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"Dogwalking beats dieting, study says"
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found that people who go on regular walks with a dog could lose more weight than they would with many of the big diet plans, because the activity forces them to get exercise.
http://www.cbcunlocked.com/artman/publish/article 604.shtml
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Over half of all US Treasury debt is now held by overseas owners
"Dogwalking beats dieting, study says"

Someone tell me where I can get research money to prove the obvious.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
"Dogwalking beats dieting, study says"

Someone tell me where I can get research money to prove the obvious.

Clearly the next reasonable steps in the research will be to study arthritis sufferers and those recovering from heart attacks. I'm willing to suggest that a study will show that both of these groups of people also benefit from dogwalking.
Unfortunately, the research money is going less and less for pure science. No one would finance Einstein anymore. In order to get a grant, you need to be pretty certain what your research is going to prove before you write the proposal.
~~Judy
Unfortunately, the research money is going less and less for pure science. No one would finance Einstein anymore. In order to get a grant, you need to be pretty certain what your research is going to prove before you write the proposal.

That's broadly true (and I think has dire implications for the US's future economic growth), but in fairness the article doesn't say whether or not the study received external funding and, if so, whether it was $10,000 or $1,000,000. Also, I expect it's useful to quantify the tradeoff between diet and exercise, especially given the popularity of weird fad diets and the plethora of snake oil diet aids currently on the market.
The obesity epidemic in the US, aside from what it's doing to people's lives, is just plain costing a lot of money in healthcare expenses. And this morning's papers had the results of yet another study that found that while at any point in time a minority of Americans will be overweight, over the run of their individual lives a majority of Americans will become overweight, due almost entirely to lifestyle factors.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=1182666
So, let's say that an obese individual spends $2000/year more on medical expenses over a period of 15 years than he would if he were closer to an "ideal" weight. That's $30,000. If the study cost $100,000 and leads to just 4 people getting more exercise walking their dog (not to mention their dog getting more exercise and staying healthier), the costs are in some sense recovered, or at least spent more productively. Applied research has its uses, too.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Over half of all US Treasury debt is now held by overseas owners
In order to get a grant, you need to be pretty certain what your research is going to prove before you write the proposal.

Ooh, I have the perfect proposal, then.
Hypothesis: Dog walkers who eat sensibly lose more weight than people who either just walk their dogs, or eat sensibly.
Suja
In order to get a grant, you need to be pretty certain what your research is going to prove before you writethe proposal.

Ooh, I have the perfect proposal, then. Hypothesis: Dog walkers who eat sensibly lose more weight than people who either just walk their dogs, or eat sensibly.

That's a good start. But that leaves you with mainly NIH or HHMI money. The big grant is if you can get a drug manufacturer to support your reserach. Or a big disease research group.
I suggest that you include an additional factor - perhaps dog walkers who eat sensibly AND eat oatmeal and take a multi-vitamin versus the other two groups. That gets you the vitamin manufacturer AND the heart associations.

What I find works the best is if I walk the dogs INSTEAD of eating - sensibly or otherwise. But clearly the only research money for that would have to come from New Balance or perhaps Poland Spring. Although I am open to other brands if someone wants to make an offer.

~~Judy
Also, I expect it's useful to quantify the tradeoff between diet and exercise, especially given the popularity of weird fad diets and the plethora of snake oil diet aids currently on the market.

Yes, it's nice to know that something that costs nothing works better than the latest fad diet.
The obesity epidemic in the US, aside from what it's doing to people's lives, is just plain costing a lot ... over the run of their individual lives a majority of Americans will become overweight, due almost entirely to lifestyle factors.

It's sending some ripples down through places that you might not think of at first. They say it may be one of the factors in the Lake George tour boat accident. Occupancy limits were set based on an average weight of 150 pounds per person. As the airlines have already done, this may have to be adjusted in the near future.
If the study cost $100,000 and leads to just 4 people getting more exercise walking their dog (not to mention ... healthier), the costs are in some sense recovered, or at least spent more productively. Applied research has its uses, too.

Very true. And as you point out, the real benefits may not be the immediate, direct ones. I'm for almost anything that brings down my health insurance premium.
The difficulty of course is in the balance. X amount of dollars and so much we don't know. Applied research is somewhat clearer on the possible benefits - financial included. Pure science is much more difficult to qualify and quantify. When DD writes a grant proposal, she always has to keep in mind that while her research isn't directly medical that the grant money is most likely if she can at least hold out the future possibility of a medical advance. Or you can push one of the current hot buttons - some relativity to chemical or biological warfare perhaps.

~~Judy
They say it may be one of the factors in the Lake George tour boat accident.

Huh. I've been wondering how the boat capsized so quickly, and that one didn't even occur to me.
Occupancy limits were set based on an average weight of 150 pounds per person. As the airlines have already done, this may have to be adjusted in the near future.[/nq]Yeah, now if the airlines would only adjust seat width, that would be excellent. Here's a classic economic moral hazard problem: my company has a really strict frugality policy, which means that you have to accept the cheapest fares even if it means changing planes 3 times to get across the US. However, people who are either over 6'5" tall or who can get a note from their doctor saying that they're morbidly obese can fly first class domestically and business class overseas.

There's not much you can do about your height but there are frequent travellers who won't lose weight because they don't want to have to fly steerage. Having gone through periods in my life where I was travelling nearly constantly (not with this company, fortunately) I can appreciate how they feel, but refusing to improve your health because of it seems kind of extreme to me.
Applied research is somewhat clearer on the possible benefits - financial included.

I think that the distinction you're drawing isn't fully appreciated by people who argue against public funding of scientific research. I work in a research job (to the extent that my employer does research) and I have to provide revenue justification for the work I do, which I really hate. I had a manager when I was fresh out of graduate school who used to say that if you don't make mistakes you're probably not doing anything, which I think is absolutely true. I think most research isn't going to be particularly fruitful, but there's not a reliable way to tell ahead of time which is going to be which (although the people who studied the weight loss of dog walkers
vs. non-dog walkers could almost certainly guess how things would turn out (and we're making fun of them for that)).
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

The total national debt is now $7,932,709,661,723.50.
They say it may be one of the factors in the Lake George tour boat accident.

Huh. I've been wondering how the boat capsized so quickly, and that one didn't even occur to me.

The suggestion is that while it had a legal load by number of persons (minus the required second crew member) that it was still very possibly overloaded. (Along with half a dozen other things that all came together at that instant.)
I had a manager when I was fresh out of graduate school who used to say that if you don't make mistakes you're probably not doing anything, which I think is absolutely true.

And you certainly aren't doing anything new or innovative.

The lecture my daughter gave her freshman chemistry students on their very first day included the necessity of being fearless. Not careless. Not uninformed. But that the whole point of research is that you don't absolutely know what you are going to find. It's always a risk. You may have a well-substantiated theory and educated expectations but if you know what is going to happen, then it's not research. At best it's proofing. Or cooking. And in scientific research, even an unexpected result can be interesting.
Our dogs' breeder - who was also a chemist - used to tell her students that they were allowed to try anything - as long as they cleared it with her first. Explosions can create major clean-up problems in a chem lab.

~~Judy