January 13, 2012 |
"The Biggest Loser" is an extremely popular show that's spawned a mini weight-loss industry and inspired a slew of loyal followers. But does watching the show foster more positive or negative attitudes about overweight people? That's what researchers set out to find in a study, published online recently in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise . Participants included 59 people, mostly white women whose average age was 20. About half were randomly assigned to view an episode of "The Biggest Loser," while the others, acting as a control group, watched an episode of "Meerkat Manor," chosen because it featured no people who could have influenced the viewers' feelings about weight.
August 1, 2005 |
It's familiar news by now that America's obesity epidemic is both dangerous and costly. Obesity significantly increases the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and is associated with at least 112,000 deaths a year. The economic impact is equally startling: Obese patients add an estimated $75 billion a year to the nation's medical bill.
June 18, 2013 |
Is smoking a disease? Few of us would think so. It's a terribly unhealthful habit that can cause various fatal and chronic diseases, but it is not an illness unto itself. There are smokers who remain disease-free. So it's hard for me to jump on board with the American Medical Assn.'s decision Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease. That recognition has no official meaning; it is relevant only to the AMA. But as problematic as obesity is for our society, and as closely linked as it is to serious illnesses, there are obese people who have no apparent health problems.
October 25, 2011 |
Here's another health risk associated with carrying extra pounds: People who are obese get less protection from the annual flu shot, according to a study released Tuesday. But the authors said that people who are overweight or obese should get a seasonal flu shot anyway. The study involved 461 patients who were vaccinated in 2009 at a clinic in Chapel Hill, N.C. By several measures, the vaccine appeared to wear off faster in people who were overweight or obese than it did in people of healthy weight. For instance, 11 months after getting a flu shot, the level of flu antibodies in the blood had dropped by a factor of four in 25% of the healthy-weight subjects.
July 16, 2013 |
This week through July 24, about 40,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders are descending on a vast encampment in the hills of southern West Virginia to engage in traditional Boy Scout pastimes - hiking, shooting, repelling, orienteering, swimming, canoeing and fishing - and in a slate of more extreme physical activities such as mountain biking, skateboarding and rock climbing. Fat Scouts, however, need not apply. Citing the physical demands of the quadrennial Jamboree and the organization's ideals of physical fitness, the Boy Scouts this year announced that Scouts or Scout leaders with a body mass index, or BMI, above 40 - the point at which one is medically labeled “severely obese” - may not attend.
August 26, 2011 |
Weight loss is a complex thing. In fact, the old rule that cutting out or burning 500 calories a day will result in a steady, 1-pound-per-week weight loss doesn't reflect real people, researchers say. A new mathematical model from researchers at the National Institutes of Health instead shows that for the typical overweight adult, every 10-calorie-per-day reduction will result in the loss of about 1 pound over three years. Half that loss will occur in the first year. For example, cutting 250 calories a day from one's diet will lead to a 25-pound weight loss over three years.
March 22, 2010 |
Packing on the pounds gets a well-deserved bad rap. Most Americans understand that excess weight contributes to heart disease and diabetes, not to mention the urge to hide behind the kids in family photos. But obesity as a risk factor for cancer? That seems to be the case. An increasing number of studies are finding that overweight and obese people are more likely to develop cancer of various kinds. At least half a dozen types of cancer are believed to be directly affected by weight.
June 7, 2011 |
Overweight and obese young adults may be known by the company they keep--other overweight and obese people. But if those friends and family members are trying to lose weight, they could be a good influence. How social groups influence our health was the subject of a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study that found that people who had close friends who were fat might triple their risk of becoming obese as well. A similar connection was found in a study from the June issue of the journal Obesity . But researchers found that connection may also help people lose weight.
June 16, 2011 |
Weight-loss surgery has been reserved for people who are morbidly obese, with a body mass index of 40 or greater. However, both gastric bypass surgery and adjustable gastric banding surgery is increasingly performed on less-obese people. That may be a good thing, according to a new study. Researchers at Stanford University looked at the outcomes of 981 people who had gastric bypass surgery. The patient's BMIs ranged from below 35 to greater than 50. The lower-BMI patients had better outcomes than the higher-BMI patients.
October 3, 2012 |
Moderately obese people who ate the Mediterranean diet lost more weight than groups of people who followed either a low-fat or a low-carbohydrate diet, researchers reported. The Mediterranean group weighed almost seven pounds less than they weighed six years earlier. In the low-carb group, the total was 3.7 pounds, and the low-fat group was 1.3 pounds. The Mediterranean diet is one based on the eating habits of people who live in that part of the world -- high in produce, and including olive oil and fish.