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Getting the skinny on weight loss.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has weighed in on America's battle with the bulge.

"We have an epidemic of obesity in this country among both adults and children," says Judith S. Stern of the University of California, Davis. Stern chaired an IOM committee that put together a report on weight-management programs. The IOM is a sister organization of the National Academy of Sciences.

Approximately one out of three U.S. adults is considered obese, the report notes. Yet as those who have dieted can attest, losing weight for good can prove a difficult task.

The IOM offers no magical solution to excess body fat; however, it does offer some advice. The report points out that losing small amounts of weight -- just 10 to 15 percent of initial body mass -- can provide significant health benefits.

IOM recommends choosing a weight-loss program that focuses on long-term weight management. "Consumers should demand evidence of success," it adds.

The report compares popular kinds of weight-reduction programs, including do-it-yourself as well as clinical regimens that offer the combined services of physicians and dietitians, exercise physiologists, and counselors.

For some obese people, drugs may help achieve a more healthful weight, the report suggests. Yet it notes that the Food and Drug Administration has approved no new anti-obesity drugs since 1972. The IOM committee questioned the strict standards used to evaluate such drugs. "We suggest these drugs be judged effective if they can produce small but medically significant weight losses," the report says.

For severely obese people, gastric surgery may prove a reasonable option, the report notes. This procedure, which makes the stomach smaller, can result in weight loss and a reduction in weight-associated health problems.
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Title Annotation:Institute of Medicine report claims a loss of 10% to 15% of body mass can significantly improve the health of an obese person
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 24, 1994
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