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June 18, 2013 | By Melissa Healy and Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
The American Medical Assn. voted Tuesday to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. The nation's leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes. In the end, members of the AMA's House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.
June 7, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
If a doctor is going to tell a patient he's obese and needs to lose weight, that patient seems more likely to trust the advice if the doctor is overweight too, scientists say. It might seem that patients want role models in their primary care doctors, but in matters of weight, that doesn't seem to be the case. Researchers from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health set out to see what effect a doctor's weight might have on patients; they published their findings in the June issue of Preventive Medicine.
May 21, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
More physical education in kindergarten through fifth grade means less chance of obesity, especially for boys, researchers say. The study provides some of the first evidence of a causal effect between gym and childhood obesity. It is to be published in the Journal of Health Economics. A number of health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have advocated for increased gym class time as one response to the dramatic rise in childhood overweight and obesity.
May 20, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Having childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could lead to a life of obesity, even if ADHD symptoms disappear in adulthood, a new study shows. The study, which followed up on 207 middle-class men who had been diagnosed with ADHD as children, found that some 33 years after their diagnosis, their body mass index was significantly higher than those without ADHD. Their propensity to become obese was twice that of adults who were never diagnosed with ADHD, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
May 8, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Coca-Cola is making major promises to fight obesity - ceasing advertisements directed at kids, slapping calorie counts on all its packaging - as the soda giant stares down a rising tide of concern over sugar-stuffed beverages. On Wednesday, as part of an initiative it's calling Coming Together, the Atlanta company made a series of pledges that also involved offering low- or no-calorie drinks globally and backing of physical activity programs. Coca-Cola said its new rules, announced in part to commemorate the brand's 127 th anniversary, will apply in more than 200 countries where it does business.
April 28, 2013
Re "What we should learn from the 1-800-GET-THIN saga," Column, April 21 Readers should not be left with the impression that patients who underwent weight-loss surgery after seeing an advertisement on a billboard were unaware of the risks. Those billboard advertisements stated that they accepted most PPO insurance. All PPOs have criteria for approving weight loss. At a minimum, they include: - A body mass index greater than 40, or a BMI of 35 in conjunction with severe co-morbidities.
April 23, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Way back in 2002, Dr. Judah Folkman hit upon a tantalizing weight-loss strategy for obese mice. When given daily injections of a drug designed to fight cancer, their fat melted away. The higer the dose they got, the more fat they lost. Some of the obese mice shed so much weight that they wound up at “near normal body weights,” Folkman and his colleagues reported in this article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Whatever happened to this promising fat-busting drug?
March 26, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
The mix of microbes living in the human gut -- in particular, the presence of a particular bacterium that gobbles hydrogen and produces methane -- may be related to obesity, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said Tuesday. In a study led by Dr. Ruchi Mathur, head of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center in the hospital's endocrinology division, researchers at Cedars-Sinai recruited 792 people of varying ages, body mass index levels and body fat content and asked them to breathe into a device that analyzed the contents of their breath.
March 18, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
The spectacle of Charlie digging into a family-size bucket of fried chicken is one of the sadder sights in "The Whale," Samuel D. Hunter's mordantly funny, bitterly angry and ultimately deeply moving portrait of a morbidly obese man stuffing himself to death after his lover's death. As played by Matthew Arkin (with fleshy prosthetics and makeup wizardry adding elephantine girth to the actor's medium build), Charlie is willfully drowning in his own flab - nearly 600 pounds of it. But please don't get the idea that this play, having its West Coast premiere at South Coast Repertory under the direction of Martin Benson, is setting up a situation that could be resolved by the dictatorial intervention of celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels.
March 17, 2013 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
The morbidly obese protagonist of "The Whale," the latest play by Samuel Hunter running at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, weighs close to 600 pounds, scarfs meatball subs and hasn't left his dingy apartment for months. Creating the character of Charlie has been a technical challenge for the play's production team, which includes several costume fitters and an Academy Award-winning makeup artist. By far the biggest challenge belongs to actor Matthew Arkin. For eight performances a week, he must wear a 30-pound costume - he refuses to call it a fat suit - that is made out of Lycra, nylon, micro foam beads and foam sculpted from king-sized pillows.
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