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Medical News & Perspectives
January 16, 2002

Integrating Complementary Therapy Into Care

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JAMA. 2002;287(3):306-307. doi:10.1001/jama.287.3.306-JMN0116-2-1

Chicago—Physicians were given a glimpse of the world of alternative and complementary medicine last month at the third annual conference sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for Alternative Therapies and the Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, where practitioners of nontraditional methods of health care suggested how they might be integrated into primary care and specialist practice.

John La Puma, MD, director of the Cooking, Healthy Eating and Fitness (CHEF) Clinic, Santa Barbara, Calif, spoke about the increasing prevalence of obesity and various approaches to its treatment. "I advocate making small changes . . . and self measurement," he said. "We give patients pedometers, to let them monitor their physical activity." Patients who seek La Puma's advice for weight loss undergo medical evaluation then are encouraged to set goals and count weekly steps toward meeting them. "Identifying how patients eat is as important as what they eat," he said, because people eat out of boredom, anxiety, habit, convenience, and timing, not just because they are hungry. He said that food, ubiquitously available to most Americans, "has a psychological aspect, it's a comfort, warm and companionable, and it makes you feel good for a short time."