Monday, May 2, 2016

Obesity On Rise In Rural China: Study

BEIJING:  A new study has highlighted rising obesity rates among children in rural China.

The study, published in the latest issue of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found children and adolescents in the countryside of Shandong province to be much fatter in 2014 than they were in 1985.

It was based on a survey tracking nearly 28,000 students from rural schools in Shandong, a predominantly agricultural area, over 29 years. The students were aged from seven to 18 when they were surveyed.

Some 17.2 per cent of the boys surveyed in 2014 were obese, while the rate was only 0.03 per cent in 1985, according to the thesis, reports Xinhua.

The obesity rate among girls was 9.11 per cent in 2014, while in 1985 the percentage was 0.12 per cent.

Meanwhile, the proportions of overweight boys and girls climbed to 16.35 per cent and 13.91 per cent respectively in 2014.

In 1985, the proportions were 0.74 per cent and 1.45 per cent, said Zhang Yingxiu, one of the co-authors of the thesis.

He said the increase was even more apparent among children aged from seven to 12.

The study used a cut-off of Body Mass Index (BMI) -- the ratio of weight-to-height squared -- to define overweight and obesity.

Thousands of hospital admissions in York due to obesity

NEARLY twice as many women than men from York have been admitted to hospital with problems related to obesity, figures have revealed.

Over the last year there were 3,155 incidents where people from the Vale of York were taken into hospital where obesity was the main or secondary reason - of these 2,035 were female patients and 1,120 were male.

This represents 896 admissions per 100,000 of the population in the York area.

There were 440,288 admissions to England's hospitals in 2014/15 where obesity was the main reason for a person being admitted or was a secondary factor. The figure is the highest on record and is more than ten times higher than the 40,741 recorded in 2004/5.

The report, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also showed that the proportion of adults now regarded as morbidly obese is growing.

Those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more has more than tripled since 1993, affecting two per cent of men and four per cent of women in 2014.

Izzi Seccombe, community well-being spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils that have a responsibility for public health, said: "These are extremely worrying figures that illustrate the scale of the challenge we face in the fight against obesity.

"But the problem will only get worse unless we take urgent action, with the number of obese adults in the country forecast to soar by a staggering 73 per cent to 26 million people over the next 20 years.

"The fact that the number of admissions for children has more than doubled since 2004/5 underlines why it is vital that the Government uses its forthcoming childhood obesity strategy to address what is now one of the major health dangers of the 21st century.

"Obesity leads to serious health conditions later on in life, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and is costing the NHS around £5 billion a year.

"Councils have long been calling for action to tackle obesity, such as clearer labelling of sugar content, calorie counts on menus, and sugar reduction in soft drinks. We cannot delay tackling this issue any longer."

In the East Riding of Yorkshire there were 1,557 incidents when obesity was a factor in a person being admitted to hospital, in Harrogate there were 1,245, in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby there were 446 and in Scarborough there were 695.

In each instance more women were admitted than men.

Nationally, the majority of hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity were for female patients with 6,630 incidents, equating to 73 per cent, compared to 2,500 for men.

Women underwent 76 per cent of bariatric surgery procedures performed by the NHS during 2014-15, according to the latest figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

During 2014-15, 6,030 bariatric surgery procedures were recorded in total with 4,590 procedures carried out on women, compared to 1,440 for men.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Obesity a new threat to South Africa

Durban - South Africa has an obesity epidemic on its hands - and it is women who are most at risk to develop diseases associated with carrying too much weight.

Researchers at Priceless (Priority Cost Effective Lessons for System Strengthening South Africa) SA, a research unit hosted by Wits University School of Public Health, have warned that obesity-related diseases now rival HIV/Aids as the biggest killer of South Africans.

According to Professor Karen Hofman, director at Priceless, 13.8 percent of deaths in South Africa are caused by Aids complications, while 13.1 percent of deaths are now caused by “non-communicative lifestyle diseases” such as heart disease and diabetes.

“South Africa has the highest prevalence of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa,” Hofman said.

According to the 2012 SA National Health and Nutrition Examination, 39 percent of women are obese, compared to 11 percent of the male population.

KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: “Being obese is detrimental to good health.”

Dhlomo said the country faced a danger as current efforts were concentrated on fighting HIV and tuberculosis, while non-communicable diseases were the new threat.

“Already in this country some 66 percent of women and 33 percent of men are overweight and our health care facilities are observing an increase of relatively young people suffering from high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, diabetes and several types of cancer,” he said.

KZN MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha said the government was concerned about the scourge of obesity in the country.

“A study conducted last year by the University of North West School of Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science, revealed that nearly two-thirds of the South African population is overweight.

“The study further revealed that 70 percent of women are overweight. It also highlighted the fact that South African children have the third-highest obesity rate in the world,” she said.

Combating obesity was one of the department’s aims because obesity contributed significantly to the decline of the country’s health status, Sibhidla-Saphetha said.

To help residents get healthy, the department would be investing R41.3 million in two core programmes that promote active and healthy lifestyles.

“Over the last four years, the department has installed 44 outdoor gyms in local municipalities. In 2016/17, the department will install a further 11 outdoor gyms,” she said.

“Fitness instructors trained by the department will service the centres with daily programmes of aerobics, jogging, walking, nutritional tips as well as assistance on the use of the gym equipment,” she said.

Shane Norris, researcher professor at Wits who works for the African Centre on Obesity Prevention, has spent 26 years studying the root causes of obesity.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

For poor children, two healthy meals a day can keep obesity away

Schoolchildren who receive a nutritious lunchtime meal are less likely to be overweight or suffer from childhood obesity. And those who receive both breakfast and lunch are three times less likely to suffer this fate.

Tackling childhood obesity is important because it may result in adult obesity and these children developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease later in life.

Obesity is not necessarily driven by overeating, as is commonly thought. Children can also develop obesity when they are eating poor quality and inexpensive food that may be high in fats and refined carbohydrates.

Globally, about 44 million children are overweight or obese. In South Africa, about 28% of children between the ages of two and 14 are overweight or obese.

Lizzy Buchan: Stop blame and get back to basics to fix obesity

These are words no parent wants to hear, as no one wants to be told that they are responsible for their child suffering from a plethora of health problems as well as pervasive social stigmas.

It was the implication earlier this week, when Glasgow University published an interesting piece of research exploring the link between certain parenting practices and child obesity levels.

The scientists found mothers with lower levels of formal education were more likely to have children with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), as their families were more likely to eat in front of the TV or to have less formally structured meal times.

While this might not be shocking to some, it shows we have gone so far in the wrong direction that we need to learn the basics all over again.

Obesity is the new cancer, the buzz issue that everyone is talking about.

Scientists have uncovered links to a threatening list of illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological and psychological conditions such as dementia and depression.

We know that Scotland has a major problem with expanding waistlines, as around 65 per cent of adults were found to be overweight or obese in 2014.

Link between obesity, kidney cancer identified

Receptors for leptin, a protein hormone, may be associated with tumor recurrence in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), providing further understanding about molecular links between obesity and RCC tumor formation and prognosis, according to a study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings are being presented April 18 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) in New Orleans.

The leptin receptors, called LEPR, were found to be hypermethylated in tumors in a study involving 240 newly diagnosed and previously untreated Caucasian RCC patients. Methylation is a mechanism by which cells control gene expression and both hypomethylation and hypermethylation are known to play roles in silencing of tumor suppressor genes or over-expression of oncogenes in cancer cells. LEPR was one of 20 obesity-related genes that the research team examined.

"Obesity is an established risk factor for RCC with more than 40 percent of these cases attributed to excessive body weight," said Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Epidemiology and principal investigator for the study. "Growing evidence suggests that obesity also may be associated with the prognosis of RCC. The molecular mechanism LEPR and two other genes, NPY and LEP, are involved in RCC tumorigenesis. LEPR methylation in tumors is associated with recurrence in RCC patients and thus, LEPR may provide a functional link between obesity and RCC."

The study evaluated the association between methylation of 20 obesity-related genes and RCC. For the discovery portion of the study, 63 tissue pairs of RCC tumors and normal adjacent tissues from the surrounding kidney were used. An additional 177 pairs were included for the validation component of the study.

The patients were mostly males with an average age of 59 years who had never smoked. Most of the patients had clear cell RCC and were at the earliest stage of disease.

"Patients were classified into high- and low-LEPR methylation groups," said Julia Mendoza-Perez, Ph.D., a visiting scientist of Epidemiology at MD Anderson who presented the findings at AACR. "We found that high LEPR methylation was associated with a significantly higher risk of tumor recurrence."

The results were adjusted by age, gender, pathologic stage of disease, grade, smoking status, body mass index, hypertension and histology.

"In addition, high LEPR methylation in tumors was associated with more advanced tumor features, such as high pathologic stage, high grade, and clear cell RCC histology," said Wu.

The researchers add that future studies are needed to further understand the biology underlying the ties between LEPR methylation and RCC recurrence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Soaring obesity in women causes womb cancer cases to DOUBLE in just 20 years

Obesity is fuelling a massive jump in the number of women suffering womb cancer.
The number of patients diagnosed with the disease has almost doubled in 20 years, correlating alongside a spike in womb cancer rates, Cancer Research UK warned.
From 1993 to 1995, around 19 women in every 100,000 developed womb cancer in the UK, rising to 29 women in every 100,000 by 2011-13 (the most recent figures available).
Around 9,000 women are now diagnosed with womb cancer every year in the UK - up from around 4,800 new cases a year 20 years ago.
It kills around 2,000 women every year.
Professor Jonathan Ledermann, director of the Cancer Research UK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre, said: 'It's worrying that womb cancer cases are going up so sharply.
'We don't know all the reasons why. But we do know that about a third of cases are linked to being overweight so it's no surprise to see the increases in womb cancer cases echo rising obesity levels.
'The good news is that thanks to research and improved treatments, survival has improved.
'In the 1970s, almost six in 10 women diagnosed with the disease survived for at least 10 years. Now almost eight in 10 women survive.
'But we need more research to understand the biology of the disease better and to know more about how it is caused so that we can improve the treatment of these women as well as preventing more cases.'
In January, Cancer Research UK warned that almost 700,000 more people could develop cancer in the next 20 years due to being overweight or obese.

Monday, April 11, 2016

We are NOT to blame for being OBESE, claims health expert

I DON'T know exactly what qualifies as a "superhuman effort" but when I hear that phrase I tend to picture someone who has dived into a freezing lake to save a child or lifted a heavy car off a crushed cyclist. I don't think of someone who refuses an extra helping of pudding.

In the mind of the Government's health tsar Susan Jebb, however, that mere act is sufficient to elevate someone to the status of Batman, Spiderman or some other fantasy hero. "Obesity has increased greatly over the last few decades," she said last week.

"That is not a national collapse of willpower. It's something about our environment that has changed. You need in some cases a superhuman effort to reduce your food intake."

It is not our fault if we get fat, she asserts. We should blame those dastardly food companies and retailers who line the high streets with burger shops and put sweets next to the tills.

How can we be expected to walk past such temptation without succumbing? I don't doubt that some people find it harder than others to know when to stop eating. However there is ultimately only one cause of obesity: not slow metabolism, not faulty genes but eating too much.

Unless you are being force-fed like a goose bred for paté de foie gras it is entirely within your control to monitor what you eat. Virtually all packaged food now comes with details of calorific content so it is not too hard to work out if you are exceeding a sensible daily intake of food.

If Jebb, who also serves as professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, thinks we can't be expected to have the willpower to turn down sugary snacks, from what else does she think we should be absolved: drinking too much, taking drugs, shoplifting, groping women on the Tube, hitting people we don't like? Civilised life becomes utterly impossible if we are not expected to exercise willpower and control our behaviour. Exercising selfrestraint is not superhuman, it is just human.

THE trouble is, it isn't only Jebb who seems to have this view of humans as pathetic creatures who bear no responsibility for their own actions. It has now become the ruling philosophy of many policy-makers and do-gooders.

In 2013 the American Medical Association voted to classify obesity as a disease against the advice of an expert panel that had warned of the consequences.

Activity equivalent calorie labelling to fight obesity

If pictorial warnings on tobacco products help in effectively conveying the harsh reality of the effects of tobacco and increase the awareness among users and potential users, there is a strong case to change the way food items are labelled, too. Instead of merely stating that a particular food item has a certain amount of calories, there is a greater possibility that people would change their eating habits if the labels contained information on equivalent exercise required to burn the calories contained in the food item, the Royal Society of Public Health, U.K., says.

“Giving consumers an immediate link between foods’ energy content and physical activity might help to reduce obesity,” Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive at the Royal Society of Public Health writes in The BMJ.

There is little information that current information found on food and drink packaging, including “traffic light” labelling, has any effect on consumption behaviour. “Packaging should not only provide nutritional information but should also help people to change behaviour,” she notes.

The Royal Society for Public Health has called for the introduction of “activity equivalent” calorie labelling. The prominent pictorial icons placed alongside existing front-of-pack information would contain symbols that show the minutes of several different physical activities that would be required to burn off the calories individuals consume in the product. “The aim is to prompt people to be more mindful of the energy they consume and how these calories relate to various activities in their everyday lives, to encourage them to be more physically active,” she writes. “Those from lower socioeconomic societal groups often have lower nutritional knowledge, and health literacy. Information on food must be presented in a medium that can be understood by all sections of society, regardless of social class or economic situation. It is known that consumers understand symbols more easily than numeric information which suggests activity equivalent calorie labels may provide an easier reference for people less able to decipher current front-of-pack labels,” the RSPH position paper notes.

For example, instead of merely stating that a can of carbonated drinks contains 138 calories, mentioning that it would take a person of average age and weight about 26 minutes of walk to burn 138 calories contained in the can of drink will be direct and more effective. “Given its simplicity, activity equivalent calorie labelling offers a recognisable reference that is accessible to everyone,” Cramer writes.

“Initial studies show that this approach can change behaviour by reducing intake or modifying choice” she notes. The Royal Society of Public Health got important and positive feedback from people on activity equivalent labelling. For instance, public polling by the society has shown that almost half (44 per cent) of people find current front of pack information confusing. And almost two-third (63 per cent) of people said they would support the introduction of activity equivalent labelling. After viewing activity equivalent calorie labels compared with current traffic light front-of-pack information, people were over three times more likely to indicate that they would undertake physical activity. A body of evidence indicates that even a modest increase in physical activity can have significant health benefits. For instance, a brisk 20 minute walk each day has the potential to lower a person’s risk of premature death by between 16-30 per cent.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Centre planning sugar tax to fight obesity, diabetes

NEW DELHI: Junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages will soon be taxed higher and subjected to tougher advertising norms. The government plans these measures to control the growing incidence of diabetes in the country.
The health ministry and the central food safety regulator are working on a proposal to cut consumption of unhealthy food and beverages, mainly among children. For, these are known to be responsible for the burden of diabetes cases and obesity. An inter-ministerial consultation on the matter took place in February .
"There is a serious effort to control non-communicable diseases, mainly diabetes and cancer. We have a multisectoral action plan and consultations are on with different ministries," a senior health ministry official said. The ministry is compiling feedback from ministries and will refer the proposal to the finance ministry and the PMO, he added.
There is consensus among ministries and departments on the need for stringent measures to contain the rising disease burden right from childhood, the official said.
Diabetes Foundation and Centre of Nutrition and Metabolic Research estimates show the annual per capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the country rose from around 2 litres per head in 1998 to 11 litres per head in 2014.

More Evidence That Obesity Is A Global Catastrophe In Slow Motion

Sometimes it is harder to see things that move in slow motion. Perhaps if the global obesity epidemic moved any faster, it would garner an emergency response similar to Ebola, Zika, and other infectious disease epidemics that have gripped the world in recent years. As two recent studies published in The Lancet and authored by the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Risk Factor Collaboration have re-emphasized, the sheer magnitude of the global obesity epidemic dwarfs those of most other epidemics. The impact may be much greater as well, accounting for many more deaths  (over 3.4 million a year) and more costs (over $2 trillion a year). My colleague Larry Cheskin, MD, Associate Director of our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, describes the global obesity epidemic as “a catastrophe happening in slow motion.” But has everyone around the world responded as if the obesity epidemic were indeed a catastrophe ?

One of the Lancet studies confirmed that obesity and overweight is a growing problem worldwide, even in countries that in the past have had problems with lack of food. The study analyzed the change in body mass index (BMI) from 1698 studies among 19.2 million adults in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014. The researchers found that during this time period the average BMI increased from 21·7 to 24·2 kg/m2 among men and from 22·1 to 24·4 kg/m2 among women. Average BMIs among men were lowest (21·4 kg/m2) in central Africa and south Asia and highest in 29·2 kg/m2 in Polynesia and Micronesia. Among women, average BMIs were lowest (21·8 kg/m2) in south Asia to and also highest (32·2 kg/m2) in Polynesia and Micronesia. During the same time period, obesity prevalence more than tripled from 3·2% to 10·8% among men and more than doubled (6·4% to 14·9%) among women. By comparison, the prevalence of people are underweight, presumably from lack of enough food, decreased from 13·8% to 8·8% among men and 14·6% to 9·7% among women.

The other Lancet study showed a substantial worldwide increase in diabetes since 1980 by analyzing 751 studies that included nearly 4·4 million people. As the study’s senior author Professor Majid Ezzati form Imperial College  explained,“obesity is the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes and our attempts to control rising rates of obesity have so far not proved successful. Identifying people who are at high risk of diabetes should be a particular priority since the onset can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes, diet or medication.” The study found that between 1980 and 2014, diabetes prevalence more than doubled from 4·3% to 9·0% among men and climbed by over 50% from 5·0% to 7·9% among women. This corresponded to the number of adults with diabetes worldwide nearly quadrupling from 108 million to 422 million. In 2014, northwestern Europe has the lowest diabetes rates. Polynesia and Micronesia has the highest (affecting nearly a quarter of adults), followed by Melanesia and the Middle East and north Africa. While not all diabetes cases are related to obesity, obesity is a major risk factor for the more common type of diabetes, Type II or adult-onset diabetes. And diabetes can have devastating health consequences such as heart problems, kidney disease, and stroke. (Of course, obesity can result in many other health problems besides diabetes.)

Obesity surgery linked to reduced pain, improved mobility

Many severely obese patients have less pain and better mobility in the first few years after weight loss surgery, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers followed more than 2,200 obese patients who had weight loss surgery. After one year, 58 percent of them reported less pain and 77 percent said they had better physical function.

By three years, the proportion of patients still reporting improvements in pain and physical function dropped significantly to 49 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Patients did, however, report consistent improvements in walking ability at one and three years, and those who started with knee and hip problems also reported lasting pain reductions and mobility increases around these joints.

While surgery remains more effective for lasting weight loss than alternatives such as dieting and exercising, the findings suggest that not all surgical patients will get the same results, said lead study author Wendy King, a public health researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

The amount of weight lost after the surgery, rather than the type of surgery, was "consistently related to improvements in pain and function," King said by email.

Globally, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint disorders and certain cancers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Global obesity is pushing the world to a 'crisis point'

For the first time, the world has more obese people than underweight, a new report says. The change presents health challenges for the two fattest countries — China and the U.S. — and threatens to divert resources from countries where low body weight remains a problem, the BBC says.

Reporting on the study published April 2 in The Lancet, the BBC said the number of obese people had risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, creating a global "crisis point," according to lead researcher Majid Ezzati, a professor in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

If trends continue, a fifth of the world's population will be obese by 2025, researchers said.

"Global obesity prevalence will reach 18 percent in men and surpass 21 percent in women; severe obesity will surpass 6 percent in men and 9 percent in women. Nonetheless, underweight remains prevalent in the world's poorest regions, especially in south Asia," the report said.

The World Health Organization blames increased consumption of high-fat, energy-dense foods, coupled with inactivity caused by modern lifestyles, for the rise in obesity.

Children aged under five eating too many calories increasing risk of obesity says study

University College London study also found under fives eat too much salt and miss out on vitamins

Children under the age of five are eating too many calories, too much salt and missing out on vitamins, experts have warned.

High intake of protein and too many calories overall raises their risk of obesity, while too much salt could “set taste preference for the future” and put them at risk of high blood pressure and strokes in later life.

Researchers also urged parents to follow Government guidelines on giving children up to the age of five supplements to boost levels of iron and vitamin D.

Their study found youngsters were woefully lacking in essential vitamins.

The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, examined data for 2,336 children from one of the UK’s largest dietary datasets for toddlers, the Gemini twin birth cohort.

Monday, April 4, 2016

There are More Obese People in the World Than Underweight People, New Study Reveals

A new study revealed that over 640 million people globally are considered to be obese, now outnumbering people who are considered to be underweight.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet, analyzed population-based studies that had measured the height and weight of adults aged 18 years and older.

The research used 1,698 population-based data sources, with more than 19.2 million adult participants, consisting of 9.9 million men and 9.3 million women, from 186 countries.
The study applied a Bayesian hierarchical model to the data to estimate trends from 1975 to 2014 in mean body mass Index (BMI).
BMI, as per a Reuters report, is an indication of whether a person is of healthy weight. This index is computed by dividing the weight in kilogram and height in meter squared.
A BMI score of over 30 is considered to be obese, while a score above 40 is considered to be morbidly obese.
The researchers discovered that in the past four decades, the number of obese people in the world has increased from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014.

Poor diet and lack of exercise accelerate the onset of age-related conditions in mice

Could an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise be making you age faster? Researchers at Mayo Clinic believe there is a link between these modifiable lifestyle factors and the biological processes of aging. In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that a poor diet and lack of exercise accelerated the onset of cellular senescence and, in turn, age-related conditions in mice. Results appear today in Diabetes.

Senescent cells are cells that contribute to diseases and conditions associated with age. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging found that exercise prevents premature senescent cell accumulation and protects against the damaging effects of an unhealthy diet, including deficiencies in physical, heart, and metabolic function, equivalent to diabetes.

"We think at both a biological level and a clinical level, poor nutrition choices and inactive lifestyles do accelerate aging," says Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., director of the Center on Aging's Healthy and Independent Living Program and senior author of the study. "So now we've shown this in very fine detail at a cellular level, and we can see it clinically. And people need to remember that even though you don't have the diagnosis of diabetes or the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease today when you're in midlife, the biology underlying those processes is hard at work."

In the study, researchers introduced mice to either a normal, healthy diet or a diet that they termed a "fast food diet" -- one that was high in saturated fat and cholesterol, along with a sugar-sweetened beverage. Mice on the fast food diet showed harmful changes in health parameters, including body weight and composition, increasing their fat mass by nearly 300 percent over the course of about four months. The fat mass accumulated largely in the midsection surrounding internal organs, an area that is often linked to a number of diseases related to obesity.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

More obese people in the world than underweight, says study

There are now more adults in the world classified as obese than underweight, a major study has suggested.
The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and published in The Lancet, compared body mass index (BMI) among almost 20 million adult men and women from 1975 to 2014.
It found obesity in men has tripled and more than doubled in women.
Lead author Prof Majid Ezzat said it was an "epidemic of severe obesity" and urged governments to act.
The study, which pooled data from adults in 186 countries, found that the number of obese people worldwide had risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014.
Meanwhile the number of underweight people had risen from 330 million to 462 million over the same period.
'Crisis point'
Global obesity rates among men went up from 3.2% in 1975 to 10.8%, while among women they rose from 6.4 % in 1975 to 14.9%.
This equates to 266 million obese men and 375 million obese women in the world in 2014, the study said.
The research also predicted that the probability of reaching the World Health Organization's global obesity target - which aims for no rise in obesity above 2010 levels by 2025 - would be "close to zero".

We now live in a world in which more people are obese than underweight, major global analysis reveals

In the past 40 years, there has been a startling increase in the number of obese people worldwide -- rising from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, according to the most comprehensive analysis of trends in body mass index to date.

The age-corrected proportion of obese men has more than tripled, and the proportion of obese women has more than doubled since 1975. At the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell more modestly--by around a third in both men and women.

In the past 40 years, there has been a startling increase in the number of obese people worldwide--rising from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, according to the most comprehensive analysis of trends in body mass index (BMI) to date, published in The Lancet.

The age-corrected proportion of obese men has more than tripled (3.2% to 10.8%), and the proportion of obese women has more than doubled (6.4% to 14.9%) since 1975. At the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell more modestly--by around a third in both men (13.8% to 8.8%) and women (14.6% to 9.7%).

Over the past four decades, the average age-corrected BMI increased from 21.7kg/m² to 24.2 kg/m² in men and from 22.1kg/m² to 24.4 kg/m² in women, equivalent to the world's population becoming on average 1.5kg heavier each decade. If the rate of obesity continues at this pace, by 2025 roughly a fifth of men (18%) and women (21%) worldwide will be obese, and more than 6% of men and 9% of women will be severely obese (35 kg/m² or greater).

However, excessively low body weight remains a serious public health issue in the world's poorest regions, and the authors warn that global trends in rising obesity should not overshadow the continuing underweight problem in these poor nations. For example, in south Asia almost a quarter of the population are still underweight, and in central and east Africa levels of underweight still remain higher than 12% in women and 15% in men.

"Over the past 40 years, we have changed from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight," explains senior author Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, London, UK. "If present trends continue, not only will the world not meet the obesity target of halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity at its 2010 level by 2025, but more women will be severely obese than underweight by 2025."

He adds, "To avoid an epidemic of severe obesity, new policies that can slow down and stop the worldwide increase in body weight must be implemented quickly and rigorously evaluated, including smart food policies and improved health-care training."

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Weight loss and health: 4 tips more useful than 'eat less, move more' from nutrition experts

What nutrition experts want you to know about eating healthily - including the foods they would not touch

Navigating the avalanche of information available on how to stay stay fit and healthy can feel exhausting, and make the urge to tuck into a friendly-looking kebab or doughnut even more tempting.

And while the mantra "eat less, move more" is a helpful starting point, it leaves many questions unanswered.

We have asked four diet and nutrition experts for the most important factors to remember when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, to stop you from desperately grasping at the latest diet fad every few months.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

If the premise of a miracle diet falls apart under the weight of a little scrutiny, it probably won't work in the long term. Necking a bottle of wine, eating chips and gorging on chocolate to stay healthy and lean long-term? Unlikely.

Aisling Pigott, a dietician and spokeswomen for the British Dietetics Association (BDA), stresses: “There is no such thing as a magic answer when it comes to a healthy diet.

"We live in a world where we are so keen for ‘quick fixes’ and fast solutions. This is not helpful for people trying to tackle the complex relationships and routines they may have with food, eating and health."

Beans, Chickpeas May Help With Weight Loss: Study

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils: Humble foods that may pack a punch for weight loss, Canadian researchers report.

A new analysis of data from 21 clinical trials on these foods — collectively known as “pulses” — finds that they can help dieters feel full, and shed unwanted pounds.

“Though the weight loss was small, our findings suggest that simply including pulses in your diet may help you lose weight, and we think more importantly, prevent you from gaining it back after you lose it,” study lead author Russell de Souza, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said in a hospital news release.

One expert wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“These types of legumes are some of the most underappreciated foods around,” said Dana Angelo White, a nutritionist and assistant professor of sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

“They are full of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals,” she noted. “It makes sense they would help facilitate weight loss and reduce cholesterol when eaten regularly.”

The Canadian team also noted that pulses have a “low glycemic index” — meaning that they break down slowly in the digestive tract. As such, they can be consumed instead of animal protein or unhealthy fats at mealtimes.

The trials included in the new analysis involved a total of 940 adults. When participants started eating one serving (3/4 cup) of pulses a day, they lost an average of 0.75 pounds over six weeks without making any special effort to avoid other types of foods, the researchers said.

According to de Souza’s team, prior research has shown that eating bean, lentils and other pulses makes people feel fuller.

That’s key to weight loss — 90 percent of weight loss programs fail, due in part to the influence of hunger and food cravings, according to de Souza.

“This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake,” he said.

These foods also appear to help lower blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, he added.

Antonella Apicella, an outpatient dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study, “supports the notion that foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and dry peas may reduce body fat and may contribute to weight loss, even if calories were not restricted.”

She agreed that pulses do seem to help people feel fuller, sooner, and the fiber these foods contain “may reduce the absorption of fat.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Obesity on the rise in Mumbai: Survey

MUMBAI: A study has shown how Mumbaikars are under the dual threat of obesity and hypertension.

A survey by the Indus Health Plus on 35,662 people, who came for preventive health checks, found that 15% were under the threat of obesity and related complications. About 35-40% between the age group of 25-45 years were leading a sedentary lifestyle, had easy access to high-calorie processed food and overdependence on gadgets, all of which put them at a high risk of becoming obese. About 20% had both hypertension and obesity.

"There is sharp decline in physical activities among population residing in Mumbai, which doubles the risk for obesity. Trends have shown people are prone to increased waist circumference which makes them prone to co-morbid diseases like hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc. In youngsters suffering with obesity, the chances of developing heart diseases and diabetes increase by 3-4%," said Amol Naikawadi, preventive healthcare specialist at the Indus Health Plus.

Only 3-4% of the surveyed population ate a healthy diet that included salads and green vegetables. Around 30% of those who were obese between the age groups of 35-45 years had complaints of joint pain, feeling of laziness and tiredness.
A senior doctor said that obesity is a consequence of complex interaction of genetics, diet metabolism and physical inactivity. It can give rise to several health problems, including hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, and osteoarthritis. "Desk jobs combined with lack of exercise has increased the incidence of obesity in the city," the doctor said. According to the WHO, a third of the world's population is overweight and one-fifth are obese.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Obesity is one of biggest problem in U.S. – Beaumont Health News

Obesity is still rising among American adults, despite more than a decade of public-awareness campaigns and other efforts to get people to watch their weight, and women have now overtaken men in the obese category, new government research shows.

For the last several years, experts thought the nation’s alarming, decades-long rise in obesity had leveled off

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the obesity rate has climbed to nearly 38 percent of adults, up from 32 percent about a decade earlier.”This is a striking finding” and suggests that a situation that was thought to be stable is getting worse, said William Dietz, an obesity expert at George Washington University.
Experts said they had no explanation for why the rate appears to be rising.The report, based primarily on a survey conducted in 2013-14, also found the obesity rate was significantly higher for women, at 38 percent, compared with 34 percent for men. The rates for men and women had been roughly the same for about a decade.

Obesity is considered one of the nation’s leading public health problems. Until the early 1980s, only about 1 in 6 adults was obese, but the rate climbed dramatically until it hit about 1 in 3 around a decade ago.

“Clearly it is a huge issue in Philadelphia,” said Cheryl Bettigole, the city health department’s director of chronic disease prevention. She was surprised by the new national numbers and did not have equivalent new data for the city. “We see obesity everywhere these days, but we see high rates in poor neighborhoods and communities of color.”

Obesity rates in the more affluent suburban counties tend to be lower.

Philadelphia has tried to reduce obesity through a wide-ranging series of initiatives in recent years, from working with corner stores to increase their selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to a sort of fresh-foods supplement to food stamps. Participants can spend $5 at a farmers’ market and get back $2 worth of “Philly Food Bucks” for the purchase of fresh produce.

While obesity rates among adults in the city have continued to rise, there is some early evidence of success among children

Obesity rates among schoolchildren dropped by 6.3 percent between the 2006-07 and 2012-13 school years, and even more among severely obese and African American children.The new CDC figures come from a regular government survey that involves not only interviewing people about their girth but also actually weighing them. Because of that, it is considered the gold standard for measuring the nation’s waistline.

However, it has about 5,000 participants each year – far fewer than some other federal surveys that ask about weight. Generally, it can be harder to draw reliable national conclusions from a smaller survey.

Like Philadelphia, the federal government has undertaken campaigns to encourage people to eat better and exercise. New federal rules have been adopted to remove artificial trans fats from grocery store foods and to require chain restaurants to post calorie counts, though those have not gone into effect yet.

Meanwhile, soda consumption has dropped in recent years, and fast-food chains have adopted healthier menus.

The widening gap between men and women seems to be driven by what’s happening among blacks and Hispanics, said the study’s lead author, the CDC’s Cynthia Ogden.

Obesity rates for white men and white women remain very close

But for blacks, the female obesity rate has soared to 57 percent, far above the male rate of 38 percent. The gender gap is widening among Hispanics, too – 46 percent for women, 39 percent for men.

The report also looked at obesity in children but did not see much change. For people ages 2 to 19, the rate has been holding at about 17 percent over the last decade or so.

Health officials have been especially focused on obesity in children

A CDC report last year noted a possible glimmer of hope: a decline in obesity among children ages 2 to 5. Their rate had fallen to about 8 percent in the 2011-12 survey, down from 14 percent a decade earlier.

In a piece of good news, the new, 2013-14 report suggests that the decline among toddlers was real and not a statistical fluke. The rate was found to be holding pretty much steady around 9 percent.

The CDC measures obesity by calculating body mass index, a ratio of weight to height. For adults, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 30 or higher is obese. According to CDC definitions, a 5-foot-10 man is overweight at 174 pounds and obese at 209.

Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009). While recent estimates suggest that the overall rates of obesity have plateaued or even declined among some groups, obesity is widespread and continues to be a leading public health problem in the U.S. (Ogden et al., 2014; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2015; Wen et al., 2012). In addition, severe obesity is a serious and increasing problem among children, adolescents, and adults (Fryar et al., 2012; Skinner & Skelton, 2014). Plus, substantial disparities exist based on demographics (e.g., race-ethnicity, gender), geographic region, and socioeconomic status (SES). (See the section on the Relationship Between Poverty and Obesity for more information on SES disparities.)

Adult Overweight and Obesity in the U.S.

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Ogden et al., 2014). In general, rates of overweight and obesity are higher for African-American and Hispanic women than Caucasian women, higher for Hispanic men than Caucasian and African-American men, higher in the South and Midwest, and tend to increase with age (Ogden et al., 2014; Gregg et al., 2009; Sherry et al., 2010). Research also shows that the heaviest Americans have become even heavier the past decade (Beydoun & Wang, 2009).

Racial-Ethnic Disparities
Recent national data show that 82.0 percent of Black women and 77.2 percent of Hispanic women are overweight or obese compared to 63.2 percent of White women (Ogden et al., 2014). In addition, over half of Black women are obese (versus 37.1 percent of Black men and 32.8 percent of White women) (Ogden et al., 2014). Extreme obesity continues to be higher among women (8.3 percent) than men (4.4 percent), especially among Black women who have more than double the rates of extreme obesity as White and Hispanic women (16.4 percent versus 7.4 percent and 7.6 percent) (Ogden et al., 2014). Rates of overweight or obesity are higher for Hispanic men (78.6 percent) compared to Black men (69.2 percent) and White men (71.4 percent) (Ogden et al., 2014).

Bulging babies: 3 or more antibiotics before age 2 may spur obesity

For decades, farmers have known that the quickest way to fatten up young, healthy livestock is to feed them antibiotics—the drugs will even plump animals on a diet. It’s unclear why the practice, called growth promotion, works. Scientists have a range of hypotheses, including that the drugs may kill off gut microbes that compete for calories or knock back mild infections that would otherwise take energy to fight off. Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: growth promotion spurs drug-resistance in bacteria. And with the rise of infections from such superbugs in people—a major threat to public health—the practice is now squarely discouraged.

Yet, despite the long-held practice in farms, researchers are just beginning to harvest data on whether the drugs have the same effect on human babies in clinics. So far, much of the data—but not all—shows some concerning similarities.

Looking at a population-representative sample of nearly 22,000 children in the United Kingdom, researchers found that giving children three or more courses of antibiotics within the first two years of life modestly increased the likelihood that they would be obese at age four. The study, being published in Gastroenterology, follows several smaller studies that hinted at such a connection, particularly for antibiotics used in the first six months of life.

“Collectively, we’re starting to recognize that maybe there’s more to avoiding antibiotics than just the antibiotic resistance problem,” gastroenterologist Frank Scott, of the University of Colorado-Denver, told Ars. “No doubt that that’s probably the biggest issue facing us right now,” he added. Still, Scott said it’s important to look at these subtler, potentially life-long health effects.

Past studies looking into this issue found similar effects on weight gain in childhood and beyond, but these often relied on parents' recall of how many antibiotics their children took, used much smaller pools of kids, or showed mixed results. Scott and colleagues set out to conduct a cleaner, larger study that relied on comprehensive electronic medical records that followed kids for years.

Of the 21,714 children with complete records in the study, about 64 percent were given antibiotics in the first two years of life. The researchers then adjusted the data for factors known to influence childhood obesity, including maternal and sibling obesity, maternal diabetes, mode of delivery (C-section, for example), socioeconomic status, year and country of birth, and urban dwelling.

Scientists have discovered an unbelievably simple new way to fight childhood obesity

Children in America are steadily getting more and more obese. The numbers are staggering. In 1980, 7 percent of American children aged 6-11 years were obese. By 2012, that figure more than doubled, to 18 percent. During the same period, adolescent obesity rose from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent.

Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, who has set his sights on tackling America’s obesity epidemic, has singled out the problem of childhood obesity in particular. Last October, he welcomed two dozen children from the I’m A Star Foundation to the nation’s capital to present nearly a year’s worth of research on the topic and ask their suggestions to combat it.

In his speech to Murthy, Aaron Johnson, Jr., 13, a seventh-grade student at James Weldon Johnson Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, said the main hurdle to overcoming childhood obesity was the fact that kids aren’t involved in the solutions.

“Our concern is that the vast majority of the ‘call to actions’ and strategic plans for childhood obesity are written by adults, shared by adults, discussed by adults, and the information never gets out to the people most impacted: the children,” Aaron said.

One of the main battlefronts in the war against childhood obesity are the nation’s schools. After all, kids are in school for around eight hours every weekday in a controlled sitution.

Monday, March 28, 2016

‘Cycling is our best hope against obesity’

Britain has an almighty weight problem, and we hear time and again that exercise can’t provide the solution — but I disagree.

OK, it’s true that the effectiveness of exercise for weight loss varies markedly between individuals, but for very many people cycling really is the ideal activity for keeping body mass in check.

Recreational cycling is low-impact and requires a high rate of energy expenditure over a relatively long duration. A Metabolic Equivalent or ‘MET’ is a measure of the amount of oxygen, and by association energy, consumed per minute during an activity, relative to rest. One MET equates to the energy required to do nothing.

>>> More should be done to make cycling a ‘safe and normal activity’ in Britain

Moderate-intensity cycling uses about eight METs, while cycling at 14-20mph uses approximately 10 to 16 METs. Clearly, then, cycling is excellent for burning off surplus calories.

Of course, food intake needs to be controlled, too. However, trying to lose weight solely via dietary means will likely result in failure.

>>> Can you be fat but fit?

Humans evolved to seek food; our drive to do so was essential to our survival — it’s hard-wired. Dieting (especially fad diets) is not a public health solution for societies where more than half of adults are overweight — typically, weight lost through dieting is soon regained.

With this in mind, the potential for cycling to contribute to a negative energy balance should make it a key strategy.

Sugar, Obesity and Alzheimer’s: A National Crisis

The CDC is correct in calling attention to a health condition, prediabetes, afflicting 86 million Americans. Laudably, they have publicized lifestyle programs in community centers, pharmacies, faith based organizations and online to reverse this condition.  Prediabetes is officially defined by the American Diabetic Association as having an elevated A1C level of 5.7 or more, but less than 6.5, the level at which diabetes is diagnosed. A1C measures blood sugar over the past two or three months. The goalposts for diagnosis have shifted; not long ago you needed to have a level of 6.0 to be called prediabetic and 7.0 to be diabetic. Diabetes can be prevented and in many instances reversed by proper nutrition and exercise.

The prevention of diabetes is extremely important as a public health measure. In the US, we will be spending billions of dollars on diabetes care in coming decades. There is increasing recognition that diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are inextricably related. In fact, the concept that Alzheimer’s is Type 3 diabetes has been around for a decade. Type 1 diabetes develops from childhood and Type 2 is adult onset (although many children are now getting Type 2 diabetes). The cost of Alzheimer’s in the US in 2015 was $226 billion. There are new initiatives for reversing Alzheimer’s, mainly with lifestyle modification. Blood sugar control is a central aspect of these programs. In the Bredesen protocol, which reversed 6 out of 7 cases of early Alzheimer’s in a pilot program, the AIC goals was 5.3, much stricter than the current prediabetes marker.

In fact, even before blood sugar problems are detectable, there can be dysfunction in the beta cells of the pancreas causing insulin resistance.  Before diabetes with actual insulin deficiency develops, high insulin levels can occur due to lack of sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is the major cause of obesity. The epidemic of obesity, with a large percentage of the U.S. youth unfit for military service, has profound implications for our combat readiness and national security. Obesity is also a big factor in the poor U.S. ranking in maternal mortality statistics. Insulin resistance can damage the brain even before blood sugar rises, and is a contributing factor to cancer, cardiovascular disorders and hormonal infertility.

New Report Shows Hunger and Obesity Rising in Asia

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO), in a new report, warn Southeast Asia faces a child nutrition crisis amid increasing numbers of under nourished and obese children despite decades of economic growth. The agencies are calling for greater regulation of junk food and limiting sugary drinks for children, as well as tackling malnutrition that has resulted in chronic levels of stunted children living in poverty.

The joint UNICEF and WHO report, released Monday, says Southeast Asia is facing mounting health costs as a result of child malnutrition and obesity – a double burden – increasingly apparent in the middle income countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

The report says in Indonesia alone child malnutrition undermines child development, leading to non-communicable diseases at an annual cost of $248 billion a year.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Antibiotics consumption before age two can up childhood obesity risk

Administration of three or more courses of antibiotics before a child reaches the age of two is linked to increased risk of early childhood obesity, says a new study.
“Antibiotics have been used to promote weight gain in livestock for several decades and our research confirms that antibiotics have the same effect in humans,” said Frank Irving Scott from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
“Our results do not imply that antibiotics should not be used when necessary, but rather encourage both physicians and parents to think twice about antibiotic usage in infants in the absence of well-established indications,” Scott added in the paper published in the journal Gastroenterology.
The researchers performed a large population-representative cohort study in the Britain to assess the association between antibiotic exposure before age 2 and obesity at the age of 4 years.
The findings showed that children with antibiotic exposure had a 1.2 percent absolute and 25 percent relative increase in the risk of early childhood obesity.
Risk was strongest when considering repeat exposures to antibiotics, particularly with three or more courses.
“Our work supports the theory that antibiotics may progressively alter the composition and function of the gut microbiome, thereby predisposing children to obesity as is seen in livestock and animal models,” Scott explained.
Antibiotics are prescribed during an estimated 49 million pediatric outpatient visits per year in the US.
A large portion of these prescriptions (more than 10 million annually) are written for children without clear indication, despite increased awareness of the societal risks of antibiotic resistance, as well as other tangible risks, including dermatologic, allergic and infectious complications; inflammatory bowel disease; and autoimmune conditions.
Further research is required to assess whether these findings remain into adolescence and young adulthood, as well as to determine if early antibiotic usage leads to later-onset obesity.

Leaders: More tax, less sweet talk to end obesity epidemic

WE ALREADY demonise fat, now we must ensure we treat sugar as its twin evil– and, complicated as it may be, we should tax the stuff

Obesity is the biggest health risk we face. We can’t stop cancer and dementia, but obesity is a condition of our own making.

Efforts have been made to educate people about the dangers of obesity, in an attempt to change habits, but this has not halted the worrying trend of those who are seriously overweight.

Official figures show 65 per cent of adults and more than 30 per cent of children in Scotland are now classified as either overweight or obese. There was an almost 10 per cent rise in the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 who were overweight or obese in Scotland between 1995 and 2012.

So despite on-going pledges from politicians and health workers, Scotland is a nation that is piling on the pounds. This is despite measures to promote healthy eating and exercise in schools and workplaces.

We’ve now seen a more direct measure, in the sugar tax. Will it be enough? No. Excess consumption of sugar is not confined to soft drinks. Take a look at how much chocolate will be consumed this weekend. We brush that off, because it is a tradition. But by doing so, we make excess sugar intake acceptable.

Because of the extent of the health threat, we have to now consider further measures to control consumption. Regulating the amount of sugar in foods has to be part of that.

There is always regret over prescriptive measures, but this is for our own good. And it can be done. Attitudes can change.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Queensland doctor hits the road to tackle obesity epidemic

Leading by example, Mackay based gynaecologist, Dr Bill Boyd begun a 340-kilometre walk from Cairns to Townsville on Sunday.

Speaking to ABC Far North from the side of the Bruce Highway, Dr Boyd said obesity was Australia's number one health problem, and health professionals were just as prone to its effects as everyone else.

"We find ourselves sitting on one side of the consulting desk talking to people who've got obesity problems, and if we look as if we're not particularly fit ourselves [the message] doesn't ring too true," he said.

"Not only do we have obesity, but it is getting worse.

"There are no secrets, diet and exercise are the main ways to deal with it."

For the next 10 days Dr Boyd will be walking 30 kilometres a day, through rain, hail or shine, to reach his final destination.

On the way, he and his support driver, Des Burgess, will visit a number of the regional towns dotted along the Bruce Highway.

"We're hoping to catch up with some of our (medical practitioner) colleagues and anyone else that wants to stop and talk about the problem of obesity," Dr Boyd said.

"Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and then of course the increasing damage to hips and knees are all important [to talk about]."

He said more people needed to be aware of the problems a poor diet and a lack of exercise can have on long-term health.

Healthy food star rating tackling obesity

There's an awareness campaign this week for a star rating system for food that's part of the government's strategy to tackle child obesity.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew say the Health Star Rating system is one of 22 initiatives in the Childhood Obesity Plan launched in October 2015.
The voluntary labelling system uses star ratings of up to five stars to measure the overall nutritional content and healthiness of packaged foods.
Foods that are lower in saturated fat, sugar or sodium, and/or higher in fibre, protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts or legumes will have more stars.
Being overweight or obese is expected to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable risk to health in New Zealand in the next 12 months.

Guess what, having a younger sibling lowers obesity risk

Birth of a younger sibling makes a child engage in more 'active play', helping in maintaining a healthy BMI.

Becoming an elder brother or sister before pre-school days can lower a child’s risk of becoming obese, researchers suggest. They added that children who didn’t have a sibling are three times more likely to become obese by the first grade.
The birth of a sibling by the time a child reaches the first grade — or when the child is 2-4-years-old — can help the kid maintain a healthier body mass index (BMI). “Having younger siblings — compared with having older or no siblings — is associated with a lower risk of being overweight,” said senior author Julie Lumeng, paediatrician at University Of Michigan.
However, how the birth of a sibling can shape risk of obesity during childhood is unclear yet.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Placing 'water jets' in school cafeterias can help reduce child obesity, study suggests

Giving students access to cool, clear drinking water at lunch may be helpful in reducing obesity among children and teens, according to a study published in the March issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

The study, which was conducted in New York City’s public elementary and middle schools, found that installing large “water jets” (electrically cooled, large clear jugs with a push lever for fast dispensing) in cafeterias was associated with a small but significant average weight loss among students.

“Water jets could be an important part of the toolkit for obesity reduction techniques at the school setting,” the study’s authors conclude.

Obesity in children is a major public health issue in the United States. Nationwide, about 17 percent of children aged 2 through 19 — about 12.7 million children in all — are obese, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Being obese puts young people at increased risk of having high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea, as well as psychological problems such as depression and low self-esteem.

Young people who are obese are also more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, osteoarthritis and other chronic health problems when they become adults.

Study details
The researchers decided to conduct this study after they learned that New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of Education were going to increase access to drinking water at lunchtime by placing “water jets” in school cafeterias.

Water jets dispense a fast stream of water. Health officials and educators hoped the devices, which cost about $1,000 each, would encourage students to drink water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages during lunch. (High-calorie, non-milk beverages had already been banned from school vending machines.)

Between the school years 2008-2009 and 2012-2013 — the period of the current study — about 40 percent of the city’s 1,227 elementary and middle schools received the water jets, and 60 percent did not.

Artificial lights near homes linked to obesity in new study

Bright artificial lights which glare all night may cause residents of nearby homes to become obese, a recent study has suggested.

Researchers made the findings by analysing satellite images of artificial light at night (ALAN) taken by the US military alongside World Health Organisation data on obesity rates.

The team at the University of Haifa in Israel found a “statistically significant” link between a man or a woman being overweight or obese when living near ALAN.

N.A. Rybnikova of the University of Haifa in Israel told Reuters said that artificial light could cause people to eat after the natural dusk when metabolic processes in the body slow down.

It is believed that artificial light interferes with the body’s product of melatonin, which controls the sleep cycle.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Gestational diabetes on the rise, docs blame obesity and bad diet

A 27-year-old woman admitted to hospital pre-delivery had to undergo a complicated caesarean as she had gestational diabetes. The baby weighed 4.3 kg. The situation was tougher for a 31-year-old with gestational diabetes. She had to undergo a caesarean surgery and the baby was born with shoulder dystocia which causes injury to neck of the infant during delivery .
City gynaecologists report a higher incidence of pregnancyinduced diabetes, or gestational diabetes, among young women in urban areas mostly due to undisciplined lifestyle, improper diet and lack of exercise before and during pregnancy. "The diabetes that women get in the sixth month of pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Usually when pregnant women come for treatment we check for blood sugar and ask them to follow a certain diet and exercise. Also, pregnant women should not have sweets regularly. This pregnancy-induced diabetes is seen more in urban areas compared to rural areas," said Dr Shubha Rama Rao, head of OBG department at St Martha's Hospital. She sees at least 20 to 25 expecting mothers with gestational diabetes out of the 250 patients who visit her every week. Another 25% are inflicted with known diabetes, she added.
A recent study in Bengaluru by the Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST) found more than 15% of pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), even without a diabetic family history in case of some patients.
Dr Hema Divakar, gynaecologist and chairperson of ARTIST, said, "Indian population is more prone to diabetes which makes it one of the primary causes for gestational diabetes. Fat acts as a natural insulin resistant which increases the risk of diabetes, so obese women are more prone to GDM. Risks of GDM increases with age, so it is advised to conceive by late 20s or early 30s. Also, those with polycystic ovaries have greater chance of acquiring gestational diabetes."

Sharp rise in severely obese mothers giving birth ‘concerning’

Obesity rates highest among jobless and low-skilled women and smokers, notes study

A sharp rise in the number of severely obese mothers delivering babies in many Irish maternity hospitals is causing concern among doctors.
The number of severely obese mothers attending the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin grew by 48.5 per cent between 2009 and 2013, according to a recently published study. The Rotunda hospital has also seen a big increase in morbid obesity among its patients.
Obese mothers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and haemorrhaging after birth, and to require delivery by Caesarean section. Their children are at increased risk of being stillborn or delivered early and to experience obesity in later life.
The Coombe study found it was “concerning” that while the overall obesity level among mothers remained stable, the number of cases of severe obesity increased.
“The major increase in the absolute number of women classified as severely obese is a concern not only in terms of increased clinical risk but also in terms of the increased in technical challenges and economic costs for the maternity services,” say researchers from the Coombe and UCD’s centre of human reproduction.
The obesity rate among mothers from the 13 EU accession countries (mostly in Eastern Europe) was half that of mothers born in existing EU countries.

Can bright light at night lead to obesity?

Obesity rates may surge in places where artificial lights blaze all night compared to communities where people tend to live in darkness after the sun goes down, a recent study suggests.

To explore this connection, researchers analyzed U.S. military satellite images of nighttime illumination around the globe and country-level data from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the prevalence of overweight and obese people.

Artificial light at night contributed to excessive weight in men and women about as much as eating junk food, the research team reports in the International Journal of Obesity.

"Because of artificial light at night, we often eat in the wrong time, that is, after the natural dusk, when metabolic processes slow down," said N.A. Rybnikova of the University of Haifa in Israel.

The study doesn't prove light bulbs cause obesity, and scientists aren't yet certain how lamps or the glow from gadgets like tablets and televisions might influence how much people weigh, researchers caution.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Western University study finds obese women earn less money

Obesity hits women in the paycheque, but men don’t suffer the same financial consequences, Western University researchers have found.

The cost of obesity for Canadian women turns out to be about a four per cent reduction in hourly wages or 4.5 per cent less in annual salary, the study by researchers at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry found.

That meant from 2010-11, obese women earned an average of $18.90 an hour or $37,972.26 a year, while non-obese women earned on average $22 an hour or $42,492.67 a year.

The cost of being obese for men? Zero.

“It was surprising to see. There was absolutely no difference at all,” said Sisira Sarma, who led the research.

The findings suggest society in general doesn’t view being a big man as a bad thing, Sarma said.

Women aren’t as fortunate.

Sarma’s team drew on data from the National Population Health Survey between 2000 and 2011 for people aged 18 to 53.

India’s health minister sounds alarm over teen obesity, diabetes

The proportion of the country’s youth who are overweight has doubled since 2010 to 29 per cent, with more sedentary lifestyles and increased consumption of western-style food sharing much of the blame.

NEW DELHI—As India gets wealthier, its children are getting fatter, with the number of obese teenagers nearly doubling in the last five years, according to the country’s health minister.
Citing new national statistics, Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said 29 per cent of Indians aged 13 to 18 were counted as obese last year, compared with 16 per cent in 2010. Experts on Wednesday blamed a growing fondness for fast food along with an increase in sedentary activities.
“Earlier, children’s diets in most Indian households included a lot of vegetables and lentils,” said epidemiologist Sutapa Agarwal from the Public Health Foundation of India. “But families have started eating out more often, and when they do, it’s all pizzas and burgers and fries.”
Meanwhile, the country is still struggling with one of the world’s highest numbers of malnourished children. Hundreds of millions of people live in poverty with under $2 a day.

Urgency to beat obesity in Malaysia as waistlines expand

Malaysia continues its efforts to battle the bulge, after its last national health and morbidity survey revealed almost half of its adult population were either obese or overweight.

KUALA LUMPUR: At a rest stop along a Malaysian highway, the food court is covered in posters and guides on the calorie counts of different dishes.

It is one of 52 rest stops across the country that take part in the government's calorie awareness campaign, launched in February to educate Malaysians about the number of calories they are chowing down on every time they stop for a bite.

The campaign may be focused on rest stops but the government hopes it will spark a calorie consciousness among Malaysians, no matter where they eat.

"About 50 per cent of Malaysian citizens are at least overweight or obese,” said Malaysian Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam. “That's a figure that is too high."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it has seen a rapid spread of obesity across Asia; and Malaysia has not escaped the bulge.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Punjab has the Most Obese People, Kerala and Delhi Follow: Health Minister

As more and more medical and scientific journals come up with in-depth studies, the underlying causes of obesity are becoming clearer. Obesity is not just the aftermath of excessive eating but associated with lifestyle factors as well. In some cases, it is a product of lack of nutritious food coupled with processed food intake and inadequate physical activity, while others may experience it as a result of genetic predisposition. Time and again, the World Health Organisation has revised its index on the global obesity load. The McKinsey Global Institute consulting firm published a report a couple of years back, estimating the global cost of obesity to have risen to a whopping $2 trillion.

Closer home, Union Health Minister J P Nadda recently told the Rajya Sabha that Punjab has the highest number of obese people in the country, while men from Tripura and women from Meghalaya are the leanest. According to the estimated figures sourced from a 2005-06 National Family Health Survey, Tripura has only 4.8 per cent of men and 7.1 per cent of women as obese while in Meghalaya, only 5.9 per cent men and 5.3 per cent women are overweight.

A gut check for PCOS-related obesity

Modifying gut bacteria could be a treatment option for some of the symptoms associated with the widespread disease polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a recent study by San Diego State University researchers in collaboration with investigators from the University of California, San Diego. The study found that changes in gut bacteria are strongly associated with obesity and signs of diabetes in a mouse model that mimics PCOS.

PCOS affects approximately 10 percent of women worldwide, said SDSU biologist Scott Kelley, the study's lead author. PCOS is typically diagnosed in women that have increased levels of testosterone, menstrual cycle irregularity and cysts on the ovaries. In addition to a high incidence of infertility, women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Scientists have long known that gut bacteria aid in food digestion, make important vitamins and stimulate the immune system. Over the last decade, scientists have also discovered that people with obesity or diabetes have different bacteria in their guts than healthy people.

"What you see when you look at obesity," Kelley explained, "is large changes in specific groups of microorganisms that are involved in breaking down dietary fiber and regulating metabolism. We wondered if women with PCOS also have the same types of changes in their gut bacteria."

Expert: We have power to end childhood obesit

NEENAH - While childhood obesity is a complex and epidemic issue, communities have the power to reverse trends through collaboration, a nationally renowned nutrition expert said Tuesday.

Dr. Christina Economos, an associate professor at Tufts University, spoke to about 200 community members during a breakfast held by the Weight of the Fox Valley, a community health initiative spearheaded by the United Way in the Fox Cities and Oshkosh."Communities can come together, they can bond, they can create change," Economos said.

Economos watched it happen. She's been involved in a number successful efforts across the country to reduce weight and increase the health of children.

She led the "Shape Up Somerville" program in Massachusetts, which began in 2002 to determine whether community changes could prevent weight gain in children. The three-year study resulted in healthier weights among first- through third-graders targeted by the initiative. The communitywide effort worked to increase physical activity among children as well as healthy eating. She's since been able to replicate the results elsewhere.

The message adds fuel to the fire for those leading the Weight of the Fox Valley movement, which is in its early stages. Keren Rosenberg, program manager for the initiative, said Economos' session provided a road map for the region to reach its goals.

"We have a start, but it's a long journey," Rosenberg said.

There's plenty of work to accomplish, here and elsewhere. About a third of children in the United States are overweight and almost half of those are obese.

In the simplest terms, it's an issue that comes down to energy, Economos said told the group.

"There's too much coming in and not enough coming out," she said.

Balancing the intake and output — eating and exercise — is where the work begins.

Contributors to childhood obesity include consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and low-cost, calorie-dense foods. Portion sizes have grown and children are heavily influenced by food advertising directed toward the young, Economos said. Students aren't receiving adequate education on nutrition and parents frequently don't have a good understanding of the issue.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Another Problem with BMI — the Obesity Paradox

Body Mass Index (kilograms/meter2), or BMI, is now the most widely used index of obesity. But it’s become apparent that it is flawed in more than one way (we’ve explained some of these issues here and here). And a new Canadian study points to the possibility that use of BMI may be responsible for the oft-cited observation that some folks with high BMIs seem to be healthier than those in the normal range — the obesity paradox.

The study authors, led by Dr. Raj Padwal from the Department of  General Internal Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta  Canada, utilized a database of people aged 40 and up who had had DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) imaging to determine bone mineral density. This imaging also provided a measure of the percentage of body fat, and the investigators compared the all-cause mortality risk predicted by BMI with that predicted by percent body fat to see which would be most accurate.