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D. Yo-Yo Dieting a Major Cause of Extreme Obesity

Narrator: This is Science Today. There's a general perception that extremely obese women have become that way because of extreme self-indulgence and a lack of weight control willpower. But University of California, Berkeley nutrition education specialist, Joanne Ikeda, says their recent year long survey examining the diets of women well over 200 pounds, painted a different picture.

Ikeda: The largest women had started dieting before they were fourteen years of age. This appears to be a risk factor for becoming really large. The other thing we found was the women who were extremely large had dieted more often.

Narrator: The problem is, these women will lose a significant amount of weight and then gradually regain that weight and then some.

Ikeda: What has happened to these women who, let's say, weigh four hundred, five hundred, six hundred pounds - they have basically weight cycled up to really large weights.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.