunately, the treatments we have are limited and even the few treatments that we do have are not readily accessible to most.
As I often say, even running for the cure won’t cure your obesity. Unfortunately, you’ll have to keep running to keep the weight off.