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This week in wellness: Conflicted physicians, diet failures, and nicotine successes

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

New England Journal of Medicine published its first-ever article about wellness. Its viewpoint: primary care physicians should not be forced to choose whether to report employee noncompliance (which itself could harm the employee, violating the Hippocratic Oath) or whether to give employees a pass and allow them to earn their incentives or avoid fines even if they aren’t complying. See: The Physician as Double-Agent. (Behind a paywall but worth signing up for the free near-term subscription.)

The Cochrane Review (the most influential publication no one has heard of) published a meta-analysis concluding that nicotine replacement therapy is much more successful than previously believed.  It might be time to reconfigure wellness programs to incorporate more of it.

Obesity is a more complex problem than many people think. And wellness programs to “help” employees may be backfiring. See Everything We Know About Obesity is Wrong. (OK, that was two weeks ago but still worth a read this week.)

The keynote session at the HEROForum18 conference, presented by Professor Gary Bennett of Duke University, had a similar theme: “We know that just about any diet program will show success at 3/6 months, but within a year or two they’ve gained it back.”  He also noted that coaching may produce behavior change (not necessarily sustained weight loss) – if an employee gets the same coach, the coach is highly competent, and both parties have sufficient time for coaching.

Miss last week’s news roundup? Here it is.

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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