Details

Thinking in Circles About Obesity


Thinking in Circles About Obesity

Applying Systems Thinking to Weight Management

von: Tarek K. A. Hamid

29,99 €

Verlag: Copernicus
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 22.09.2009
ISBN/EAN: 9780387094694
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 468

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Beschreibungen

Today’s children may well become the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will be shorter than that of their parents. The culprit, public health experts agree, is obesity and its associated health problems. Heretofore, the strategy to slow obesity’s galloping pace has been driven by what the philosopher Karl Popper calls ‘‘the bucket theory of the mind. ’’ When minds are seen as containers and public understanding is viewed as being a function of how many scientific facts are known, the focus is naturally on how many scientific facts public minds contain. But the strategy has not worked. Despite all the diet books, the wide availability of reduced-calorie and reduced-fat foods, and the broad publicity about the obesity problem, America’s waistline continues to expand. It will take more than food pyramid images or a new nutritional guideline to stem obesity’s escalation. Albert Einstein once observed that the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them, and that we would have to shift to a new level, a deeper level of thinking,tosolvethem. Thisbookarguesfor,andpresents,adifferent perspective for thinking about and addressing the obesity problem: a systems thinking perspective. While already commonplace in engineering and in business, the use of systems thinking in personal health is less widely adopted. Yet this is precisely the setting where complexities are most problematicandwherethestakesarehighest.
This book unites systems thinking and information technology to offer powerful insights and practical strategies to combat obesity. It applies creative, business-tested techniques to personal health, presenting a novel approach to addressing obesity.
Today’s children may well become the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will be shorter than that of their parents. The culprit, public health experts agree, is obesity and its associated health problems. Heretofore, the strategy to slow obesity’s galloping pace has been driven by what the philosopher Karl Popper calls ‘‘the bucket theory of the mind. ’’ When minds are seen as containers and public understanding is viewed as being a function of how many scientific facts are known, the focus is naturally on how many scientific facts public minds contain. But the strategy has not worked. Despite all the diet books, the wide availability of reduced-calorie and reduced-fat foods, and the broad publicity about the obesity problem, America’s waistline continues to expand. It will take more than food pyramid images or a new nutritional guideline to stem obesity’s escalation. Albert Einstein once observed that the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them, and that we would have to shift to a new level, a deeper level of thinking,tosolvethem. Thisbookarguesfor,andpresents,adifferent perspective for thinking about and addressing the obesity problem: a systems thinking perspective. While already commonplace in engineering and in business, the use of systems thinking in personal health is less widely adopted. Yet this is precisely the setting where complexities are most problematicandwherethestakesarehighest.
Part I: Mismanaging the Obesity Threat
1. Like Boiled Frogs

Part II: How We Changed Our Environment …And Now Our Environment Is Changing Us
2. Unbalanced Act
3. Human-Environment Interactions: Not One Way… and Not One-Way
4. Tilting the Energy Balance: More Energy In
5. Tilting the Energy Balance: Less Energy Out
6. Individual Differences
7. Is Ad-Lib Behavior Killing Us?

Part III: We Can’t Manage What We Don’t Understand
8. The Energy Balance Equation: Reigning Intellectual Paradigm or
Straitjacket?
9. What We Know That Ain’t So
10. Closing the Loops on Energy Balance: Energy Output Side
11. Closing the Loops on Energy Balance: Energy Input Side
12. Beyond Physiology: Closing the Behavior-Physiology Loop
13. Looking Back… Looking Forward

Part IV: We Can’t Manage What We Mis-Predict
14. Learning by Doing
15. Give Us the tools, and We Will Finish the Job
16. A Microworld for Weight and Energy Regulation
17. Experiment 1: Assessing Weight Loss—Reality versus Fiction
18. Experiment 2: Going Ballistic—on a Diet
19. Experiment 3: Understanding Why 250 lbs [doesn't equal] 250 lbs
20. Experiment 4: Trading Treatment Options—Diet versus Exercise
21. PHDs for the Masses? (That’s Personal Health Decision support)

Part V: Prevention… And Beyond
22. The Fat Lady... Models
23. The Third Path: Prevention
24. Location, Location, Location: Places to Intervene in Systems
25. It will Take More than Food Pyramids
26. MICROWORLDS R US
27. Beyond Prevention
Dr. Tarek K.A. Hamid is a trained system dynamicist (with a PhD from MIT, and a winner of the Forrester award for his first book). He has been a Professor of System Dynamics at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, CA since 1986, where he was awarded the Naval Postgraduate School's Faculty Performance Award, in recognition of meritorious faculty performance in both research and teaching.




In the mid 1990s he became extremely interested in the confluence of information and medical technologies, and saw it as one of the most promising new frontiers for system dynamics research and public policy. But he had a lot for me to learn. So, in 1997, he took an open-ended leave-of-absence and enrolled in the Master's Program at Stanford's Engineering Economic Systems & OR Dept., where he focused on decision analysis and medical decision-making. (Returning to become a master student, while already holding a PhD was certainly a "weird" experience—for him, and for his professors—but it was a lot of fun.) It was during his studies at Stanford that he began to see the natural fit between the obesity problem (as a dynamic system of energy regulation) and system dynamics. (Research was revealing that human bioenergetics belongs to the class of multi-loop nonlinear feedback systems—the same class of system that system dynamics aims to study.)



Upon graduation, he spent a year (1999-2000) as an affiliate at Stanford’s Medical Informatics Department (part of Stanford’s Medical School), where he worked on developing system dynamics models of human physiology and metabolism. In December 2001, he returned to his faculty position at the Naval Postgraduate School where he continues his research on medical decision making and modeling of human metabolism and energy regulation.




When not teaching or writing, Tarek is usually on the water. With his wife, Nadia, won first place in the 1999 San Francisco to Santa Barbara Yacht Race (Cruise Division) on their traditional Alden 45 sloop.


Thinking in Circles about Obesity: Applying Systems Thinking to Weight Management

Tarek K.A. Hamid, Operational and Information Sciences, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

Low-carb…low-fat…high-protein…high-fiber…Americans are food-savvy, label-conscious, calorie-aware—and still gaining weight in spite of all their good intentions. Worse still, today’s children run the risk of a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Thinking in Circles About Obesity brings a healthy portion of critical thinking, spiced with on-target humor and lively graphics, to the obesity debate. Systems and medical physiology scholar Tarek Hamid unites systems (non-linear) thinking and information technology to provide powerful insights and practical strategies for managing our weight and our health. Hamid’s clear insights dispel dieters’ unrealistic expectations and illuminate dead-end behaviors to tap into a deeper understanding of how the body works, why it works that way, and how to better manage it. Included are innovative tools for:
• Understanding why diets almost always fall short of our expectations.
• Assessing weight gain, loss, and goals with greater accuracy.
• Abandoning one-size-fits-all solutions in lieu of personal solutions that do fit.
• Replacing outmoded linear thinking with feedback systems thinking.
• Getting the most health benefits from information technology.
•Making behavior and physiology work in sync instead of in opposition.

Given the current level of the weight crisis, the ideas in Thinking in Circles About Obesity have much to offer clinical and health psychologists, primary care physicians, public health professionals, parents, and lay readers. For those struggling with excess weight, this book charts a new path in health decision making, to see beyond calorie charts, body mass indexes, and silver bullets.
Written in an engaging, lively, accessible style yet manages to convey a great deal of information about the "basic science" of weight loss at a level suitable for professionals or educated lay readers
Particularly appropriate for schools and businesses (structured environments that are well suited and motivated to leverage prevention models to contain escalating health costs) and public policy organizations (seeking to move beyond the bankrupt mass-communications model of prevention to a customized knowledge restructuring model)
Novel approach to addressing the obesity problem, should also appeal to health care professionals and the diet/weight-loss industry

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