Top Weight Loss Site

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The 95% Myth

How many times do you read "95% of all diets fail"?

That statement has become part of weight loss lore, and is the opening line for many a sales pitch. However each time I read the statistic it bothers me. Where is it from? Who said so? Is it a lie?

All evidence points to a very small study undertaken in 1959 by Dr. Albert Stunkard and Mavis McLaren-Hume. 100 patients were treated for obesity at a nutrition clinic at New York Hospital. Dr. Stunkard is quoted as saying:

The 100 patients in the study were "just given a diet and sent on their way," he said. "That was state of the art in 1959," he added. "I've been sort of surprised that people keep citing it; I know we do better these days."

So there it is - a forty year old study of just 100 people. I don't believe that diets fail - however I do believe that the concept of "dieting" is faulty. Eating plans can be effective methods of losing weight, provided they are undertaken with consistency, dedication, appropriate support - and combined with physical activity.

It's time to lay the 95% rule to rest.

References: NYTimes 1999, original study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine 103(1):79-85.

No comments: