Weighing the Options: Criteria for Evaluating Weight-Management Programs

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Paul R. Thomas
National Academies, Mar 1, 1995 - Medical - 282 pages
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Nearly one out of every three adults in America is obese and tens of millions of people in the United States are dieting at any one time. This has resulted in a weight-loss industry worth billions of dollars a year and growing. What are the long-term results of weight-loss programs? How can people sort through the many programs available and select one that is right for them? Weighing the Options strives to answer these questions. Despite widespread public concern about weight, few studies have examined the long-term results of weight-loss programs. One reason that evaluating obesity management is difficult is that no other treatment depends so much on an individual's own initiative and state of mind.
Now, a distinguished group of experts assembled by the Institute of Medicine addresses this compelling issue. Weighing the Options presents criteria for evaluating treatment programs for obesity and explores what these criteria mean--to health care providers, program designers, researchers, and even overweight people seeking help.
In presenting its criteria the authors offer a wealth of information about weight loss: how obesity is on the rise, what types of weight-loss programs are available, how to define obesity, how well we maintain weight loss, and what approaches and practices appear to be most successful.
Information about weight-loss programs--their clients, staff qualifications, services, and success rates--necessary to make wise program choices is discussed in detail.
The book examines how client demographics and characteristics--including health status, knowledge of weight-loss issues, and attitude toward weight and body image--affect which programs clients choose, how successful they are likely to be with their choices, and what this means for outcome measurement. Short- and long-term safety consequences of weight loss are discussed as well as clinical assessment of individual patients.
The authors document the health risks of being overweight, summarizing data indicating that even a small weight loss reduces the risk of disease and depression and increases self-esteem. At the same time, weight loss has been associated with some poor outcomes, and the book discusses the implications for program evaluation.
Prevention can be even more important than treatment. In Weighing the Options, programs for population groups, efforts targeted to specific groups at high risk for obesity, and prevention of further weight gain in obese individuals get special attention.
This book provides detailed guidance on how the weight-loss industry can improve its programs to help people be more successful at long-term weight loss. And it provides consumers with tips on selecting a program that will improve their chances of permanently losing excess weight.
 

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About the author (1995)

STEPHEN A. THOMAS is Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Engineering for TransNexus, a company developing Internet telephony products. He has over a decade of experience working on TCP/IP and Internet technologies, including helping to create some of the TCP/IP standards. His last book, IPng and the TCP/IP Protocols: Implementing the Next Generation Internet (Wiley), is widely recognized as the network manager's best reference on the future of IP networking. SUE PLUMLEY is founder of Humble Opinions, a consulting group specializing in Novell and Microsoft networks. She has written and coauthored numerous books on software and operating systems.

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