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Diabetes

Social Network Analysis of the Obesity Research Boot Camp

Posted October 24, 2014 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

Regular readers may recall that for the past nine years, I have had the privilege and pleasure of serving as faculty of the Canadian Obesity Network’s annual Obesity Research Summer Bootcamp. The camp is open to a select group of graduate and post-graduate trainees from a wide range of disciplines with an interest in obesity research. […]

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Discrimination

Guest Post: My Weight Is Not Measured In Pounds

Posted October 23, 2014 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

Today’s guest post comes from Andrea Matthes, a Certified Personal Trainer and blogger, who I met at the annual meeting of the Obesity Action Coalition in Orlando – the post speaks for itself. I recently attended the Obesity Action Coalition’s annual Your Weight Matters Convention and got the opportunity to hear Dr. Sharma’s keynote presentation […]

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Discrimination

The Cultural Drivers and Context of Obesity

Posted October 21, 2014 by Arya M. Sharma, MD

In my continuing review of not too recent publications on obesity, I found this one by Hortense Powdermaker, Professor of Anthropology, Queens College, Flushing, New York, published in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1960. The following quotes could all have been written last week: “We eat too much. We have too […]

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Exercise

Community Races Shouldn’t Promote Unhealthy Eating Practices

Posted October 8, 2014 by Yoni Freedhoff

This past weekend my family and I continued our longstanding tradition of participating in CIBC’s Run for the Cure (not to be confused with Komen’s – a different beast altogether, though also in support of breast cancer research). We love it because it’s a very accessible race for kids with lots of excitement, huge crowds with fun costumes, and a 1km option for little legs. Participating and learning about the race helps my children to learn about charity, community spirit, fundraising, and active living.

But it also teaches them that doing a teeny tiny bit of exercise warrants being fed, as the food tent is just steps from the finish line and loudspeakers (and food) beckon their visitations.

The fact of the matter is that neither a 1km nor a 5km run require any refuelling whatsoever as our bodies have more than sufficient supplies of fuel to get us through such short durations and distances. The myth that exercise warrants or deserves a food reward is part of our broken societal approach to food as a whole and may well be a contributor to the fact that despite the laws of thermodynamics suggesting they should do otherwise, exercise only interventions meant to address weight tend to fail miserably in part because we’ve been taught (and do) to eat “because we exercised“.

And what of the food in the food tent? Well no doubt in large part due to our ridiculous national Food Guide that still lists juice as a fruit serving, there were post-breakfast (the race began at 9:30am) large cans of juice containing nearly 200 calories and 10 teaspoons of free sugar. There were also 260 calorie bagels with an additional 1.5 teaspoons of free sugar, bananas, and if you were lucky enough to get there first and were so inclined, they also had a few bottles of water (compare and contrast the bottled water availability to the boxes of juice cans in the photo up above that I took from the end of the table).

Of course this isn’t unique to the Run for the Cure, but true of most short duration/distance community races (both charitable and not) that I’ve run. Given the organizations involved are deeply invested in improving health, either through charity or through fitness, their food offerings are an unwelcome contradiction of their aims.

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Exercise

LOVE This New Boston Program, But It’s Not Going to Prevent or Treat Obesity

Posted October 1, 2014 by Yoni Freedhoff

It’s called “Prescribe-a-Bike” and I love everything about it except one thing.

I love that it has MDs prescribing exercise to patients.

I love that it helps to provide affordable transportation to low income Bostonians (with an MD’s Rx the normally $85 bike share membership cost is dropped to $5 and a free helmet is provided).

I love that it will improve the health of its riders.

I don’t love the fact that Boston Medical Center President and CEO Kate Walsh promoted the program by suggesting the bike share will help to combat obesity as you’ll no sooner out-ride your fork than out-run it, and perpetuating the myth that you can forestalls both individual and societal efforts at targeting our godawful diets.

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