August 15, 2013 |
The death toll of the nation's obesity epidemic may be close to four times higher than has been widely believed, and all that excess weight could reverse the steady trend of lengthening life spans for a generation of younger Americans, new research warns. Some 18.2% of premature deaths in the United States between 1986 and 2006 were associated with excess body mass, according to a team of sociologists led by a Columbia University demographer. That estimate, published online Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, is far higher than the 5% toll widely cited by researchers.
April 2, 2012 |
As if the nation's weight problems were not daunting enough, a new study has found that the body mass index, the 180-year-old formula used to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy weight, may be incorrectly classifying about half of women and just over 20% of men as being the picture of health when their body-fat composition suggests they are obese. The study, published Monday in the journal PLoS One, uses a patient's ratio of fat to lean muscle mass as the "gold standard" for detecting obesity and suggests that it could be a better bellwether of an individual's risk for health problems.
June 14, 2012 |
There has been lots of excitement this week as a horde of scientists released their first looks at the trillions of microbes that live in (or on) our bodies. As well as the two main papers published in Nature, a slate of reports was published in other journals, containing all kinds of tidbits. One week earlier, another slate of “microbiome” papers was published in the journal Science. We already covered the nuts and bolts of the Human Micriobiome Project report.
June 4, 1998 |
The federal government is reducing its threshold for defining who is overweight, determining that someone who stands 5-foot-4 and weighs 145 pounds is hefty enough to harm their health. In guidelines to be formally released later this month, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that a person with a body mass index as low as 25--5-foot-4, 145 pounds or 5-foot-10, 174 pounds--should be considered overweight.
October 23, 2012 |
Here's something for raw-food aficionados to chew on: Cooked food might be a big reason humans were able to grow such large brains compared to their body size, scientists say. If modern human ancestors had eaten only raw food, they'd have to regularly feed more than nine hours a day, according to a study published online Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A pair of researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Neurociéncia Translacional in São Paulo, Brazil, decided to try and help explain why modern humans' brains were able to grow so large compared to their body size and why other primates' brains did not. They looked at the relative brain-to-neuron-counts of a host of primates, from owl monkeys to baboons.
December 19, 2012 |
People who want to lose weight are better off running than lifting weights -- or even than doing both, researchers at Duke University say. The researchers compared people who did aerobic exercise -- running, swimming, walking, for instance -- with those who did resistance training such as weightlifting and with people who did both kinds of exercise. Those who got up and moved burned the most fat, they said in the Dec. 15 Journal of Applied Physiology. “Given that approximately two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight due to excess body fat, we want to offer clear, evidence-based exercise recommendations that will truly help people lose weight and body fat,” Leslie H. Willis, an exercise physiologist at Duke Medicine and the study's lead author, said in a statement.