May 2, 2011 |
For people with coronary artery disease, including those with a "normal, healthy" body-mass index (or BMI), having even a little flubber around the middle is a bad omen, increasing the risk of death as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or having very high cholesterol. But having a BMI in the "overweight" or "obese" category does not, by itself, imply a grim prognosis, says a new study . The new research, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , makes clear that when it comes to body composition, it is better to be pear-shaped--carrying fat deposits in the hips, buttocks and thighs--than to be shaped like an apple, carrying excess fat around the middle.
April 17, 2011 |
Sometime later this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release its latest accounting of the nation's weight problem, as measured by the body mass index, or BMI. This much we know already: It won't be a pretty picture. The last census reckoned that a third of American adults were overweight, meaning their BMIs (calculated by dividing a person's weight by his height, squared) lay between 25 and 30. About another third weighed in with BMIs over 30 -- the demarcation line that brands them as obese.
April 17, 2011 |
Hey, what is your BMI? If that's a number you'd rather not share -- if, in fact, you can't help thinking there must be something wrong with the BMI calculator -- I feel your pain. And although I can't fix the calculator, I can tell you there's a growing debate over how good the body-mass index is as a predictor of an individual patient's health prospects. You can read about that whole debate: " BMI may not be telling the whole truth . " There's an inside joke often told at conferences convened to discuss the nation's epidemic of obesity: If the 72 million American adults with a body-mass index above 30 -- the demarcation line for obesity -- want to improve their health and avert a plague of weight-related diseases, they have two options: They can lose weight.
April 6, 2011 |
When the National School Lunch Program began in 1946, the idea was to get nutritious food into the stomachs of malnourished children from low-income families. Ironic, then, that these days the school lunch program is being scrutinized for its role in contributing to the growing problem of childhood obesity in America. The latest report was published online this week by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. It concludes that girls who participate in the National School Lunch Program gain weight at a faster clip than other girls from low-income families who do not get the subsidized lunches (and sometimes breakfasts)
April 5, 2011 |
Survivors of breast cancer may want to watch their post-diagnosis weight -- a study finds that women who gain a large amount of weight may be at greater risk of cancer recurrence and death. The study, being presented at the American Assn. for Cancer Research's meeting this week in Orlando, Fla., followed breast-cancer survivors in three groups from the United States and one from China. Women who gained 10% or more than their pre-diagnosis weight were 14% more likely to have the disease return compared with women whose weight stayed fairly steady, within 5% of their pre-diagnosis weight.
March 7, 2011
The body-mass index is a common measure of obesity. It's the ratio of weight in kilograms to height in meters squared. Here's how to calculate yours: (Your weight in kilograms) = (0.4535) x (your weight in pounds) (Your height in meters) = (0.0254) x (your height in inches) (Your BMI) = (your weight in kilograms) / (your height in meters, squared) For adults 20 years old or older, the National Institutes of Health have established these four categories based on BMI levels: Below 18.5underweight 18.5 to 24.9healthy 25.0 to 29.9overweight 30.0 or higherobese ?
March 4, 2011 |
Obesity isn’t terribly consistent with good health. The more severe the obesity, the worse the health effects. But extra pounds alone don’t account for all of the health problems in people who are overweight. A study out this week suggests that society’s bias against fat people is partly to blame too. Here’s the theory behind how it works: The higher your body-mass index, the more likely you are to think that you’ve been a victim of weight discrimination.
March 4, 2011 |
When a nearly 600-pound man who boldly promoted food at a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill dies, one of the first reactions is likely to be ... , well, not one of surprise. But then comes the news that Blair River might have died of pneumonia. Hold on. Don't order up that 8,000-calorie burger just yet. Note that there is a potential link between obesity and pneumonia. "After accounting for factors such as lifestyle and education, moderately obese men -- those with a body mass index between 30 and 34.9 -- had a 40% greater risk of pneumonia compared with those of normal weight (BMI of less than 24.9)
February 28, 2011 |
It's not nice to call someone fat. That's a simple rule of thumb, repeated by parents of small children everywhere. For physicians, however, it's a social nicety that must be set aside if they are to act in the best interests of an overweight or obese patient. And yet, a study released Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that one in three patients whose body mass index (BMI) is in the obese category has never heard the "O" word from his or her physician. That failure occurs despite copious research linking a BMI above 30 to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes, musculo-skeletal pain disorders and even depression and dementia.
February 16, 2011 |
The Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing the Lap-Band weight-loss surgery to patients who are significantly less obese than those who now use the device, according to an announcement Wednesday by its maker, Irvine-based Allergan Inc. The approval allows Allergan to market the device to patients with a body mass index of as low as 30 if they have at least one weight-related medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, the...