Author Dara-Lynn Weiss’ airs her dirty linen in public in a controversial new memoir, “The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.” She shines the light on a most important topic: How can we prevent our kids from becoming overweight? The Heavy chronicles the journey of a mother’s struggle to help her young daughter to get healthy. We first met Dara-Lynn and her daughter, Bea, last April in a Vogue essay from the overbearing mom’s point of view. Bea was deprived and publically shamed. It wasn’t pretty. The blogs condemned mom.
For sure, we need extensive interventions to curb the childhood obesity epidemic, but does the solution lie in a rescue by mom as the food police? The research does not agree. Dietitian Evelyn Tribole, co-author of the bookIntuitive Eating, outlines the studies nicely in this video, Warning Dieting Causes Weight Gain.
She shows how the act of dieting, independent of genetics, is a cause of overweight. Deprivation diets can lead to food obsession, binge-eating, and more weight gain. Dieting is passed down from mothers to daughters. Dara-Lynn had strange practices of her own with frequent weigh-ins and juice cleanses to keep the numbers in line. Studies show that a mother’s over-concern about her own size is later expressed in her daughter’s negative body image and feelings of low self-worth. Read Full Post >
Talk of the fiscal cliff and ObamaCare makes me worry about my overweight friends. I fear it’s only a matter of time before they are blamed for dragging down the economy. Obesity is a huge expense, and unlike other costly health problems, obesity is in plain view.
Today, just over one third of Americans has a Body Mass Index of 30 or more, the obesity range. Per-capita medical spending for those individuals is 150 percent higher than for those who are not obese. The Institute of Medicine and other experts estimate the United States spends between $150 and $190 billion a year on obesity-related problems. Spending is driven by prescription drugs and medical procedures for heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and the other chronic diseases of obesity and by days missed from work and the long-term disability that commonly occurs. When public funds from Medicare and Medicaid pay the bill, everyone is impacted, but even when public funds are not involved, everyone pays higher insurance premiums to cover the cost.
Few of us realize that the U.S. health care reform law of 2010 (ObamaCare) allows employers to charge obese workers 30 to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. A growing number of companies have begun to make obese workers enroll in weight loss programs or pay higher insurance premiums. For instance, state workers in Alabama are subjected to at-work weigh-ins and body fat tests. Anyone with a BMI of 35 or more must attempt to lose weight or have $25 automatically deducted from their paychecks. To opt out of the weigh-ins, one can accept the $25 deduction. Read Full Post >
As a registered dietitian, I don’t have a problem with the Body Mass Index (BMI.) This is probably because my expectations are entirely in line.
I understand that it is only one of several nutritional status assessment tools. It is an inexpensive and easy way to administer and uncover possible health problems. No screening tool is perfect, however. There are always false negatives and false positives. The BMI was actually designed for population studies, not for diagnosing individuals.
Body Mass Index is a proxy measure of a person’s “degree of adiposity,” or fatness. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. The concept was devised by scientists in the 1800s, but it did not become an international standard for measuring obesity until the 1980s. In the late 1990s, it received popular attention when the government made it part of healthy eating and exercise initiatives.
For practical use, BMI is displayed as a “BMI chart” with weight on one axis and height on the other. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 corresponds to the “healthy weight” range; BMI less than 18.5 indicates underweight; BMI between 25 – 29.9 is the overweight range. Obesity starts when BMI is 30, and it is considered “extreme” when BMI is 40 or higher. Read Full Post >
When Starbucks adds Green Coffee Bean Extract for a “boost of natural energy” in Starbucks Refreshers™, I understand it. But when Dr. Oz calls Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCBE) the “Miracle Pill to Burn Fat,” I don’t get it so much. During the last week of April, (aka bathing suit week), Dr. Oz featured GCBE on his show. From the looks of my inbox, I see another push for Labor Day, second only to January 1st as the best day to start a diet.
Dr. Oz laid it on thick for Green Coffee Bean Extract. “Breaking news: The coffee bean, in its purest raw form, may hold the secret to weight loss. Women and men who took GCBE lost an astounding amount of fat and weight – 17 pounds in 22 weeks – by doing absolutely nothing extra in their day.” It’s “the magic you’ve been waiting for.”
The segment reported one very small study of 16 healthy adults living in India. The subjects took two different doses of GCBE and a placebo, all in capsule form over four-week intervals for 22 weeks, which is when they lost the 17 pounds. The study wasn’t tight: the subjects weren’t blinded, diet and exercise information was gathered by recall, and side-effects weren’t measured, and so any safety claims are false. The analysis didn’t hold up because, regardless of dosage or even placebo, the subjects all lost weight in the beginning before leveling off just like every other diet. The website Science-based Medicine analyzed the study nicely in Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans – More Weight Loss Pseudoscience. Read Full Post >
All of the diet and health advice we’re fed today can be confusing. But some have suggested that what it really all comes down to is eating the right amount of calories and staying active most days of the week. While this may sound like a simple solution, ‘how many calories we really need’ can be rather elusive.
There’s a whole slough of online tools that promise to accurately calculate the amount of calories we require. But how many of us really know if we’re ‘moderately active’ or ‘vigorously active?’ What’s the difference between the two. And are we also to assume that all women 5’5” tall and 130 pounds have the same resting metabolic rate?
To answer these sometimes baffling questions, DietsInReview.com’s Registered Dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, weighs in to help us find the truth about what we really need to know when it comes to calorie requirements. Read Full Post >