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We’ve all seen those advertisements lurking on the sides of websites: “Eat this one food to lose weight fast!”  “Lose your belly fat by eating this [weird] fruit!” “The one food that ruins your diet and shortens your life!” The implication is that there’s one secret food that we can eat – or not eat – that will magically cure -- or cause -- all of our health problems.

 
 
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by Emily Oken, MD, MPH

As I write this post, I am walking on my ‘TreadDesk’.  For those who might not have heard about such a thing, treadmill desks are slow treadmills that are designed to fit underneath a standing desk, to allow you to walk while you work.  Their recent surge in popularity is likely due to growing evidence that sedentary time, i.e. time spent sitting, is a strong predictor of higher risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality.  Interventions to improve physical activity via walking have been shown to result in improvements in a number of cardiovascular risk factors, including lower blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, waist circumference, and body mass index (for example, see this recent study).

 
 
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Whenever we submit an application for research funding, a lot of thought goes into how we will recruit people to participate in the study. However, retaining participants –  getting them to continue to participate in the study after the initial interview, survey or visit - is actually the hardest part. The successful retention of study subjects relies on many factors. A key one is the dynamic of the study team.

 
 
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by Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH


A few weeks ago in Toronto, I had the pleasure of hearing my colleague Seth Berkowitz, a talented young researcher at MGH, present a project. His presentation was clear, his research methods thoughtful and his analysis impeccable. But after his talk, rather than praise, he got push-back. Why?
Because his findings challenged a popular theory for socioeconomic differences in healthy food access, obesity and diabetes; he found that living in a food desert does not affect individuals’ control over their diabetes.

 
 
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by Paul Werth
, MA

A growing body of research has uncovered unfair treatment of overweight employees when their work performance is being evaluated. Examples include lack of fairness in hiring decisions as well as promotion, predicted success, suitability, or performance evaluations. Interactions between overweight and gender salary inequities have also been uncovered. One study by Kennedy and Homant reported that weight stigma in the workplace may be stronger than stigma towards mental illness or past felony conviction.