Archive | July, 2012

How the Youth Got Their Voice Back

26 Jul

Sorry everyone, I’ve been slammed with the International AIDS Conference these past few weeks and I haven’t had a chance to post, but I’ll make sure I post some more next week.  In the meantime some of you might be interested in my non-profit’s blog coverage of the AIDS2012 conference.  This is the first time in 20 years that the conference has returned to U.S. soil, so it’s a pretty big deal.

Specifically, you can see yours truly’s new piece about the youth movement within the HIV/AIDS movement.  GO CHECK IT OUT: http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/how-the-youth-got-their-voice-back/

There’s also a super short video to go with it.  I also want to take the moment to plug my organization, CSIS’ Global Health Policy Center’s website: www.smartglobalhealth.org in general, we’ve got lots of great videos and public health briefs covering every global health disease you could ever imagine!  You won’t regret it, I promise!

Till next time, keep sweating kids!

Coach Lindsey

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The Weight-Loss Drug You Really Don’t Need

3 Jul

Are those pills really helping you see a change? Or is it the diet and exercise?

Don’t run to your doctor and demand a prescription just yet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved a new weight-loss drug, Lorcacerin, its first in more than a decade. But what exactly does this mean for those dreaming of a smaller body? Is it really it? Let’s find out…

You’ve heard me say it before, but I’m going to say it again. There is no such thing as a magical pill, you can use pills to supplement weight loss, key work supplement. You have to stick to a health, low-cal diet and exercise religiously to see strong, long-term weight loss.

Lorcacerin, or Belviq as it will be marketed as, helps to curb the signal your stomach sends to your brain to say “I’m hungry! Feed me!” The drug is approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over – which indicates obesity – or overweight individuals (BMI of 27 or greater) who have at least one weight-related health problem such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.

The FDA cited multiple studies totaling approximately 8,000 overweight and obese patients were treated for a year with the drug or a placebo, along with exercise and diet counseling. The studies found that patients lost about 3-3.7% of their body weight on average over the year. Doesn’t seem like much of a magic pill does it? Let’s do the math shall we?

Let’s say a female is 5’5″ and weighs 200 lbs. that puts her at a BMI of 33.3, squarely in the obese category. So her doctor puts her on this pill and she sort of keeps to the diet and exercise plans. A year later, she’s lost on the high end of the average, or 3.7% of her body weight. That means in a year she got down to 192.6 lbs or 7.4 lbs of weight loss. HUH? That means in she lost about .11 lbs per week. Even is we pretend she’s one of the 47% without Type 2 who lost 5% of her body weight that still only translates into 10 lbs in a year.

I understand why the FDA approved it, the tests show that it was somewhat effective with minimal side effects (migraines, depression, and memory lapses, you know the usual!), but what I won’t get is if doctors actually prescribe this nonsense! Why would you take yet another pill to go with the rest of your cocktail, when exercise and diet work better?

I hate to break it to you (again), but there is no such thing as a MAGIC PILL! (sorry)

Let’s be honest here, losing weight is HARD WORK! There’s no easy fix, it’s going to take blood, sweat, and tears, but it is still the most effective form of weight loss. I don’t understand why you’d shell out more in co-pay fees and doctors visits for a pill that only results in 3.7% of weight loss over the course of the year, if you’re lucky. The FDA advises that you quit the drug after 3 months, if you don’t see any weight loss.

Maybe there is a real medical use for this drug, but many who are overweight suffer from emotional eating and this pill cannot block that signal. That ones in your head boys and girls. My advice? Save the money you’d save on ridiculous co-pays for a drug that, in my opinion, only sort of works, and instead get some killer gym clothes and buy organic produce.

What do you think about the new drug?

Keep on sweating!

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