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Half a Billion Extra People on the Planet: The Result of Global Obesity

This week’s study from the BMC Health Journal found that of the 6 percent world population North America holds, 34 percent of the world’s biomass is found here due to obesity rates. In other words, the United States is number one on the list for heaviest country even though the country’s population makes up a very small percentage of the worlds population. In comparison, Asia holds an impressive 61 percent of the worlds population but only 13 percent of biomass caused by obesity. These differences are not only unbelievable,  but incredible as well and not in a good way).

What all of these complicated numbers and percentages come down to is if every other country had the same percentage of overweight people that America does, it’d be like adding and extra one billion to the worldwide population due to the excess body mass.
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Texas Hospital Restricts Hiring Based on BMI

A hospital in Victoria, Texas is catching some heat for their new hiring policy. The medical center recently announced that they’ll be limiting employment to people with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 35.

Citizens Medical Center will be turning overweight people away if they apply for work in their facilities. The Citizens Medical Center Chief, Dan Brown, explained this controversial decision in a statement.

“The majority of our patients are over 65 and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.” Many argue the validity of Brown’s statement, including attorney John Griffin.

“Patients want people who help them who know what they are doing. They really care very little about their size, their national origin.”
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The American Obesity Rate May be Higher Than we Thought

Could the obesity rate in America be higher than we think it is? If so, we could be in serious trouble when it comes to our nation’s health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese (35.7%). And approximately 12.5 million or 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese.

But how do we measure the obesity rate anyways? Through survey? Observance? Up to this point we’ve relied mainly on body mass index (BMI) – which is a ratio of height to weight – to measure if someone is overweight or not.

However, a new study shows that we may have to question the accuracy of the BMI measurement, especially among older females. Recent studies have shown that women tend to lose muscle mass faster as they age and may be getting inaccurate BMI readings as a result. In addition, 40% of adults today whose BMI categorizes them as overweight would actually be considered obese if their body fat percentage were also taken into account.

One solution the study proposes is lowering BMI standards, or raising them, depending on how you look at it. Currently a person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. But researchers suggest that number should be lowered to 24 for women and 28 for men, because they’re currently inaccurate.
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New Study Reconfirms Links Between Diet and Childhood Obesity

Reports from a study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain revealed two important correlations pertaining to childhood obesity: Children who eat meals at home prepared by their mother have a better nutritional outlook. And children with sedentary lifestyles are much likelier to have an unhealthy BMI.

Using standard measurement methods, researchers assessed the BMI of 718 children between the ages of 9 and 17 from various schools in Granada, and also determined the consumption frequency of specific foods and daily exercise habits. Their research showed that there is a noticeable relationship between sedentary leisure habits and high BMIs. And that it is “extremely important” for healthy habits to be promoted and encouraged within the family.

This only further confirms what experts have taught us all along: Daily exercise is crucial to overall health. Meals prepared at home are are likelier to be made with healthier, fresher ingredients and served in the proper portions. And it’s crucial that healthy habits be modeled in the home.

So how do we apply this research if we struggle in this area? Consider the following problem areas and tackle them head on.
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Short Exercise Lowers Blood Sugar

Good news for people who don’t naturally gravitate to doing exercise: less can sometimes mean more in the way of health benefits. A new study has found that just 30 minutes of weekly high-intensity exercise is enough to lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with type 2 diabetes.

“If people are pressed for time – and a lot of people say they don’t have enough time to exercise – our study shows that they can get away with a lower volume of exercise that includes short, intense bursts of activity,” said the study’s senior author, Martin Gibala, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

The current recommendations by the American Diabetes Association are in line with most fitness experts – people with diabetes should get a minimum of 150 minutes of at least moderate exercise each week or about 30 minutes most days of the week. Since people often complain of not having time, the researchers wanted to see if shorter more intense exercise would also do the trick of controlling blood sugar levels.
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