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Obesity

WORLD
October 18, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY - It may soon cost more to get fat in Mexico. New taxes on high-calorie foods and sugary drinks were approved by Mexico's lower house of Congress in a marathon 18-hour session that ended Friday, and are likely to become law. They are part of a broader package of taxes and other fiscal changes proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto aimed at generating nearly $20 billion for the national treasury. Mexico has one of the world's highest rates of obesity, recently surpassing the United States, and health experts applauded higher prices for chips, candy and other chatarra , or junk food.
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SCIENCE
September 16, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
It's little more than a glimmer of hope, but a comprehensive new report suggests that a trend toward healthier habits may have halted the rise of obesity among the nation's teens. In 2009 and 2010, American adolescents exercised more, watched less TV, ate more fruits and vegetables and drank fewer sugar-sweetened beverages than did children of the same age in 2001 and 2002, the national study found. The research was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Despite steady improvements in behaviors linked to excess weight, rates of overweight and obesity among children in grades six through 10 continued to rise until 2005.
NEWS
September 11, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Not that anyone needs one, but here's another problem for obese people, especially women: They are much more likely to get even occasional migraine headaches. A study published in Wednesday's issue of the journal Neurology found that obese people were 81% more likely to have episodic migraines - those with 14 or fewer headache days a month - than people of normal weight. The research adds to a known connection between obesity and migraines. “Previous studies have shown a link between people with chronic migraine and obesity, but the research has been conflicting on whether that link existed for those with less frequent attacks,” the study's author, B. Lee Peterlin of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said in a statement.
NEWS
September 9, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
The news is not always all good when obese teenagers lose weight. Such young people seem to be at risk for developing eating disorders that slip the attention of health professionals, scientists report. “Physical complications of semistarvation and weight loss, which are red flags in a low-weight individual, are often misdiagnosed in these patients,” and referrals for eating disorder treatment get delayed as a result, the scientists wrote in this week's issue of the journal Pediatrics.
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
September 3, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
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.
SCIENCE
August 22, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
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)
SCIENCE
August 15, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
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.
NATIONAL
August 7, 2013 | By Benjamin Mueller
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.
SCIENCE
August 6, 2013 | By Brad Balukjian
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.
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