September 5, 2013 |
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.
September 3, 2013 |
With 78 million American adults in the obese column and showing slim chances of permanently dieting their way out of it, one way of mitigating the public health disaster to come would be to unhook the wagonload of obesity-related ills -- most notably Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease -- from obesity itself. In this scenario, a person could remain heavy, but take a medication or follow some regimen that drives down his or her risk of developing the metabolic dysfunction, the high blood pressure, worrisome cholesterol readings, fatty liver and inflammation that so often come with obesity.
August 22, 2013 |
Obese is bad and lean is good. End of story, right? Wrong, say a pair of University of Pennsylvania physicians and obesity researchers who are calling for better ways to assess individual health prospects than the body mass index, or BMI. The BMI--a simple calculation that can be done with a scale and a ruler--is cheap, simple and allows comparisons of broad populations across years, cultures and continents. Since it was invented by Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet in 1832, it has been the basis for research that has pointed overwhelmingly in one direction: When the formula for BMI (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared)
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.
August 7, 2013 |
The death two weeks ago of a 450-pound inmate who had said he was too fat to be executed has done little to temper an escalating debate in Ohio over capital punishment. Ronald Post was 53 when he died in a prison hospital in Columbus on July 26. He had captured national attention a year ago with his plea for leniency from death row. He claimed executioners would not be able to find any veins in his arms or legs necessary for the lethal injection. His lawyers worried he might even break the death chamber gurney.
August 6, 2013 |
Obesity among low-income preschool-age children has declined slightly in many states, including California, providing some evidence that the battle against childhood obesity may finally be turning, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of obese children among low-income 2- to 4-year-olds from California dropped from 17.3% to 16.8% between 2008 and 2011, and declined in 18 other U.S. states or territories. Obesity prevalence increased in only three states, according to a study summarizing the findings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 26, 2013 |
The veterinarian examined Bella, a spotted cocker spaniel, and quickly concluded she was obese and needed to lose weight. Working with a trainer, Maria Gastelum put her pooch on a nutrition and fitness plan. The regimen produced another benefit: Gastelum started to eat better and exercise more. "If I didn't have her, I wouldn't own a pair of tennis shoes," said the Ontario resident. "It's really unbelievable how she's motivated me. " Los Angeles County public health officials hope that millions of pets living in the region can provide the same sort of inspiration and results for their owners.
July 24, 2013 |
Discriminating against someone for being fat isn't real helpful. That's something scientists have already documented for issues like depression. But a new study says it also seems to make people gain weight. “Rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity,” the researchers wrote in an article released Wednesday in the journal PLOS One. It seems logical that calling someone names - or worse - for being fat would discourage them from taking part in gym class or other physical activities, and that happens, the researchers said.
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.
July 16, 2013 |
Researchers have further unraveled how a version of a gene linked to obesity risk causes people to gain weight - it makes them more likely to feel hungry after a meal and to prefer high-calorie foods. Their study, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that individuals who inherited the high-risk version of the FTO gene from both of their parents have higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin in their bloodstream, which leaves them hungry even after eating.