Casazza, Krista2; Brown, Andrew3; Astrup, Arne22; Bertz, Fredrik5; Baum, Charles6; Bohan Brown, Michelle2; Dawson, John7; Durant, Nefertiti8; Dutton, Gareth9; Fields, David A10; Fontaine, Kevin R11; Heymsfield, Steven12; Levitsky, David13; Mehta, Tapan14; Menachemi, Nir15; Newby, P. K.16; Pate, Russell17; Raynor, Hollie18; Rolls, Barbara J19; Sen, Bisakha15; Smith, Daniel L2; Thomas, Diana20; Wansink, Brian21; Allison, David B3
1 Obesity Research, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham3 The School of Public Health, Office of Energetics, Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham4 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet5 College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York6 Department of Economics, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee7 Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham8 Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham9 Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham10 Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma11 Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham12 Pennington Biomedical Institute, George A. Bray, Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition, Metabolism-Body Composition, Baton Rouge, Louisiana13 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen14 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama15 Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham16 The Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, Program in Graduate Medical Nutrition Sciences, and Program in Gastronomy, Culinary Arts, and Wine Studies, Boston University, Boston17 Children's Physical Activity Research Group, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia18 Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee19 Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennyslvania20 Center for Quantitative Obesity Research, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey21 Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York22 Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Abstract Obesity is a topic on which many views are strongly held in the absence of scientific evidence to support those views, and some views are strongly held despite evidence to contradict those views. We refer to the former as "presumptions" and the latter as "myths". Here we present nine myths and ten presumptions surrounding the effects of rapid weight loss; setting realistic goals in weight loss therapy; stage of change or readiness to lose weight; physical education classes; breast-feeding; daily self-weighing; genetic contribution to obesity; the "Freshman 15"; food deserts; regularly eating (versus skipping) breakfast; eating close to bedtime; eating more fruits and vegetables; weight cycling (i.e. yo-yo dieting); snacking; built environment; reducing screen time in childhood obesity; portion size; participation in family mealtime; and drinking water as a means of weight-loss. For each of these, we describe the belief and present evidence that the belief is widely held or stated, reasons to support the conjecture that the belief might be true, evidence to directly support or refute the belief, and findings from randomized controlled trials, if available. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these determinations, conjecture on why so many myths and presumptions exist, and suggestions for limiting the spread of these and other unsubstantiated beliefs about obesity domain.
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2015, Vol 55, Issue 14, p. 2014-2053