Tag Archives: obesity epidemic

The $190 Billion Problem: It’s the Actual Cost of Obesity in the U.S.

Bistro MD obesity and healthcare costs

Health researchers continue to study—and warn about—the rising rate of obesity worldwide and particularly in the United States. The concern, of course, is for people’s overall health: Being obese is associated with a ton of medical problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is why you’ve probably heard that obesity is one of the main causes of skyrocketing health care costs. (more…)

America the Fat? Nationwide Obesity Rates are at Highest Levels Since 2008

Obesity rates are above 15 percent in all but one of the 189 communities surveyed by Gallup and Healthways, despite the goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 program.

fat

In fact, according to their survey, the U.S. obesity rate as a whole rose to 27.1 percent, which is the highest rate recorded nationwide since Gallup and Healthways began tracking in 2008.

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Obesity’s Dual Causes: Behavior and Biology

We’ve figured out what causes obesity. Larger portion sizes at restaurants, lack of exercise and poorly balanced diets are the reasons our collective waistbands are growing. That’s it, end of story. However, according to a recent article in the New York Times, it may not be that simple.

scientist

New research is suggesting biological factors may be just as important as behavioral ones when determining obesity’s cause. One new study states the makeup of bacteria in an individual’s digestive system could play a role in whether or not they become obese. These bacteria are responsible for regulating how much fat is stored in your body, and vary from person to person.

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Obesity Causes 18 Percent of U.S. Deaths According to New Study

Children born today enter a world where more than one-third of all adults in the United States are obese. They also face the prospect of being part of the one-fifth of American children who are obese. These risks of obesity significantly increase mortality rates. According to a new study by researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at Columbia University, obesity is responsible for 18 percent of deaths in the U.S. Unfortunately, it’s possible that number will continue to grow if obesity rates follow the trend they’re on now. They have more than doubled since 1980.

obesity risks

The study found that the problem isn’t exclusive to older individuals, but rather people from younger generations who, as they age, have a greater chance of developing obesity-related health problems. “Obesity is unhealthy at any age, but as obese individuals grow older, they are more likely to experience serious health complications of obesity, including premature death,” said Ryan Masters, Ph.D, study author and researcher at Columbia in an interview with HealthlineNews. Masters fears that while the results of the study are worrying, they could actually be worse than they appear. He feels as obese individuals age and encounter health problems; they are less likely to participate in studies like the one conducted at Columbia. This can make the results skew healthier, an error he tried to correct in the results to allow for the discrepancy.

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In the UK, Mum’s the Word for Males Who Diet

The “cult of celebrity,” social media, and antiquated machismo ideals have men across the pond embarrassed to admit they are dieting. In a study conducted by the UK’s Canadean Custom Solutions (CCS), researchers found that one third of British males were on a diet—nearly 10 million. Out of that large swath, CCS found only 21 percent of the dieting men felt confident buying weight loss products at grocery and health stores. The feeling of shame was bloody-well present in the 18-24 demographic, where 67 percent of young men felt emasculated while dieting.

UK male

Young Brits have good reason to diet—17 percent of them are obese. But the manner in which weight loss products are being branded doesn’t speak to young men. Michael Hughes, Research Manager at CCS, said, “The dieting market is predominantly associated with females because of the way in which products are positioned and the celebrities used to endorse products, brands and dieting regimes.” He claims that if pro athletes were used to market diet products, males would be more likely to purchase them, as that strategy has worked to encourage guys in the UK to get regular health screenings.

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Gary Taubes Attracts Billionaire’s Funding for Obesity Research

Everything you think you know about nutrition is wrong, says writer and researcher Gary Taubes. Billionaire John Arnold, ranked 129th on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans, has taken notice of Taubes’ certainty, and is giving millions to find out what is actually true about how food affects humans.

His charitable organization formed with his wife, the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, is providing the seed money to fund the newly launched Nutrition Science Initiative – a non-profit dedicated to finding out definitively what constitutes a healthy diet.

As reported by NPR, NuSi’s mission is to discover what causes obesity and, through that, to reduce the epidemic of obesity in America. Its founders, one of whom is Taubes (pictured right), question the conventional wisdom that consuming less fat equals weight loss.

Taubes, author of the New York Times Bestseller Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories, says current federal dietary guidelines and recommendations about physical activity are based on flimsy scientific studies and may actually be making us fat instead of promoting a healthy lifestyle. (more…)

35.7% of Americans are Obese, 12 States Considered Very Obese

Just when we thought estimates for U.S. obesity rates couldn’t get any worse, they did. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new figures for American waistlines, and the result? Twelve states are now considered to have very high obesity rates among adults, which is an increase from nine states in 2010. And an estimated 35.7% of U.S. adults are obese.

A snapshot of the survey shows more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, with Mississippi having the highest prevalence rate at 34.9%, and Colorado having the lowest overall at 20.7%.

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Take Five to Live Light Campaign Promotes Weight Loss Drug Contrave

While we’re weary to promote any kind of ‘quick fix’ weight loss pill, the “Take Five to Live Light” campaign is something we’re a little more willing to get behind.

The campaign is part of a study that’s investigating a new weight loss drug called Contrave, which has been in development for the last several years.

Contrave is a combination of two medications – naltrexone and bupropion – which have long-been prescribed to patients to aid weight loss. While the two haven’t been found dangerous on their own, the study is seeking to confirm that pairing the two won’t have any adverse affects on patients.

Steven R. Smith, M.D., scientific director of the Florida Hospital, believes that most people can’t achieve long term weight loss through diet and exercise alone, saying “the Light Study is an important clinical research study evaluating the cardiovascular health outcomes of Contrave, which is designed to reduce appetite, increase metabolism, and control cravings and overeating behaviors.” (more…)

FDA Rules Against Calling High Fructose Corn Syrup ‘Corn Sugar’

Manufacturers of the infamous substance known as high fructose corn syrup are displeased at the ruling that it will retain its unfortunate name, at least for now. After the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned to rename HFCS “corn sugar,” the Food and Drug Administration ruled yesterday that the change cannot be made.

This isn’t the first time the CRA has tried to get the name switched. In September 2010, the organization petitioned for the change, arguing that consumers have a bad view of HFCS because it has a complicated name.

But since the FDA has the authority to decide what food labels say, it argued back that the name change would be too confusing for consumers. This is because the FDA clearly defines sugar as “solid, dried, and crystallized” and syrup as “an aqueous solution or liquid food.” So calling a “syrup” a “sugar” would not be accurate.  (more…)

CDC Reports New Figures on American Health

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its annual report on the health of the United States. The document contains more than 150 charts and graphs showing fluctuations in such areas as new births, causes of death, obesity in youth, and emergency room visits. The following are just a few of the highlights we found relevant.

Sloping activity levels: In 2010, less than half of American adults were meeting the government’s recommended daily physical activity levels, with only  30 percent of individuals over the age of 75 meeting the requirements.

Obesity is on the rise: It’s no surprise, but obesity rates have continued to rise. Numbers for those 20 years and older have jumped from 33.9 percent to 35.9 percent between 2008 and 2010. (more…)