Tag Archives: obesity

Finding the solution to obesity

In the 20 years since Barbara Corkey, PhD, was named Editor in Chief of the journal Obesity, obesity among adults has risen significantly. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that one third of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older have obesity. Obesity continues to be a common, serious and costly disease.

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In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans). “However, if we use the principle of symbiosis and Darwin’s theory of evolution, perhaps we can understand obesity prevalence as an interim stage in the evolution of man reacting to his environment in order to gain long-term survival and ultimate longevity,” says corresponding author Corkey, professor emeritus of medicine and biochemistry at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

Humans have developed a method to feed the billions of people on the planet, by developing processed foods with preservatives and other chemicals that can make food last longer and can be made cheaply to increase calorie density in small packages. Corkey points out that those who develop obesity store body fat in response to excess calories. “Therefore the cause of obesity has as much to do as the human reaction to overfeeding as it does the production of foods that are being overfed,” she states.

Corkey notes that key developments in the obesity/diabetes field include bariatric surgery as well as multiple agents (drugs) with different mechanisms of action to treat obesity and prevent weight regain. “Novel drug combinations are beginning to close the gap with bariatric surgery and appear to be very powerful new tools to treat obesity as a disease.”

Corkey believes recognition of obesity as a disease and earlier diagnosis of diabetes and other consequences of obesity will support early and more effective treatment and prevention. “Importantly, disease recognition will help to support insurance coverage of effective obesity treatments,” she adds.

Lastly, Corkey examines culinary medicine as an emerging evidence-based field that brings together nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills to assist patients in maintaining health and preventing and treating food-related disease by choosing high-quality, healthy food in conjunction with appropriate medical care. “Culinary medicine has the advantage of being an intervention that can be implemented at the earliest time point in the development of obesity with no negative side effects,” says Corkey.

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Exercise can modify fat tissue in ways that improve health—even without weight loss – UM

Exercise is one of the first strategies used to treat obesity-related health problems like Type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular disease, but scientists don’t understand exactly how it works to improve metabolic health.

To that end, University of Michigan researchers examined the effects of three months of exercise on people with obesity, and found that exercise can favorably modify abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, the fat tissue just beneath the skin, in ways that can improve metabolic health—even without weight loss.

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Surprisingly, moderate and high-intensity exercise yielded the same positive changes in fat tissue composition and structure, and fat cells shrank a bit even without weight loss, said principal investigator Jeffrey Horowitz, U-M professor of kinesiology.

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Exercise benefits your liver – Tufts

A recent trial found that getting moving can improve liver health in people with obesity, even without weight loss, according to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver, often in response to diets high in starch and sugar. NAFLD is the most common form of liver disease in the U.S. and may be present in more than 90 percent of individuals with obesity and 75 percent with overweight. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with NAFLD are at high risk of developing liver inflammation that can lead to cirrhosis (advanced scarring) and liver failure.


In this trial, 83 Japanese men with obesity participated for three months in either an aerobic exercise program (fast walking or light jogging for 90 minutes three days a week) or calorie restriction with the help of a registered dietitian. In the activity group, muscle strength increased, markers of general inflammation and oxidative stress decreased, and liver health improved, even without weight loss.

This study adds to a large body of science that physical activity, like a healthy diet, has many benefits beyond weight loss.”

The liver is not the only major organ to benefit from exercise. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits).

Tony

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Weights can be weapons in battle against obesity

People battling with their weight who are unable to do aerobic exercise can hit the gym instead and still see positive results.

Despite the commonly held belief aerobic exercise is essential for weight loss, an Edith Cowan University (ECU) study conducted at the Exercise Medicine Research Institute (EMRI) has found resistance training can also have positive results – in conjunction with reducing calorie intake.

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Lead researcher and PhD student Pedro Lopez said the findings showed resistance training can have a significant effect on fat mass, muscle mass and weight loss.

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These Heart Risk Factors Are a Recipe for Dementia

The faster you pile up heart disease risk factors, the greater your odds of developing dementia, a new study suggests.

Previous research has linked heart health threats such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity with mental decline and dementia.

Amassing those risk factors at a faster pace boosts your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, according to findings published online April 20 in the journal Neurology.

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Obesity significantly increased heart failure risk among women with late menopause – AHA

Research Highlights:

  • While women who enter menopause before age 45 are known to be at higher risk of heart failure, obesity significantly increased heart failure risk among women who experienced late menopause – at age 55 or older, according to a new study.
  • The findings indicate that maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding abdominal obesity may protect against developing heart failure, especially among women who experience late menopause.
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While women who enter menopause before age 45 are known to be at higher risk for heart failure, obesity significantly increased heart failure risk among women who experienced late menopause – at age 55 or older, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association.

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Three biggest risk factors for dementia – AHA

Nearly half of all dementia cases in the U.S. may be linked to a dozen modifiable risk factors – most notably high blood pressure, obesity and physical inactivity, according to new research reported by the American Heart Association (AHA). The findings suggest a large portion of dementia cases could be prevented, especially among Black and Hispanic adults, who had the highest percentage of combined risk factors.

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“There are things people can do that can raise or lower their individual risk” for dementia, said Mark Lee, a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He led the study presented Friday at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health conference.

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Cutting 200 calories daily and exercising may improve heart health in obese older adults

Cutting just 200 calories a day with moderate exercise reaped bigger rewards than exercise alone for older, obese adults. Among older adults with obesity, combining aerobic exercise with a moderate reduction in daily calories resulted in greater improvements in aortic stiffness (a measure of vascular health, which impacts cardiovascular disease), compared to exercise only or to exercise plus a more restrictive diet, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.

Eat less; move more; live longer sounds very familiar here.


Modifiable lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity may help offset age-related increases in aortic stiffness. Although aerobic exercise generally has favorable effects on aortic structure and function, previous studies have shown that exercise alone may not be sufficient to improve aortic stiffness in older adults with obesity.

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“This is the first study to assess the effects of aerobic exercise training with and without reducing calories on aortic stiffness, which was measured via cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) to obtain detailed images of the aorta,” said Tina E. Brinkley, Ph.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “We sought to determine whether adding caloric restriction for weight loss would lead to greater improvements in vascular health compared to aerobic exercise alone in older adults with obesity.”

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Adolescent obesity linked to increased risk of stroke as an adult – AHA Study

Higher body mass index (BMI) — an indicator of obesity — in late adolescence is associated with a significantly higher risk of first ischemic stroke in men and women under age 50, regardless of whether they had Type 2 diabetes, a new study finds. Even BMIs in the high-normal range are associated with increased stroke risk in both men and women, according to new research published today in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

While rates of adolescent obesity and stroke among adults under the age of 50 years continue to rise around the world, the precise link between the two conditions is still not fully understood.

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“Adults who survive stroke earlier in life face poor functional outcomes, which can lead to unemployment, depression and anxiety,” said study co-author Gilad Twig, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., an associate professor in the Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces and the department of military medicine, Faculty of Medicine of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. “The direct and indirect costs attributed to stroke prevention and care are high and expected to keep increasing since the rate of stroke continues to rise.”

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Eating more fruit and vegetables linked to less stress – study

Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is associated with less stress, according to new research from Edith Cowan University (ECU).

The study examined the link between fruit and vegetable intake and stress levels of more than 8,600 Australians aged between 25 and 91 participating in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study from Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

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The findings revealed people who ate at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily had 10 per cent lower stress levels than those who consumed less than 230 grams. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day.

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Boosting body heat production: A new approach for treating obesity

A receptor that helps conserve energy when food is scarce may be the key to a safer approach to treating diet-induced obesity, research led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has revealed.

In a study using experimental models and fat tissue biopsies from obese individuals, the team revealed that blocking a specific receptor of the molecule neuropeptide Y (NPY), which helps our body regulate its heat production, could increase fat metabolism and prevent weight gain.

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“The Y1 receptor acts as a ‘brake’ for heat generation in the body. In our study, we found that blocking this receptor in fat tissues transformed the ‘energy-storing’ fat into ‘energy-burning’ fat, which switched on heat production and reduced weight gain,” says Dr Yan-Chuan Shi, Leader of the Neuroendocrinology Group at Garvan and co-senior author of the paper published in Nature Communications.

“Most of the current medications used to treat obesity target the brain to suppress appetite and can have severe side effects that limit their use. Our study reveals an alternative approach that targets the fat tissues directly, which may potentially be a safer way to prevent and treat obesity.”

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How to reduce food waste and promote healthy eating

Food waste and obesity are major problems in developed countries. They are both caused by an overabundance of food, but strategies to reduce one can inadvertently increase the other. A broader perspective can help identify ways to limit food waste while also promoting healthy nutrition, two University of Illinois researchers suggest.

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“You can reduce food waste by obtaining less or eating more. Our concern was that if people are reducing waste by eating more, what does that mean for nutrition? And how do we think about these tradeoffs in a way that promotes both good nutrition outcomes and good food waste outcomes? Public policies have generally focused on either obesity or food waste, but rarely considered them together, says Brenna Ellison, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) at U of I.

Ellison and Melissa Pflugh Prescott, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at U of I, discuss a systems approach to addressing food waste and nutrition in a new paper, published in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

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More deaths in England and Scotland may be due to obesity and excess body fat than smoking – Study

While the focus of the following research was overseas, the U.S. suffers from obesity and excess body fat to a large extent also.

Obesity and excess body fat may have contributed to more deaths in England and Scotland than smoking since 2014, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Between 2003 and 2017 the percentage of deaths attributable to smoking are calculated to have decreased from 23.1% to 19.4% while deaths attributable to obesity and excess body fat are calculated to have increased from 17.9% to 23.1%. The authors estimate that deaths attributable to obesity and excess body fat overtook those attributable to smoking in 2014.

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Jill Pell, at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, the corresponding author said: “For several decades smoking has been a major target of public health interventions as it is a leading cause of avoidable deaths. As a result, the prevalence of smoking has fallen in the United Kingdom. At the same time the prevalence of obesity has increased. Our research indicates that, since 2014, obesity and excess body fat may have contributed to more deaths in England and Scotland than smoking.”

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How much do you know about thrombosis? Probably not enough – AHA

I am not even sure what a thrombus is, let alone thrombosis. Medical News Today says, “A thrombus is a blood clot in the circulatory system. It attaches to the site at which it formed and remains there, hindering blood flow. Doctors describe the development of a thrombus as thrombosis.”

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Blood clots in the veins – particularly those that break off and travel to the lungs – can be fatal and have become increasingly so. Yet many adults know little about their risks or the growing evidence that healthy habits can help prevent clots.

“A key barrier in the United States is that awareness of this disease is not very good,” Dr. Mary Cushman said of the condition known as venous thromboembolism.

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Obesity raises risk of COVID-19 regardless of age, sex, ethnicity health

The opposite of a gift that keeps on giving is an affliction that keeps on taking away. Latest research seems to indicate that is exactly that case with obesity in relation to COVID-19. Fat chance.

The probability that an obese person will develop severe COVID-19 is high regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, and the presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart or lung disease, according to a study by Brazilian researchers published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

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The systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant data in the scientific literature focus on nine clinical studies, which in aggregate reported the evolution of 6,577 COVID-19 patients in five countries. The authors conclude that obesity is itself a factor that favors rapid progression to critical illness requiring intensive care and significantly increases the risk of death. The associated research project was supported by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP .

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Obesity Could Increase Vulnerability to COVID-19

I have written about the vulnerability to various maladies from obesity more times than I can remember. Now, it seems, obesity can result in negative implications attached to COVID-19.

Conditions related to obesity, including inflammation and leaky gut, leave the lungs of obese patients more susceptible to COVID-19 and may explain why they are more likely to die from the disease, UTSW scientists say in a new article published online in eLife. They suggest that drugs used to lower inflammation in the lungs could prove beneficial to obese patients with the disease.

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COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, varies widely in clinical severity: Some patients are asymptomatic while others have devastating forms that have led to more than 905,000 deaths worldwide.

Several pre-existing conditions have been shown to increase the risk of COVID-19 severity, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes – two conditions that often go hand-in-hand, says Philipp Scherer, Ph.D., director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research and a professor of internal medicine and cell biology at UT Southwestern.

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