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Yes, I know this has been covered more or less before, but especially since it's January and I can foresee a fair amount of new questions from people who've decided to get in shape in the new year, I think something needs to be done about all the close votes.

I'm seeing lots of, justifiable, close votes for questions about nutrition (non-exercise related) and questions where answers are going to be opinion based. These just get closed, usually with a comment of "Sorry, this isn't asking about nutrition related to exercise".

While that's logically the correct response, it leave me cold. A lot of these questions are from people who want to improve their health and are genuinely lost about what to do, and we tell them "sorry, we can't help, you're not asking the question in the correct way".

Take questions like this. No, it's not exercise related, it's borderline asking medical advice and is arguably opinion based, so it should be closed. When I read it though, I just see someone worried and asking for help.

I answer questions that I shouldn't be answering, but I try and do so while pointing them to another forum through which they can seek help.

Because this site is all about questions and answers, here's my question, why do people who vote to close questions (and I'm sometimes guilty of this as well) only point out the issue with the way the question was asked and not try to help more? It doesn't take much effort to point someone towards something like reddit.com/r/fitness and wish them luck.

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We close without advice because as well meaning as we may be, the advice is likely to be unhelpful and even detrimental. For example, your advice to put on more weight by eating more is not backed up by research. Similarly, the general weight loss/nutritional advice people give is not supported (or in many cases has supporting counter research). Though your advice may seem to make sense, or is believed by the general public, nutrition is explicitly excluded from this site because there is not scientific consensus and the result of someone following your (or my) advice is a waste of time at best and detrimental at worst.

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  • I don't generally give advice that's purely believed by the public, I'll always go with empirical evidence or personal experience, but I take your point. – Dark Hippo Jan 3 '17 at 19:54
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    Personal experience is not useful when it comes to nutrition. Everyone knows someone who has gained or lost weight successfully, but the same approach doesn't work for 95%+. Show me the clinical trials. – michael Jan 3 '17 at 19:55
  • But then you could argue that good clinical trials for anything fitness related are few and far between, meaning a lot of questions would go unanswered. Likewise, chances are you could find two completely contradictory research papers stating opposite points of view for most fitness related questions, so why should we rely purely on those? – Dark Hippo Jan 3 '17 at 20:00
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    Wrong. There are tons of clinical trials for fitness/strength and they show clear sustained improvement. I can take practically anyone and improve their 10k/marathon time or olympic lifting numbers. Two years later, they will still be faster and stronger. Now take 100 people and put them on your diet and exercise. In 2 years, 95 of them will weigh the same or more. Clinical trials show this as well. – michael Jan 3 '17 at 20:02

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