Category Archives: obesity

More bad news for expanding waistlines

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers make the case that metabolic syndrome is the new silent killer and that the “love handle” can be fatal.

I have posted on obesity in general and expanding waistlines in particular. If you want to read further on these subjects, check the links at the end of this post.

For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm. Researchers from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University make the case that metabolic syndrome — a cluster of three of more risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes — is the new “silent killer,” analogous to hypertension in the 1970s. As it turns out, the “love handle” can be fatal.

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In a commentary published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics , the authors describe how being overweight and obesity contribute to metabolic syndrome, which affects 1 in 3 adults and about 40 percent of adults aged 40 and older. Clinicians have traditionally evaluated each of the major risk factors contributing to metabolic syndrome on an individual basis. There is evidence, however, that the risk factors are more than just the sum of their parts.  Continue reading

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Filed under big waistline, obesity, overweight, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Fructose is generated in the human brain

Fructose, a form of sugar linked to obesity and diabetes, is converted in the human brain from glucose, according to a new Yale study. The finding raises questions about fructose’s effects on the brain and eating behavior.

The study was published on Feb. 23 by JCI Insight.

Fructose is a simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar, and many processed foods. Excess consumption of fructose contributes to high blood sugar and chronic diseases like obesity. The Yale research team had demonstrated in a prior study that fructose and another simple sugar, glucose, had different effects on brain activity. But it was not known whether fructose was produced in the brain or crossed over from the bloodstream.

 

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To investigate, the research team gave eight healthy, lean individuals infusions of glucose over a four-hour period. They measured sugar concentrations in the brains of the study participants using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a noninvasive neuroimaging technique. Sugar concentrations in the blood were also assessed.

Continue reading

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Some Facts About Weight Loss That Work

I would rather focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly than losing weight. However, since we are in the holiday season and eating temptations abound, I thought I would share these observations:

“…. There are facts about obesity of which we may be reasonably certain — facts that are useful today,” says researcher Krista Casazza, PhD, RD, from the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a prepared statement, WebMD reported.

Here they are:

1. “Your genes are not your destiny. Moderate environmental changes can promote as much weight loss as even the best weight-loss drugs.”

I love this one. So often people use ‘bad genes’ as an excuse for their weight problems, ignoring completely their own bad eating habits.

2.”Even without weight loss, physical activity improves health.”

Another winner. I have reiterated this statement in at least 25 different posts on this blog. Eat less; move more; live longer.

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3. “Physical activity or exercise in the right amounts does help people lose weight.”

Amen. Listen to Uncle Sam.

4. “Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss helps people keep the weight off. Think of obesity as a chronic condition.”

Likewise, I think of good eating and exercise habits as chronic, too.

5. “For overweight children, involving the family and home environment in weight-loss efforts is ideal.”

6. “Providing actual meals or meal replacements works better for weight loss than does general advice about food choices.”

Both 5 and 6 sound like first rate advice.

7. “Weight-loss drugs can help some people lose weight.”

I am not going to argue with the experts here, but I doubt that the weight stays off if the person doesn’t change his/her eating and exercise habits. I repeat my recommendation to pay attention to what you eat and exercise regularly. That will melt the pounds away. You won’t need drugs.

8. “Bariatric surgery can help achieve long-term weight loss in some people.”

The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health. Our tax dollars at work.

Last, but not least, let me mention the Page that I have written – How to lose weight (and keep it off).

Tony

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Filed under American diet, calorie counting, childhood obesity, Exercise, exercise benefits, obesity, Weight, weight control

Don’t get hung up on your BMI (Body Mass Index)

I thought it might be timely to take another look at BMI (Body Mass Index) as we enter the holidays and we battle the bulge at holiday parties, family dinners, etc.

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Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

The usually reliable WebMD has a very nice quiz on fat that I recommend you take. It’s fun and can fill you in on some aspects of body fat that most folks don’t understand.

Having said that, I would like to take exception to the final question in the quiz which asks which BMI category is healthier? Anything below obese; The low end of normal; Anything in the normal range.

I wish we would do away with the BMI as a tool in evaluating fitness, health, fatness, you name it.

First of all, a lot of people think it tells them their percentage of body fat. It doesn’t. A person’s BMI is calculated as her weight in kilograms divided by her height in meters, squared.

It is an index, not a body fat measurement.

The readings are as follows: Underweight: less than 18.5; normal weight 18.5 – 24.9; overweight…

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Poor sleep may raise risk for irregular heart rhythms – AHA

Regular readers know that I feel strongly that sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. You can check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA):
• Poor sleep – even if you don’t have sleep apnea – may be linked to higher risks of developing an irregular heartbeat.
• In addition, getting less rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep may also be linked to higher atrial fibrillation risks.

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Disruptions in sleep may be raising your risks of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF), according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Continue reading

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Pasta not fattening study reports

Good news for Italian food lovers everywhere! Research from I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, shows that, unlike popular beliefs, pasta consumption does not contribute to obesity; on the contrary: it is associated with a decrease in body mass index.

In recent years pasta gained a bad reputation: it will fatten you. This led lots of people to limit its consumption, often as part of some aggressive “do it yourself” diets. Now a study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, does justice to this fundamental element of the Mediterranean diet, showing how pasta consumption is actually associated with a reduced likelihood of both general and abdominal obesity.

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A typical bowl of pasta amounts to more than a single serving.

The research, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, examined over 23,000 people recruited in two large epidemiological studies: Moli-sani and INHES (Italian Nutrition & Health Survey), conducted by the same Department. “By analyzing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits – explains George Pounis, first author of the paper – we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite. Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.” Continue reading

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How does obesity cause disease in organs distant from those where fat accumulates?

With two-thirds of us overweight and one third outright obese, I have written about the dangers of obesity since the blog began.

Now comes the European Society of Genetics with news of increased risks from obesity.

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Barcelona, Spain: Obesity is on the rise throughout the world, and in some developed countries two-thirds of the adult population is either overweight or obese. This brings with it an increased risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis. Many of these conditions do not appear to affect the parts of the body where the excess fat accumulates, but rather to involve body systems that are remote from the fat accumulation. Now an international group of scientists has taken an important step towards understanding the links between obesity and the related, yet physically distant, diseases it causes, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics heard yesterday.

Ms Taru Tukiainen, D.Sc., a postdoctoral researcher working at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Helsinki, Finland and colleagues from the UK and US, set out to study the relationship between body mass index (BMI), a common-used way of measuring obesity, and gene expression in 44 different tissue types, including some that are rarely accessible in large sample sizes, for example the brain and internal organs. “Most tissue sampling is invasive, but we were able to use the GTEx* dataset of tissues from autopsy donors, and therefore sample a far wider range than is usually possible,” Ms Tukiainen explains. “This is the first time that such changes in human tissue function in response to alterations in BMI have been explored among so many body systems simultaneously.”

The researchers found simultaneous changes in response to obesity in almost all the tissues studied. “These results show that obesity really is a systemic condition, and particularly a condition of systemic inflammation. Interestingly, though, the changes in tissue function appeared to be only partially shared between different types of tissues; some tissues clearly act in pairs with one half of the pair compensating for – or enhancing – the dysfunction of the other. For instance, adipose tissue and adrenal glands, which are both organs secreting hormones essential to metabolism, often react to changes in BMI in completely opposite ways, including a decrease in metabolic activity in the former and an increase in the latter,” Ms Tukiainen will say.

Although lifestyle changes are the most effective way to combat obesity, they can be hard work and difficult to maintain. Therefore the biological processes identified by the researchers may help the treatment of obesity by identifying potential drug targets, and particularly tissue-specific targets, they say. The results may also help to distinguish groups of individual who are at higher risk of developing complications, and lead toward personalized care.

“Our research highlights the burden of overweight and obesity on the digestive system. Although this is unsurprising, given the role of digestive system tissues in food processing, we found alarming links between BMI-related changes in different parts of the digestive tract and genes implicated in some diseases, for example Crohn’s disease.

“An association between two variables does not necessarily imply there is a causal link and, from the gene expression results alone, we cannot tell which is driving which. Do changes in BMI or changes in gene expression come first? We can, however, address the potential causes by using genetic variants known to be associated with BMI in combination with our data on gene expression,” says Ms Tukiainen.

Large-scale genome-wide association studies have already identified nearly 100 genetic variants that influence BMI. Analyses by the group that interpret this information further have shown that many of these gene expression changes, particularly in adipose tissue, appear to be caused by increased BMI.
“I believe that our work adds to the weight of evidence, and provides hypotheses for other researchers to follow up in the hope of being able to translate the results into ways of preventing and treating the very serious complications of obesity,” Ms Tukiainen will conclude.

*GTEx is a dataset consisting of thousands of tissue samples in which the RNA from each sample has been sequenced to measure gene expression. Because it is not a dataset collected specifically for obesity research, the donors are representative of the population as a whole, and the obesity epidemic is clearly reflected in that only 31% of GTEx donors are or normal weight; the remainder are either overweight or obese.

If you want to know more about obesity, check out these posts:

How does obesity affect you?

The public is largely ignorant about obesity risks

What are some obesity statistics?

Exercise can help to battle the obesity gene

Heart attack patients getting younger more obese

Eat less; move more; live longer are words to live by.

Tony

 

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Heart attack patients getting younger, more obese

I am now in my seventh year of writing this blog on Food, Exercise and Living Longer. Nearly a million people have read posts in that period and the readership grows on a daily basis. So I was very surprised to learn that with all the increased sensitivity to nutrition, yoga, cross fit, exercise of every stripe, it seems, heart attack patients are getting younger and more obese.
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Despite increased understanding of heart disease risk factors and the need for preventive lifestyle changes, patients suffering the most severe type of heart attack have become younger, more obese and more likely to have preventable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session.

The new study analyzed heart disease risk factors among more than 3,900 patients who were treated for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI–the most severe and deadly type of heart attack–at Cleveland Clinic between 1995 and 2014.

“On the whole, the medical community has done an outstanding job of improving treatments for heart disease, but this study shows that we have to do better on the prevention side,” said Samir Kapadia, M.D., professor of medicine and section head for interventional cardiology at Cleveland Clinic and the study’s primary investigator. “When people come for routine checkups, it is critical to stress the importance of reducing risk factors through weight reduction, eating a healthy diet and being physically active.”(My emphasis) Continue reading

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Move it AND Lose it – IOM

Eat less; move more; live longer

You have read that phrase here a hundred times if you have read it once. Also, you are familiar with the fact that two thirds of us are overweight and half of them are outright obese. Because of that, the government is creating a National Physical Activity Plan.

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In April the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) two-day workshop on solving the national problem of obesity summarized the state of the science of physical activity in prevention and treatment of obesity and it highlighted strategies to promote physical activities across different segments of the population.

Here are some of the findings:

Keynote speaker James O. Hill Ph.D, Executive Director of and Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, said strong evidence indicates that the net impact of adding physical activity to a weight loss program is a total increase in energy expenditure. In other words, most people lose weight. The few who gain weight do so because they increase their energy intake at the same time.

In other words if you eat less and move more and you will lose weight. I add the phrase ‘live longer’ because I would like to get the positive idea of living longer into people’s brains, rather than stopping at the losing weight part. That is the game not the candle.

Hill continued, “There is no magic here,” he said. Even more important than its effects on energy expenditure, in Hill’s opinion, is physical activity’s effect on the regulation of energy balance. He referred to the “amazing science” that has been conducted over the past decade on brain circuitry that regulates food intake and the way physical activity affects that circuitry, with important differences between people who occupy what he called the “regulated zone” versus the “unregulated zone.” People who occupy the regulated zone are physically active, and their bodies match intake and expenditure. People who occupy the unregulated zone, which Hill suspects is the majority of the human population, are physically inactive or not as physically active and their bodies are not doing a good job matching food intake and energy expenditure.

I have covered many of the benefits of exercise here including how the brain benefits from it far beyond the body’s firming muscles and burning fat. I am proud of the information on my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits). But, this brain circuitry information was news to me. It appears that the vehicle of the body like a car needs to be revved up and blown out on the expressway. You can’t just park it in the garage, or in the case of the body, on the couch, and expect to get peak performance out of it.

Ulf Ekelund, Ph.D, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, said that evidence indicates a strong relationship between physical activity and other health outcomes, including all-cause mortality. Increasing physical activity by simply adding 20 minutes of brisk walking a day has shown to reduce risk of mortality by 24 percent in people of normal weight and 16 percent in people who are obese. Ekelund called for a greater focus on promoting physical activity for health rather than for weight.

It was truly gratifying to see professor Ekelund’s words about promoting physical activity for better health not just weight loss.

Tony

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More Than Two-Thirds of Adults Overweight or Obese

“Obesity is not getting better. It’s getting worse, and it’s really scary. It’s not looking pretty,” said Lin Yang, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

To read more on the damage of obesity, check these posts:

U.S. Obesity is on the Rise
Obesity May Speed Aging of the Liver
HIgh-Fat and High-Sugar Snacks Contribute to Fatty Liver and Abdominal Obesity

Tony

Our Better Health

Only 25 percent of men and 33 percent of women at a healthy weight, researchers say

By Dennis Thompson    HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) – Fewer than one-third of Americans are currently at a healthy weight, with the rest of the population either overweight or obese, a new report finds.

About 35 percent of men and 37 percent of women are obese. Another 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women are overweight, researchers said in the June 22 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Obesity is not getting better. It’s getting worse, and it’s really scary. It’s not looking pretty,” said Lin Yang, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Obesity has been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and arthritis, Yang said.

“This generation of Americans is the…

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Why Seniors Need to Exercise – NIH

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. Eat less;move more is the mantra of this blog.

No matter your health and physical abilities, you gain a lot by staying active. In fact, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active, according to The National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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This is one of those simple, but not easy ideas. The damning statistics of 60 percent overweight and 30 percent obese in the general population hold true for seniors aged 65 and over, too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There is a fascinating refinement in those numbers. In the years 65 to 74, the percent of obesity jumps to 41.5 for men and 40.3 percent for women. For the next segment, aged 75 years and older, however, it then drops to 26.5 for men and 28.7 for women. So, that 65 to 74 period is a very dangerous one for our senior population.

My only conclusion is that many of the obese 65-74 year olds simply died off as a result of their weight leaving only the healthier trimmer ones alive after 75 years old.

To combat the ravages of a sedentary life and obesity, the NIH recommends exercise.

“Here are just a few of the benefits. Exercise and physical activity:

• Can help maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness.
• Can help improve your ability to do the everyday things you want to do.
• Can help improve your balance.
• Can help manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
• Can help reduce feelings of depression and may improve mood and overall well-being.
• May improve your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

“The key word in all these benefits is YOU—how fit and active you are now and how much effort you put into being active. To gain the most benefits, enjoy all four types of exercise, stay safe while you exercise, and be sure to eat a healthy diet, too!

“Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits.”

Obesity is a killer. I have written about it in several posts, check out What are Some Obesity Statistics? How Does Obesity Affect You?” Public Largely Ignorant About Obesity Risks. There are more posts on the danger of obesity, but those will give you a start. If you want to read further, type obesity into the SEARCH box at the right.

Tony

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McDonald’s – One Picture is Worth 1000 Words

This picture is one of those Pinterest gag posts that people put on their ‘Funny’ pin boards. An ironic juxtaposition of two billboards. The top one warning about childhood obesity and the lower one trumpeting that king of burgers – McDonald’s.

As the billboard says, “Don’t take it lightly.”

Obesity is not a joke. I don’t know how many times I have written “60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese.” This is twice as many as 20 years ago. Even our children are getting fatter. Among young people, 15 percent of those ages 6 to 19 are seriously overweight. That’s nearly 9 million, triple the number of cancers that a person is vulnerable to.

 

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Also, a study published in 2013 by the National Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reported that the total number of knee replacement more than tripled between 1993 and 2009 more than tripled. They said the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the U.S. accounted for 95 percent of the higher demand for knee replacements, with younger patients affected to a greater degree.
So, if  you feel you ‘deserve a break today’ you might either miss McDonald’s or pick from their salad menu.
Tony

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Top 10 Foods That Burn Belly Fat – Infographic

On the premise that one picture is worth a thousand words, herewith a killer graphic on burning off your belly fat.

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Belly fat is no laughing matter at least to the possessor. To read further, check out:
What About Belly Fat – Central Obesity?
How Dangerous is a Big Belly?
What are the best and worst foods for belly fat?
How Bad is Extra Belly Fat?

Tony

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Obesity May Speed Aging of the Liver

The goal of the new study was to “understand why we age,” Horvath said. “One way of tackling this question it to understand which factors relate to the epigenetic age of different human tissues. Although many people probably suspected that excessive weight ages the body, there was no objective way of demonstrating such an effect,” he said.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Heavier people might be more prone to liver cancer, insulin problems, researchers say

Extra pounds cause the liver to age faster, potentially explaining why obesity is linked to diseases like liver cancer and insulin resistance, new research suggests.

It’s not clear if this aging directly translates to higher risks of certain diseases. Still, it’s possible that “people whose liver is much older than expected need to be screened more carefully for various diseases even if they managed to lose a lot of weight,” said study author Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health.

Epigenetic aging is the aging rates of various tissues in the body. “According to the epigenetic aging clock, the vast majority of tissues, cell types and organs age at the same rate,” Horvath said. But these aging rates may differ from person to person.

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American waistlines still expanding, study says

BMI may not be an accurate measure of abdominal obesity, because it gives a measurement of overall body mass. BMI can’t measure how the weight is distributed.

“There are some researchers that feel waist circumference is a better measure of abdominal obesity,” Ford said.

Please check out my Page – What Are The Dangers of a Big Waistline?

Tony

Our Better Health

BY ANDREW M. SEAMAN    NEW YORK Tue Sep 16, 2014  

(Reuters Health) – The average waistline of Americans increased by more than an inch over the past decade, according to a study from U.S. health researchers.

Along with the increase in waist circumference measurements, the number of Americans with abdominal obesity increased by about eight percentage points between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found.

“We’ve been doing these studies for a number of years now,” said Dr. Earl Ford, the study’s lead author. “We’ve had three previous publications. Our last one looked through 2008 so we wanted to see what was happening in recent years.”

Many studies on obesity use a measurement known as body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of weight in relation to height.

BMI may not be an accurate measure of abdominal obesity, because it…

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Less Exercise, Not More Calories, Responsible for Expanding Waistlines

In an accompanying commentary Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH, Managing Editor, the American Journal of Medicine, notes, “If we as a country truly want to take control of our health and our health care costs, the Ladabaum et al paper should be our clarion call. From encouraging communities to provide safe places for physical activity to ensuring ample supply of healthy food to empowering Americans to take control of their health, we must launch a concerted comprehensive effort to control obesity.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

Lack of leisure-time physical activity linked to increased obesity, particularly in young women, reports the American Journal of Medicine.

Sedentary lifestyle and not caloric intake may be to blame for increased obesity in the US, according to a new analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A study published in the American Journal of Medicine reveals that in the past 20 years there has been a sharp decrease in physical exercise and an increase in average body mass index (BMI), while caloric intake has remained steady. Investigators theorized that a nationwide drop in leisure-time physical activity, especially among young women, may be responsible for the upward trend in obesity rates.

By analyzing NHANES data from the last 20 years, researchers from Stanford University discovered that the number of US adult women who reported no physical activity jumped from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010…

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