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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cruising Away from the Buffet

The next two weeks are going to be tough!

Believe it or not, I am off to a "working vacation" on a 12-day cruise from Aukland to Syndey.

As the keynote speaker of an event organised by CME@Sea, I will be presenting six 90 minute talks and six 60-min journal clubs on obesity to family physicians and other health professionals who have chosen this as a way to fulfill part of their continuing education obligations.

Many of you may think that a cruise is the obvious place to hold an obesity CME, given the high-risk of weight gain associated with this form of vacation. In fact, I am quite nervous, as I know that the limited activity and plentiful food will be hard to resist.

The medical literature on this issue is astoundingly sparse (you'd think that someone would have discovered this most interesting opportunity for "field studies" by now).

The only scientific publication that comes close is an intervention study conducted on the USS Enterprise CVN-65 in sailors who failed their Physical Readiness Test due to excess weight during a six month deployment in the Mediterranean (click here for abstract). The results of the intervention were actually not that bad (5-8% weight loss).

Given this rather modest yield of scientific studies, I also spent some time browsing "preventing-weight-gain-on-cruise-ship" websites, of which there are an astounding number (for e.g. click here).

Lots of helpful tips:

1) eat only oysters and lobster tails

2) avoid colourful cocktails (colourless alcohol is OK I guess?)

3) don't eat after sundown (I'll make sure I catch the "Early Seating")

4) dance till dawn

5) etc.

Sounds easy enough - we'll see how it goes. Will report back approximately two weeks from now.

---stay tuned---


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