Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Toronto Mayor's Public Diet a Public Health Disaster

And no surprise either.


Because the Mayor did what so many out there do - he embarked on a traumatic diet.

For those who aren't in the know, back in January the Toronto Mayor and his brother publicly vowed to lose 50lbs by June. Their strategy according to the Mayor,
"Running a lot, lifting weights and eating like a rabbit."
Translation? A mindless eat-less-move-more plan.

The Mayor dropped 10lbs in his first week. Over the course of the next 11, he's down 9.

So where's the disaster?

9lbs in 11 weeks for a public figure who undoubtedly has a great many working meals and more stress than most folks sounds pretty good to me. I'd also guess that it's very possible the Mayor has medical problems that could complicate his efforts.

For all of those reasons, had he been a patient of mine, I'd probably have been aiming him at about 1-1.5lbs per week, which is pretty much bang on what he's averaged, so no disaster there.

The disaster's in the reporting - his, and the media's.

He's reporting weight management as sacrificial. As a struggle. As a fight.

The media's reporting his lack of more profound loss as an implied failure.

And so what's the public to learn? That success means suffering, willpower and crazy amounts of sweat, and that reasonable, small losses stink.

Those messages?

They're the public health disaster.