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Obesity

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Fat Pets: Lab Animals and Pets Face Obesity Epidemic

This one may come as no surprise to some. Lab animals and pets are getting fatter along with humans!

Alla Katsnelson reports in Scientific American:

Animals in human care are fatter than they were 20 years ago.

By Alla Katsnelson

It's not just people that are getting fatter.

A statistical analysis of more than 20,000 animals suggests that the obesity epidemic is spreading to family pets, wild animals living in close proximity to humans, and animals housed in research centers--perhaps indicating that environmental factors beyond diet and exercise are at least partly to blame for expanding waistlines.

Link

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News Roundup: 50 million Americans have arthritis; new anorexics; New York asks to bar food stamp purchases of sugary drinks

Interesting health and diet news today:

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Obesity on the rise, no end in sight (CDC)


Source: CDC

Well, the obesity train keeps on a-rollin'.

Obesity continues its rise unabated, and there's no end in sight. According to the CDC, 72.5 million adults are considered 'obese':

Over the past decade, obesity has become recognized as a national health threat and a major public health challenge. In 2007--2008, based on measured weights and heights (1), approximately 72.5 million adults in the United States were obese (CDC, unpublished data, 2010). Obese adults are at increased risk for many serious health conditions, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and premature death (2,3). Adult obesity also is associated with reduced quality of life, social stigmatization, and discrimination (2,3). From 1987 to 2001, diseases associated with obesity accounted for 27% of the increases in U.S. medical costs (4). For 2006, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at as much as $147 billion (2008 dollars); among all payers, obese persons had estimated medical costs that were $1,429 higher than persons of normal weight (5). In 2001, the Surgeon General called for strong public health action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity (3).

[snip]

In 2009, all states continued to have high prevalences of obesity among adults, although the prevalences varied geographically. No state met the Healthy People 2010 target of 15%, and the number of states with obesity prevalence of ≥30% increased from none in 2000 to nine in 2009. The results of this report also indicate that the prevalence of adult obesity in the United States, as measured by BRFSS, continued to increase. Using 2007 population data for both years, the increase of 1.1 percentage points from 2007 to 2009 corresponds to approximately 2.4 million additional adults whose self-reported heights and weights yielded a BMI of ≥30. Previously documented disparities in obesity prevalence continued by age, education, and race/ethnicity (6,7). Of particular concern are the high prevalences among non-Hispanic black women and persons with less education.
Vital Signs: State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults --- United States, 2009

The method used to determine obesity appears to be the flawed Basal Metabolic Index (BMI) (more on the BMI flaws here).

On the flip side, the survey's "BMI was calculated from self-reported weight and height". Do people provide honest weight numbers when the report their weights, even if anonymously? Click here to continue reading, or leave a comment »

Michael's picture

Obesity, Leptin Resistance, and Dietary Fructose

Why is there so much focus on dietary fructose these days? Why is it thought to be a 'bad' carbohydrate?

I found some answers while I watched an interesting lecture—Obesity: The Plague of the 21st Century—on the Research Channel.

The lecture was about body fat regulation mechanisms and how they contribute to obesity. Research indicates that the hormone Leptin is involved in body fat regulation, and that the body's fat stores can alter Leptin levels—which creates a perverse feedback loop in which body fat may act to raise your 'normal' weight set point, thus frustrating long-term efforts to reduce weight and keep it off. Researchers found that injecting Leptin into obese patients results in a dramatic return to 'normal' body fat levels.

Other interesting points mentioned:

  • Body fat is regulated by the body.
  • Studies show that low-fat, reduced calorie diets are effective for weight loss (at least for the duration of the studies); reduced carbohydrate, high-protein, low fat diets are even more effective.
  • The Minnesota Starvation Experiment conducted during WWII demonstrated strongly negative physiological and psychological effects of severe caloric restriction: reduced metabolism and obsession with food to name but a few. Starvation dieters beware!
Michael's picture

Health news roundup: More coffee goodness, large waistline a risk factor for Alzheimers

Here's a quick list of interesting health-related news articles I stumbled across, courtesy of the BBC news web site.

Coffee may reverse Alzheimers

Drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse memory problems seen in Alzheimer's disease, US scientists say.

The Florida research, carried out on mice, also suggested caffeine hampered the production of the protein plaques which are the hallmark of the disease.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8132122.stm

Large waist in middle age 'an Alheimer's risk'

A big waistline in your 40s could almost triple the threat of dementia in old age, according to US research.

Click here to continue reading, or leave a comment »
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