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_Regularly eating breakfast helps prevent obesity. Fact: Two studies found no effect on weight and one suggested that the effect depended on whether people were used to skipping breakfast or not.

_Setting overly ambitious goals leads to frustration and less weight loss. Fact: Some studies suggest people do better with high goals.

Some things may not have the strongest evidence for preventing obesity but are good for other reasons, such as breastfeeding and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, the authors write. And exercise helps prevent a host of health problems regardless of whether it helps a person shed weight.

“I agree with most of the points” except the authors’ conclusions that meal replacement products and diet drugs work for battling obesity, said Dr. David Ludwig, a prominent obesity research with Boston Children’s Hospital who has no industry ties. Most weight-loss drugs sold over the last century had to be recalled because of serious side effects, so “there’s much more evidence of failure than success,” he said.

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Online:

Obesity info: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP