Letters to the Editor

Reduce caloric intake for most efficient results

A recent editorial from The (Rock Hill) Herald suggested that the primary cause of obesity is the sedentary nature of today's jobs and that switching to more exercise-related jobs would help.

That might be, but the bigger problem is the intake of calories.

Look at the screen on a treadmill as you exercise. You are doing a lot of exercise to burn a few calories. For example, a 130-pound person burns fewer than 500 calories while running 5 miles in an hour. Not many of us can run for an hour at 5 mph. If I eat a typical snack, I would have to run for 30 minutes to burn off those calories. It is much more efficient to cut calories.

Theoretically, if you cut out 3,500 calories a week (500 a day), you will lose one pound, and this doesn't factor in exercise. Thus, the easier thing to do is to reduce calories.

It's not just reduced job exercise in today's society, but such easy access to fast foods. We are eating more than we realize.

Treating obesity is one of the most difficult jobs a physician has, mainly because people aren't willing to stick to a reduced-calorie and exercise program for a prolonged period.

We aren't going to solve this problem until we better understand the genetics of its cause, what genes control the satiety center in the brain and how we can suppress the hunger that so strongly motivates us to want to eat.

Dr. Al Strickland

St. Helena Island

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