Thursday, September 23, 2004

Obese Women Start Diets Young

Obese Women Start Diets Young
Research Indicates that Semi-Starvation Leads to Weight Gain

BY Allison Young
Contribution Writer
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

A fat person is not necessarily a lazy person.

A recent study by Joanna Ikeda, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Weight and Health, indicated that of 149 women surveyed, all of whom are considered clinically obese, two-thirds had been on their first diet by the age of 14.

This dispels the myth that the condition of overweight people is caused by laziness and inattention to their health and appearance. In fact, those who had gone on more diets tended to have higher body mass indexes.

A person is considered obese if hisbody mass index (BMI) is 30 or above. An index of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal.

The women who participated in this survey had BMIs of 55 to 70 and ranged from 250 to 600 pounds.

“Many of these women started out at weights that were not necessarily considered overweight. By reducing their calorie intake to levels of semi-starvation, they were able to temporarily reduce their weight,” Ikeda said. “However, because your body cannot maintain itself at calorie levels below 1400, many women end up bingeing on food, returning their weight to its original level, and often, even increasing on their original size.”

This creates a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, often ultimately propelling the individual’s weight far beyond its original level.

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