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Keeping Off The Fat

It’s the big New Year’s resolution: slim down and shape up. So, why is it so hard? We’ll look at the science.

In this May 23, 2011 photo, joggers make their way down Santa Monica Bike Path, in Santa Monica, Calif. Despite all the “Biggest Loser” type shows, all the pounds shed on those shows and all the weight-loss products purchased by viewers at home, America continues to be the Biggest Gainer. (AP)

In this May 23, 2011 photo, joggers make their way down Santa Monica Bike Path, in Santa Monica, Calif. Despite all the “Biggest Loser” type shows, all the pounds shed on those shows and all the weight-loss products purchased by viewers at home, America continues to be the Biggest Gainer. (AP)

Number one New Year’s resolution – to lose a little weight.  We try.  We yearn.  We bust our humps to shed a few pounds.  And then they come right back.  Maybe in a month.  Maybe in a year.  But there they are.  Like a bad dream.

If it sometimes feels like your body is conspiring against you to grab back the fat, you are exactly right.  It is.  You lose it, and the body kicks in to battle back.  Hormones.  Metabolism.  Chemicals in your brain.  Ravenous to regain the weight.

This hour, On Point:  the science behind the battle of the bulge, and what it takes to win.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Tara Parker-Pope, the creator and writer of “Well,” a daily health blog and weekly column for The New York Times. Her cover story in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine was “The Fat Trap.”

Rudolph Leibel, is professor of diabetes research and professor of pediatrics and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Researchers know that obesity tends to run in families, and recent science suggests that even the desire to eat higher-calorie foods may be influenced by heredity. But untangling how much is genetic and how much is learned through family eating habits is difficult. What is clear is that some people appear to be prone to accumulating extra fat while others seem to be protected against it.”

Denver Science News Examiner “For years scientists and health care professionals have warned of the dangers of smoking, and tobacco use is still a major contributor to early mortality. But new research shows that it is is obesity that now causes even more fatal disease.”

The Atlantic “By 2015, four out of 10 Americans may be obese. Until last year, the author was one of them. The way he lost one-third of his weight isn’t for everyone. But unless America stops cheering The Biggest Loser and starts getting serious about preventing obesity, the country risks being overwhelmed by chronic disease and ballooning health costs.”

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