Media reaction to our maintain, don’t gain study

Here’s a collection of recent media responses to the release of our new study on the “maintain, don’t gain” obesity treatment approach.


NBC News: Study offers new way to diet: Just don’t gain

Duke Today: Maintain, Don’t Gain: A New Way To Fight Obesity

Medpage Today: Weight Control, Not Loss, Is Winning Strategy



Huffington Post: New Approach For Black Women’s Battle Against Obesity: ‘Maintain, Don’t Gain …

Fox News: Program may help black women avoid weight gain

Medscape: Behavioral Intervention Prevents Weight Gain in Black Women

LA Times: For black women, weight maintenance may be the best goal

U.S. News & World Report: Maintain, Don’t Gain’ May Work Best for Obese Black Women

The Grio: Focusing on weight loss may not be effective

Medical News Today: Weight control not weight loss strategy works better

Everyday Health: Maintain Weight Instead of Trying to Lose, Study of Black Women Suggests

WUNC: For African American Women, Maintaining Weight Is More Practical …

UPI: Researchers urge: ‘Maintain, don’t gain,’ weight

HHS HealthBeat: Maintain, don’t gain

BET: Should Black Women Focus on Maintaining Weight for Better Health?

Women’s Health Mag: The New Weight-Loss Strategy: Just Don’t Gain Weight

Reuters: Program may help black women avoid weight gain

Science Daily: Intervention Appears Effective to Prevent Weight Gain Among Disadvantaged Women

Healio: Shape Program effective for obese postmenopausal black women 







You don’t know what you want

I think Jobs was right.

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

– Steve Jobs

I think about Jobs a lot when preparing to do focus groups in advance of developing a new intervention. We spend a lot of time asking users what they want to read, what they want to see, and how they’ll react to certain messages. This is another way in which the research community has adopted conventions that are quite unlike what you see in the industry. Focus groups are rapidly becoming a thing of the past as designers realize that creativity (and not resurvey questions) are the best way to appeal to users.

The genius of Apple is that its designers often imagine what we want  — without us knowing about it. I remember the first time that I pinched to zoom. I would never have been able to imagine a need for such a feature, let alone been able to articulate it. But, almost immediately, pinching became part of my muscle memory. It’s so intuitive that my 2 year old picked up the motion without instruction.

This all makes me wonder whether our time could be better spent designing, creating, and innovating as opposed to responding to the expressed needs of people who — like me — probably won’t know what they want until they see it.

Researchers: use thine own apps

Really sage insight from Dave Winer:

You only learn where a product needs improvement through serious long-term use…

This was a secret of mine, because most of my competitors not only didn’t listen to their users, but they didn’t even use their own products. If you want to make great products, never mind the degree in finance or marketing, though those skills are certainly important to running a business. Be both a user and a developer. That way you understand users, and you can make their dreams come true, because they are your dreams too. The reward for that is success.

I’ve often found it surprising that most researchers don’t actually spend very much time with their interventions. That’s a real problem. If we don’t use them, why do we expect that others will?


A simple way to improve your diet?

Really nice basic behavioral research study showing that posting simple messages within eyeshot (e.g., on menus, doors of businesses, menu boards) can positively change eating behaviors.

Interesting summary from Science Daily:

This technique has great potential as an intervention to help weight control — it is unobtrusive, easy to implement and low in cost making it attractive to policy makers.

(Oh, how I wish policy makers paid attention to research findings…) In the meantime, the dissemination question is how to develop priming messages that influence eating behaviors and appeal to business owners. Figure out how to shift eating behaviors to more healthful, higher margin foods and you may have something.