Monday, August 13, 2007

Public health expert backs my view on weight loss

Dr. med Francois van der Linde
I have asked Dr. François van der Linde, former Public Health Officer of the Swiss canton St. Gall, to comment on my post «The day when I stopped to believe in weight loss». This is what he just told me in a phone call.

He shares my view that the war on obesity may do more harm than good. He strongly warns against making public recommendations on nutrition and weight loss without a firm scientific base. We know too little about the real causes of the so called «overweight epidemic» to do so. He also is not convinced that the limit of body mass index 25, where overweight officially begins, makes sense, at least not for the general population. Advice on nutrition and body weight management should always be aimed at individual persons and not at the general population.

On the other hand, he warns me against falling into the other extreme and ignore negative health effects that still may be linked to obesity. This is exactly my own view, I replied: I am not going to fall from one religion to another. Rather I have turned from believer to agnostic, and I am going to have a special focus on studies that may show possible direct negative health effects of body fat as such.

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