To evaluate epidemiological associations between self-reported diet pill consumption and major depressive episodes (MDEs), using data from a large-scale, cross-sectional survey of the Canadian population.
Data from the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) were used in this analysis. The NPHS interview included a brief version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) depression section, known as the CIDI Short Form for Major Depression (CIDI-SFMD), as well as provision for self-reported medication use.
Approximately 0.5% of the population reported the use of diet pills. Diet pill use was more common among women than among men. At the time of data collection (1996-1997), the most commonly used medication was fenfluramine (since withdrawn from the market because of cardiovascular toxicity). The use of these medications was strongly associated with MDE: the annual prevalence among persons reporting use was 17.1% (95% CI, 8.6 to 25.6), approximately 4 times the underlying population rate.
Because the NPHS was a general health survey, and because self-reported exposure to these medications was relatively uncommon, the data did not permit a detailed multivariate analysis. These findings, however, indicate that depressive psychopathology is strongly associated with the use of appetite-suppressant medications.
A majority of people attempting to lose weight will use methods that do not involve medical expertise or professional organizations. Consumer organizations continually have problems with so-called slimming products which claim results that are scientifically unfounded and impossible. In this study four methods commonly used in Sweden were studied with emphasis on long-term effects. One-hundred and twenty moderately overweight women were allocated to one of five groups and repeatedly interviewed and monitored over a 2-year period. The long-term results with a protein powder preparation and a kelp-lecithin-vitamin capsule were poor. However, results were also poor with the nutritionally adequate recommendations issued by the Stockholm Home Economics consultation service but lacking programme support or follow-up. The weight losing programme of a 'slim club' was found to result in the greatest overall sustained weight loss (2.8 +/- 4.7 kg, mean +/- s.d.). An attempt to define 'compliance' with each programme was made, which showed that the majority of overweight women were not able to adhere to these given programmes for a 2-year period, probably because of unsatisfactory results. We consider it essential to document the long-term outcome of these methods in order to facilitate understanding of the situation of these overweight subjects and to assist consumer organizations in their efforts to prevent the spread of scientifically unsound weight reduction methods.
Obesity is a major, modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Climbing obesity rates are leaving Canadians at increased risk for disability, disease and premature death. This has led to increased interest in dietary interventions to control weight and reduce obesity. While a low-fat diet has been promoted for more than 20 years to reduce cardiovascular risk, recently there has been a proliferation of new diets that promise fast, successful weight loss. The marketing strategies of diet promoters have led consumers and health care professionals to consider the benefits and risks of these diets for cardiovascular health. The purpose of this paper is to compare the traditional low-fat diet with one such dietary innovation -- the low-carbohydrate diet. Research studies are reviewed to provide some evidence for practice in assisting patients to improve cardiovascular health through weight loss.