Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 15, 2013

Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity. N Engl J Med 2013; 368:446-454 January 31, 2013 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1208051

“Passionate interests, the human tendency to seek explanations for observed phenomena, and everyday experience appear to contribute to strong convictions about obesity, despite the absence of supporting data. When the public, mass media, government agencies, and even academic scientists espouse unsupported beliefs, the result may be ineffective policy, unhelpful or unsafe clinical and public health recommendations, and an unproductive allocation of resources. In this article, we review some common beliefs about obesity that are not supported by scientific evidence and also provide some useful evidence-based concepts. We define myths as beliefs held to be true despite substantial refuting evidence, presumptions as beliefs held to be true for which convincing evidence does not yet confirm or disprove their truth, and facts as propositions backed by sufficient evidence to consider them empirically proved for practical purposes.”

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