Many widely held beliefs about weight loss don't stand up to scientific scrutiny, say doctors who want to set the public health record straight on myths like the calorie-burning benefits of sex or the value of eating breakfast. In Wednesday's online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. doctors tackle seven obesity-related myths commonly found in the media and material from government agencies as well as six presumptions thought to be true despite a lack of convincing evidence. The myths were: Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes. Setting realistic goals in obesity treatment is important, because otherwise patients will become frustrated and lose less weight. Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight outcomes than is slow, gradual weight loss. Assessing the stage of change of diet readiness is important in helping patients who seek weight-loss treatment. Physical-education classes in their current format play an important role in preventing or reducing childhood obesity. Breastfeeding is protective against obesity. A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 calories for each person involved.
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