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SCIENCE
February 21, 2013 | Melissa Healy
In the span of 15 years, the number of bariatric surgeries performed in the United States has grown more than 16-fold to roughly 220,000 per year, gaining cachet as a near-panacea for obesity. Despite the daunting price tag, mounting research has boosted hopes that the stomach-stapling operations could reduce the nation's healthcare bill by weaning patients off the costly drugs and frequent doctor visits that come with chronic obesity-related diseases like diabetes and arthritis.
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SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | Mary MacVean
Are the millions of dollars spent to try to reverse childhood obesity a good investment? One answer might be found in the cost if the condition goes unchecked: about $19,000 per obese child in lifetime medical costs, researchers reported Monday. That's $14 billion just for the obese 10-year-olds in the United States, according to researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. They reported their results in the journal Pediatrics.
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NEWS
May 18, 1996 | From Associated Press
Workers ripped out a bay window and several rows of bricks from a house Friday to remove a nearly 1,000-pound man--possibly the heaviest person in the world--and take him to the hospital. Michael Hebranko, who once lost 700 pounds and became a spokesman for Richard Simmons' Deal-A-Meal diet program, was carried through the 10-by-5-foot hole on a stretcher used to move small whales. He was transferred to an ambulance by forklift.
SCIENCE
March 31, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Bariatric surgery did more to improve symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol after three years than intensive treatment with drugs alone, according to new results from a closely watched clinical trial involving patients who were overweight or obese. Study participants who had gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy also lost more weight, had better kidney function and saw greater improvements in their quality of life than their counterparts who did not go under the knife, researchers reported Monday.
NEWS
December 25, 1991 | Associated Press
Walter Hudson, who made headlines by slimming down from 1,200 pounds to 520 and leaving his home for the first time in 18 years, died of a heart attack Tuesday. He was 46 and weighed 600 pounds. Hudson had suffered from the flu for three days, said Lottie Whitehead, a niece who lived with him. He hadn't left his suburban New York City home in more than a year, she said. His body remained there Tuesday night because it would not fit through the front door, Whitehead said.
SCIENCE
June 19, 2008 | Thomas H. Maugh II and Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writers
Gastric bypass surgery -- a treatment for obesity that is already known to reduce heart disease and diabetes -- decreases the incidence of cancer by 80% over the five years following the procedure, Canadian researchers reported Wednesday. The incidence of two of the most common tumors, breast and colon, was reduced by 85% and 70%, respectively, Dr. Nicolas Christou of McGill University in Montreal said.
NEWS
June 18, 2013 | By Karin Klein
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.
OPINION
December 2, 2012
Re "Keep the state off my plate," Opinion, Nov. 29 Out of all potential Op-Ed pieces, why The Times chose to public Julie Gunlock's piece is puzzling. Her contention is that the government is telling us what to eat. Been there, heard that. Gunlock need only review the work of Robert Lustig at UC San Francisco to realize that sugar, like alcohol and tobacco, has made us sick. The data do not lie. Although Gunlock is all for healthy choices, the majority of Americans are not. Government intervention is but one piece of the puzzle.
OPINION
June 30, 2012
Re "Federal panel urges counseling for obese adults," June 26 There is no denying that we have a major problem with obesity in this country. But there remains a stubborn denial that the cure lies largely with patients and not more government regulation. In dentistry we share with our patients a very simple equation: Too many sugary foods and a lack of good oral hygiene equal cavities and gum disease. It is really that simple for 90% of our patients; taking personal responsibility for good eating habits and reasonably good oral hygiene solves most dental problems.
NEWS
November 30, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Medicare, the nation's medical safety net for seniors, on Wednesday announced it would extend its coverage for obesity screening and "intensive behavioral therapy," ensuring that roughly 30% of the 42 million people insured by the program can undertake a weight-loss program supervised by their doctor. The decision by the federal government to cover face-to-face doctor visits as an aid to weight loss is likely to prod private insurers, many of whom have been reluctant to cover medically supervised obesity treatments, to follow suit.
SCIENCE
March 28, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Scientists and physicians who study the treatment of obesity have been puzzled for some years over bariatric surgery and its benefits.”Stomach stapling” surgery was long seen as a “plumbing adjustment” that prompts weight loss by restricting the stomach's capacity. But mounting evidence demonstrates that it does much more than that. Bariatric surgery appears to set in motion a host of physiological and psychological changes beyond weight loss, in many cases resolving type 2 diabetes, righting problematic cholesterol readings, and not just curbing, but changing, appetites.
SCIENCE
March 17, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
At the tender age of 2 months old, many American babies appear to be taking their first steps on the road to obesity, helped along by parents who may be preoccupied, pushy or uninformed about the care and feeding of babies for optimal health, a new study says. The latest research found that in a population of predominantly low-income mothers and infants, 2-month-old babies routinely spent long hours either in front of a television or being fed or cared for by a parent watching TV, were frequently put to bed or left to feed themselves with a propped bottle, and rarely got the recommended amount of daily "tummy time" that challenges a baby's physical development.
SCIENCE
March 11, 2014 | Melissa Healy
Obesity is probably a factor in some of the almost 22,000 new diagnoses of ovarian cancer that will be handed out this year to American women, a new study says. The finding adds ovarian cancer, the deadliest of the gynecological malignancies, to a growing list of diseases linked to carrying far too much weight. Research has found obesity to contribute to a person's risk for a wide range of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas and esophagus.
SCIENCE
March 5, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Apparently casinos are good for losing more than just cash. A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that adding slot machines to California casinos was linked to a modest reduction in obesity rates for Native American children. Specifically, researchers found that for every one-armed bandit added per child, there was a corresponding 0.19% reduction in obesity risk. Study authors based their conclusions on an examination of 117 California school districts that encompass tribal lands.
SCIENCE
February 25, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
Americans are still carrying too much weight, but a new federal study offers a glimmer of hope amongst the nation's smallest eaters: Between 2003 and 2012, obesity among children between 2 and 5 years of age has declined from 14% to 8% -- a 43% decrease in just under a decade. And much of that reduction has come in the past three to four years, as efforts to address a burgeoning child obesity crisis have escalated. The new figures came as First Lady Michelle Obama and her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity launched new initiatives designed to reduce marketing for unhealthy foods and beverages seen by children in schools.
SCIENCE
February 21, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Americans are stuck in chairs and on the couch, spending eight hours a day with their metabolic engines barely idling, according to data from sensors that scientists put on nearly 2,600 people to see what they actually did all day. The results were not encouraging: Obese women averaged about 11 seconds a day at vigorous exercise, while men and women of normal weight exercised vigorously (on the level of a jog or brisk uphill hike) for less than two minutes a day, according to the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
OPINION
September 17, 2007
Today, professors Kelly D. Brownell and Paul F. Campos attempt to define the parameters and significance of our modern fatness. Later in the week, they'll debate policy prescriptions, cultural issues and more. Two-thirds are overweight, and we're still debating? By Kelly D. Brownell Paul, The prevalence of obesity has increased in every corner of the world. Fully two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and rates in children have more than tripled in the last 30 years.
SCIENCE
September 5, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
The microorganisms in the human gut appear to play a pivotal role in determining whether a person is lean or obese, new research shows. The study, published online Thursday by the journal Science, is the strongest evidence yet that what's inside an individual's digestive tract influences the risk of obesity and its related health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. The work helps explain the nation's 30-year run-up in excess weight - and it may supply a potential solution to the resulting epidemic, experts said.
SCIENCE
February 3, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
The logic seems simple enough: the consumption of healthy foods is low, and obesity is high, in neighborhoods where supermarkets are notably absent; so, opening supermarkets in those neighborhoods should boost consumption of healthier foods and drive down obesity. Right? Not so fast, says the first American study gauging the success of a popular initiative aimed at combatting obesity: improving access to fresh produce and healthy food in the nation's "food deserts. " Six months after the grand opening of a new supermarket in Philadelphia, the study found, residents of the surrounding low-income neighborhood were not eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, nor were they less likely to be obese than were low-income Philadelphians across town whose neighborhood continued to be a food desert.
SCIENCE
January 29, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Children who are overweight in kindergarten have four times the risk of becoming obese by eighth grade, researchers reported Wednesday - in just one of the ways they said that the risk of becoming overweight or obese could start even before birth. Put another way: “Half of childhood obesity occurred among children who had become overweight during the preschool years,” the scientists wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. And as kids got older, their chances of becoming obese fell.
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