## Thursday, May 31, 2012

### How Math Can You Help You Lose Weight and Reduce National Obesity Rate

Do you know what a mathematician finds out to solve the obesity problem?
Dr. Carson Chow is an MIT-trained mathematician and physicist. He was a faculty of the math department at the University of Pittisburgh. Recently he works for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease – a branch of the National Institutes of Health. He’s in charge of a project trying to figure out why 2 in 3 Americans are overweight, 1 in 3 are obese.
Consider the facts:
- Between 1975 and 2005, the average weight of Americans had increased by about 20 pounds.
- Since the 1970s, the national obesity rate had jumped from around 20 percent to over 30 percent.
- The levels of physical activity have not really changes in the past 30 years.
After crunching large volume of numbers, he finally developed a mathematical model to answer a host of questions about weight loss. The mathematical equation says:
- The conventional widsom of 3500 calories less is what it takes to lose a pound of weight is wrong! It’s not a constant as your body changes when you lose weight.
- The fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight.
- If you eat 100 calories fewer a day, you will lose 10 pounds on the average in 3 years – if you don’t cheat.
- Large variations in daily food intake will not cause variation in weight as long as the average food intake over a year is about the same, because your body responds slowly to food intake.
- All diets work. But the reaction time is really slow, on the order of a year. Most people aren’t patient and wait long enough to see what they’re doing to stabilize their weight.
His conclusion?
Overproduction of food in the United States.
Since the 1970s, the government changed agricultural policy to promote farming to full production. The price of foods went down and the number of calories available to the average American increased by about 1000 a day!
Well, what do think people do with that extra 1000 calories? They eat it, of course. If you know that Americans are already wasting a lot of foods, obesity would be even worse if they eat them all.
Take-away Message
Watch what you eat and how much you eat and when.
If you’re interested in learning how to use the mathematician’s equation, go to NIH site below for the Body Weight Simulator.