Posts Tagged ‘Obesity’

Lipo-suck-tion

June 7, 2011

To those of you pinching pennies in hopes of paying for liposuction, listen up. 

A recent study found that a year after getting the fat sucked out of their hips and thighs, women who underwent the procedure gained all the fat back.  Butt But the fat didn’t reappear where it once was.  Instead, the lost flab returned to the belly, back and triceps. 

So what gives?  Here’s what doctors tell the New York Times:

The body, they say “defends” its fat. If you lose weight, even by dieting, it comes back. And, the study showed, if you suck out the fat with liposuction, even if it’s only a few pounds — it was about 5.8 pounds for subjects in the study — it still comes back.

“It’s another chapter in the ‘You can’t fool Mother Nature’ story,’ ” said Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University.

That lipo-SUCKS!

So in the end you stay fat, but so does your wallet.  Only one of those is a good thing.

SOURCE: Liposuction Study Finds That Lost Fat Returns

 

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Ab-solute shocker

March 15, 2011

Conventional health wisdom has long held that fat stored around your middle puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.  But new research totally upends that thinking.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge in London, it doesn’t matter where you store your fat, just how much of it you have.  They claim if you’re obese than it doesn’t matter if it’s around your middle or in your thighs…being overweight automatically puts you at a higher risk for the aforementioned health problems.

What’s more, these British researchers also found that your BMI number isn’t an accurate way to determine if you’re more prone to developing heart disease.  Instead, they say tracking a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol is the best way to assess that risk.  They are quick to point out, however, that BMIs are a good way to identify who may be more at risk to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  That’s because people classified as obeseusually tend to have both of these ailments.

What strikes me about this research is this: maybe now people will become less concerned about whether they’re an apple or a pear shape and focus more on getting their whole body fit and healthy rather than those perceived “trouble spots”.

SOURCE: Fat Alone, Not Where It Sits, May Be Key to Heart Problems

Do menus with calorie counts work?

February 18, 2011

Back in 2008 when New York City ordered fast-food and other chain restaurants to post calorie information on their menus, the eateries were livid.  They worried that when faced with just how many calories a Starbucks Venti Java Chip Frappaccino (440 calories) or one of Pizzeria Unos’ individual Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (2310!) actually contained, they’d stop coming in search of healthier options.  Turns out the restaurant industry had nothing to worry about.

A recent study by researchers at New York University looked at whether the change affected the eating habits of New York City and Newark, NJ kids from low-income families.   (New Jersey served as the control group because the state doesn’t yet require calorie information to be posted).  They discovered that although 60 percent of the kids who ordered their own food noticed the information, 90 percent of them said the labels didn’t affect what they ordered.  It was the same when it came to kids whose parents ordered for them.

So are calorie counts a waste?  Not necessarily, say the researchers.  What they concluded from this study is that in addition to providing the labels, people need to be educated about what makes up a healthy diet.  In essence, what good is knowing how many calories something contains if you don’t know how many calories you should be eating in the first place?  But the question then becomes is it the responsibility of the individual or the government to get this information?  I should point out this NYU study comes federal officials write rules requiring chain restaurants across the country to post calorie information on their menus and drive-through signs.

Hey America! You’re Fat!

June 30, 2010

There’s a new report ranking all 50 states according to how fat its adult residents are.   Mississippi sits at the top of the list where 33% of adults are classified as overweight.  In fact, eight of the top ten fattest states are in the Southeast.  The leanest state in the country is Colorado where 19% of adults weigh too much.

While a lot of ink has been devoted to where states rank, the report by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) also makes several other important points.  For example, adult obesity rates went up in 28 states over the past year.  Only one state (the District of Columbia) saw its adult obesity rate go down.

Also (and this isn’t really anything new) the ethnicity of those who tend to be overweight skews heavily toward Blacks and Latinos, with those groups having the highest obesity levels in 40 states.  Economics also play a role.  The lower the state’s average income level, the higher the obesity rate.

When it comes to child obesity rates, the numbers aren’t as high as adults (thank goodness), but the news still isn’t good – one third of this country’s children and teens are overweight.  What’s worse is that 84% of parents think little Bobby and Sue are at a healthy weight.

But all is not lost.  The report also highlights the fact that government at both the state and local level have undertaken a wide range of policies to bring down obesity levels.  They include the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” program as well as setting healthier school lunch standards. (Click here if you want to read the entire report.)

Those programs are a good start, but the real battle is convincing people to adopt healthy lifestyles at home.  Yes, I know that if you’re a single mom working two jobs to make ends meet that you might not have the time to cook a family meal.  But honestly, how long does it take to boil water and make a box of pasta?  There’s also the argument that healthy food is expensive.   Yes, some of it is.  But the basics are still cheaper than the prepackaged stuff.  And what’s more…you get more meals if you’re buying basic ingredients versus the already made stuff.  (Think a canister of plain oatmeal versus the single serving packets).

So, people, it can be done.  We just have to convince people it’s not as hard as they think it is.

Obesity or Depression: Which came first?

June 17, 2010

Which came first?

You know that age old riddle about the chicken and the egg?  Turns out there’s a similar question about obesity and depression. 

Is it that being fat makes you depressed (not that hard to believe considering all the thin images we’re bombarded with everyday).

Or is it that being depressed makes us fat (hello comfort food and anti-depressants that can lead to weight gain).

Read more about the relationship between the two here.

Allergy Sufferers Rejoice!

May 25, 2010

Sneezing?  Coughing?  Itchy and watery eyes?  Yup, we’re in the middle of a brutal allergy season (one of the worst in recent years), but it turns out all that suffering could actually be good for you.  Sounds impossible, I know, but get this: According to a stack of recent research, allergies may help protect against cancer. 

It has to do with how allergies activate our immune systems.  During an allergy attack, our bodies’ defenses kick into high gear in an effort to drive out whatever is irritating us.  (That’s way we sneeze and cough.)  Researchers think that as we’re ridding ourselves of allergens, we could also be flushing out cancer-causing toxins.  The concept is still fairly new (read: not widely accepted), but here’s a round-up (courtesy of the New York Post) of what some studies have found so far.

~Cornell University: reduced rates of lung, skin, throat and intestinal cancers in allergy sufferers

~Brigham Young University: lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stomach cancer

~Harvard University: “a stong inverse relationship” between brain cancer and asthma, eczema, hay fever or allergy

If this theory proves true, it should be interesting to see how it’ll shape how we treat both allergies and cancer.  I should note, however, that there are a lot of other factors (smoking, obesity) that contribute to cancer risk. 

And if you’re curious about how your city stacks up against others when it comes to whose residents are more allergy prone, check out this Forbes article.

Supersize Me

March 18, 2010

We’re learning more about that 600 pound woman and her quest to become the world’s fattest.  Apparently she’s doing it to gain publicity, but when a local TV station pressed her for answers, she seemed lost and unsure of why she was doing what she’s doing.  Check out the video and then read this article about the fame (or infamy) her quest has gotten her so far.