Dieting is worse than useless

We often hear that most people who diet eventually gain the weight back, (and then some). In fact, a new study from UCLA concludes that most people would be better off not dieting at all.

“Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back.”

People on diets typically lose 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight in the first six months, the researchers found. However, at least one-third to two-thirds of people on diets regain more weight than they lost within four or five years, and the true number may well be significantly higher, they said.

“Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain,” said Janet Tomiyama, a UCLA graduate student of psychology and co-author of the study. One study found that both men and women who participated in formal weight-loss programs gained significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who had not participated in a weight-loss program, she said.

So if dieting is counter-productive, what’s the alternative?

“Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise,” Mann said. “That is not what we looked at in this study. Exercise may well be the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss.”

Update: A paper written by the UCLA researchers is available on their website: Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments.

Down in the Valley, middle class takes a hit

Middle Class Workers Feeling the Valley’s Squeeze

A report from Working Partnerships USA says that the median household income in Silicon Valley fell from $83,370 in 2000 to $74,293 in 2005, a drop of 10%. The poverty rate in the Valley also grew from 6.5% to 8.3%.

The Valley had 156,700 fewer jobs in Jan. 2007 than it did Jan. 2001, a 15.4 percent drop. The cost of living also increased substantially, as a family’s average cost for job-based health insurance doubled, the price of electricity grew 15 percent and the average cost for child care in Santa Clara County grew by 40 percent.

What engineer shortage?

Study: There Is No Shortage of U.S. Engineers from PhysOrg.com

A commonly heard defense in the arguments that surround U.S. companies that offshore high-tech and engineering jobs is that the U.S. math and science education system is not producing a sufficient number of engineers to fill a corporation’s needs.

However, a new study from Duke University calls this argument bunk, stating that there is no shortage of engineers in the United States, and that offshoring is all about cost savings.

“Respondents said the advantages of hiring U.S. engineers were strong communication skills, an understanding of U.S. industry, superior business acumen, strong education or training, strong technical skills, proximity to work centers, lack of cultural issues, and a sense of creativity and desire to challenge the status quo,” wrote Wadhwa in the 2007 report.

“The key advantage of hiring Chinese entry-level engineers was cost savings, whereas a few respondents cited strong education or training and a willingness to work long hours. Similarly, cost savings were cited as a major advantage of hiring Indian entry-level engineers, whereas other advantages were technical knowledge, English language skills, strong education or training, ability to learn quickly, and a strong work ethic.”

Duke’s 2005 study corrected a long-heard myth about India and China graduating 12 times as many engineers as the United States, finding instead that the United States graduates a comparable number.

However, Duke’s 2005 study reported serious problems with the quality of Indian and Chinese bachelor-level engineering graduates, and predicted both shortages in India and unemployment in China. The current report finds these predictions to be accurate, with China’s National Reform Commission reporting that the majority of its 2006 graduates will not find work.