Doctors React to the Claim That Going to the Gym May Do Nothing for Weight Loss
“The idea that the way to lose weight is through diet and exercise is ingrained in our society. But an article in last week's Time magazine created a buzz in the blogosphere by questioning the value of the exercise part of the weight-loss formula. Doctors who treat overweight and obese patients were not pleased -- even if there was evidence to support the claim. ‘Yes, we have a magic drug for cholesterol, we have magic drugs for high blood pressure, but we don't have a magic pill for weight,’ said Dr. Martha Gulati, associate director of the Women's Heart Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. ‘To bring out a public health message that we should not exercise? That's absolutely the wrong message,’ Gulati said. ‘No matter how much exercise you do or don't do, your diet matters -- it's extremely easy to eat back more calories than you burn,’ said Dr. David Katz, "Good Morning America" medical contributor and director of the Yale University of Prevention Research Center. But Katz said the ‘ah ha, exercise is not good for weight loss’ idea troubles him and many other doctors who counsel people trying to lose weight. ‘What do people care about? Do they simply care about their dress size or do they care about their health?’ Katz said. ‘If you care about your health, exercise is your best friend.’ Katz pointed out that three behaviors -- not smoking, exercising and eating right -- have ‘a massive influence on your medical destiny.’ If people care only about losing weight, Katz quipped, ‘Why don't you just infect yourself with cholera? It would work for weight loss.’ Katz and many others who treat obesity agree exercise must not be ignored because of its importance for overall health, even if it doesn't make as big of an impact on the scale as people believe..."