The six meal a day diet fad may be on the outs. In recent years, it’s been suggested that eating six small meals throughout the day, colloquially referred to as “grazing,” is a better approach to weight loss than the more traditional three squares. The American Diabetes Association has released a study confirming that eating two meals a day led to more weight loss than six small ones.
The study is by no means supremely revelatory—the sample size was a meager 54 people and they all had type 2 diabetes—but it has sparked debate over how many daily meals is appropriate for weight loss. Additionally, the researchers lowered the participants’ usual daily caloric intake by 500, which would lead to weight loss either way you slice it.
In the ADA study, 27 people ate six small meals a day, and 27 ate just breakfast and lunch, skipping dinner entirely. Both control groups lost weight—an average of 0.82 BMI points for the grazers and 1.23 points for the minimalists—but there are flaws with both schools of thought. The average person is too busy to prepare and eat six meals a day, and refraining from eating entirely after lunch is just silly.
In April, we compiled a list of celebrities who, because of obesity related health issues, left us too soon. Yesterday, actor James Gandolfini passed away in Italy of a myocardial infarction, at the young age of 51. More commonly known as a heart attack, a myocardial infarction occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, causing damage to the heart muscle.
James Gandolfini had a name and face synonymous with Tony Soprano, the New Jersey mafia boss he brought to life in the seminal HBO series “The Sopranos.” Like Soprano, Gandolfini was an Italian from New Jersey, but couldn’t have been more dissimilar than his famously violent character. As a meticulous and obsessively dedicated actor and director, he liked to describe himself as “a 260-pound Woody Allen.”
Given that weight, paired with a listed height of 6′ 1”, Gandolfini would have had a BMI of 34.3, putting him well into the obese category. Just this week, the American Medical Association declared obesity as a disease. When a person experiences a period of sustained obesity, conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are almost guaranteed. Gandolfini never had any scandalous drinking or drug-use incidents, but he did have a reputation for binge eating and drinking. He was also an avid cigar smoker. (more…)
Obesity is no longer a disorder, it’s a disease.
This week, the American Medical Association voted to reclassify obesity—a $150 billion annual health care headache—from a chronic health condition to a disease. According to the CDC, 35 percent of adult Americans are obese. To be considered obese, you must have a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher. A healthy BMI is is between 18 and 25, and the CDC has a handy BMI calculator on their website.
Dr. Richard Besser, Chief Health and Medical Editor for ABC News, couldn’t care less about the formalities. “I think it matters little whether we call obesity a disease, a condition, or a disorder,” he told us. “It matters less what we call it than what we do to prevent it.”
The question is, how will medical treatment change in response to this new decision? Labeling obesity a disease quickly left those in the medical establishment with uncertainty about the future of obesity treatment. There are a slew of surgical procedures that combat obesity, none of which cure it completely. The onus is on the patient to follow through with the treatment and reach a healthy weight. Obesity is a unique disease because nutritional education, fitness awareness, and simple willpower are the most effective remedies. “We need to get physical activity back into everyone’s lives, starting with our kids,” said Dr. Besser.
A humble pocket of our society has grown increasingly health conscious in recent years, and while DietsInReview touts the positive exploits of the nutritionally enlightened, there is still a large chunk of the population who simply don’t get it. Proposed nutritional labeling on alcoholic beverages is an issue that could unite both the trim and otherwise alike, and perhaps usher some unhealthy citizens toward the light.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau originally proposed the nutritional labeling in 2007, and have been mulling over its execution since then. The production and consumption of alcohol is big business—it’s said beer is the third most popular beverage in the world—so the fact that nutritional labels aren’t being slapped on cans and bottles already is mystifying. The alcohol manufacturers that have caught on to the calorie conscious trend—Skinny Girl spirits and Miller 64 come to mind—are all for the proposed change. Those same people are fans of the change because they want increased options and awareness of what’s in their libations. (more…)
The Affordable Care Act, first disparagingly referred to as Obamacare and now adopted as its accepted moniker, is the most sweeping and dramatic health care legislation since Medicare. It’s also one of the more divisive.
Proponents say it will bring health care costs down through wider preventative care; opponents say it is intrusive and sets us up for a new bloated federal bureaucracy.
One of the most important tasks in preventative care and health care cost-reduction is addressing the obesity epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the direct and indirect medical care costs of obesity in the U.S. in 2008 was $147 billion. While obesity rates have leveled in recent years, long-term projections are still grim, with the possibility of nearly half of all Americans being obese by 2030. One report projects the majority of states will be over the 50 percent level.
While there are many myths about Obamacare, one of the better known facts about the legislation is that it will eliminate insurance companies’ ability to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. But it’s not the utopian “health care for all” scenario some critics may think. Companies are able to more aggressively reward employees for achieving preset wellness goals, and conversely, saddling those who don’t make an effort to improve their health with higher premiums. (more…)
Health experts are giving sugar a reprieve in the case against obesity. While sugar and its many processed variations are running amok in the food we eat at home or away, fats, oils, flour and cereal are more to blame for America’s continuous bloat.
According to the CDC, 25.6% of Americans have a BMI greater than thirty, firmly planting them into the obese category. Since we tend to lie about how tall we are and how much we weigh, the figure is probably a bit generous, but it’s a 10.3% increase since 20 years ago, and that’s alarming.
A New York Times article reports that Americans are consuming 448 more daily calories— or 20% more—than they were in 1970. The Department of Agriculture says 242 of those calories are from fats and oils, 167 are from flour and cereal, and only 35 are from sugars. (more…)
With the United States’ Hispanic population growing in number, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on the health and well-being of that community. Obesity is an epidemic concerning all Americans, but it is an especially concerning one for Hispanics and Mexican Americans who collectively have an obesity rate of about 40%, according to the CDC.
This high rate can be attributed to many factors. Several studies have shown the strong correlation between poverty and obesity. The CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report for 2011 found that the greatest racial/ethnic disparity in income and education existed for Hispanics. That there is a higher likelihood for obesity in a lower income situation can be found in both men and women.
However, adults are not the only members of the Hispanic and Mexican-American populations with significantly higher obesity rates. The rate in children is alarmingly high as well – about 23 percent of Hispanic children compared to the 16 percent rating of their Non-Hispanic white counterparts. Reducing obesity in children is particularly important as being overweight at a young age can lead to a litany of health issues. (more…)
Celebrity weight is always rising and falling in America, and while it may be fodder for some, obese celebrities have a serious disease that doesn’t improve under the glitzy lights of Hollywood. They’re “just like us” when it comes to health.
In the last year, Rosie O’Donnell suffered a heart attack, Al Roker revealed his struggles with gastric bypass surgery, and Jennifer Hudson released a memoir detailing her battle with self-image and weight loss. These particular celebrities are examples of a proactive and positive approach to a disease that kills an estimated 112,000 Americans each year, according to the CDC.
Those stars, and many others, have gotten the wake-up call. But others didn’t. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite entertainers who weren’t able to conquer their weight-related health issues, and as a result, died too soon.
Patrice O’Neal, 1969-2011
The comedian and actor was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his 20s and had battled weight issues for much of his life. On October 19, 2011 he had a stroke and died of complications one month later at the age of 41. (more…)