Written by Dan Barash
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Topics: Obesity, Scientists

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

image for "Shark Attack" Obesity Treatment Works Wonders
Happy dieters wrap up a successful treatment.

A recent study indicates that millions of obese Americans could achieve significant weight loss if they could only overcome their fear of sharks. Scientists report that subjects on the "Shark Attack Diet" lost up to 40 pounds in a single treatment. According to Dr. Gifford Goldman of the Florida Ichthyologic Induced Weight Loss Institute, sharks provide a quick and low cost method for shedding pounds. "Our studies indicate that patients who overcome their fear and have quick reflexes will lose weight rapidly," said Dr. Goldman.

The weight loss aspect of shark attacks has been ignored for many years. Scientists traditionally focused on the negative aspects of being attacked by a vicious, bloodthirsty animal. It is only recently that researchers have noticed that survivors of shark attacks often exhibited dramatic weight loss.

Research into weight management via exposure to aggressive sharks was initially hampered by difficulty in finding volunteers. The intense negative publicity of shark attacks scared away all but the most desperate patients according to Dr. Goldman. "In order to get meaningful results, we had to be a tad misleading with some of our research subjects," he said. Apparently they were told the experiment focused on "snack attacks", a topic of great interest to many overweight Americans.

The first studies were inconclusive as many of the survivors terminated the study before weight measurements could be taken. "We were a little taken aback at the initial response, " said research assistant Wendy Hammerkopf. "We didn't realize the obese could get so emotional or move so fast." Several lawsuits also hampered progress.

Over time, the researchers have developed a protocol that rigorously tests the new diet. They report that the element of surprise remains a key factor in achieving positive results.

Now that the success of the "Shark Attack Diet" has been demonstrated in the lab, Dr. Goldman and his colleagues are hoping to reach a wider audience. "We are going to focus on results," says Dr. Goldman. "Once you tell people that the weight loss will be startling, they don't really worry too much about the details."

Successful application of the diet requires ideal conditions, including several threatening sharks. No pricing has been set, but the scientists do not expect the cost to be higher than conventional weight loss programs. "It's not like it is going to cost you an arm and a leg," says Hammerkopf.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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