I would like to start by thanking all of you for reading this blog and I hope you will continue to check back to see what is going on in the world of obesity research from my point of view. 2014 was a very exciting year, with some very interesting developments, not least in the area of stress and psychosocial factors in weight gain. Hopefully 2015 can continue along this path.
As promised, here is a (light-hearted) list of predictions of some things that I expect to happen this coming year:
– There will be an increased focus on other factors than calories as drivers of weight gain, since more and more people realize that the run-more-eat-less-stretegy is not getting us very far in the vast majority of cases, particularly for weight loss maintenance where the results from new trials will continue to be disappointing.
– There will be added focus on the quality of food, as opposed to the old fat/protein/carbs macronutrients debate, when it comes to weight gain. This also includes things like preservatives, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals that we regularly consume.
– Junk food will be under increasing scrutiny as a major driver of obesity and other diseases, and the fast food industry will face quite serious consumer pressure for greater taxation and even bans (marketing to children, for example), particularly in California and other progressive places. Politicians will find is hard to withstand this increasingly organized consumer pressure, and will finally start act after years/decades of inertia.
– More and more studies will confirm the very powerful role of stress in weight gain and obesity, particularly when it interacts with junk food and poverty.
– The powerful role of negative thoughts and emotions in weight gain and obesity will gain traction, particularly in chronic dieters who will become more and more fed up with diets, and instead want a lasting solution to their weight problems.
– Techniques such as yoga, mindfulness and different types of therapy will increasingly be seen as interesting additions to more traditional weight loss programs.
– There will be an increased realization that all patents are unique and will therefore require unique treatment programs that more directly target the underlying causes of their weight gain, whatever they may be.
– There will be an increased and much welcome focus on prevention of obesity, especially for children in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and there will finally be some much-needed boost in the funding of such programs, particularly in the US, UK and the wealthy gulf states where the problems are quite severe. Asia will also take obesity prevention very seriously given the strong association with diabetes in these areas.
– The food industry will continue to have problems with credibility due to more and more scandals. People will become fed up with food industry shenanigans and the movement to grow you own will really take off.
– Given the extremely high cost of obesity, there will finally be a much needed funding boost for applied obesity research as opposed to basic obesity research, including studies on childhood obesity prevention and obesity etiology.
– Instead of only blaming the individual for obesity, there will be an increased focus on the environment as the main driver of obesity.
Well, that’s it for this year. I hope you have a Happy New Year, and see you in 2015!