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October 1, 2010, 5:34 AM CT

Empty calories into children's food supply

Empty calories into children's food supply
St. Louis, MO, October 1, 2010 With over 23 million children and adolescents in the US overweight or obese, the risks for a number of chronic diseases continue to increase. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association examines the diets of American youth and finds some disturbing results.

"The epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents is now widely regarded as one of the most important public health problems in the US," commented Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, RD, and Susan M. Krebs-Smith, PhD, MPH, RD, both of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. "Most experts agree that the solution will involve changes in both diet and physical activity, in order to affect energy balance. For diet, this means a reduction in energy from current consumption levelsThis paper identifies the major sources of overall energy and empty calories, providing context for dietary guidance that could specifically focus on limiting calories from these sources and for changes in the food environment. Product reformulation alone is not sufficientthe flow of empty calories into the food supply must be reduced".

For 2-18 year olds, the top sources of energy were grain desserts, pizza, and soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda and fruit drinks combined) provided almost 10% of total calories consumed. Nearly 40% of total calories consumed by 2-18 year olds were in the form of empty calories from solid fat and from added sugars. Half of empty calories came from six foods: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2010, 10:56 PM CT

Vicious cycle of overeating and obesity

Vicious cycle of overeating and obesity
New research provides evidence of the vicious cycle created when an obese individual overeats to compensate for reduced pleasure from food.

Obese individuals have fewer pleasure receptors and overeat to compensate, as per a research studyby University of Texas at Austin senior research fellow and Oregon Research Institute senior scientist Eric Stice and colleagues published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience

Stice shows evidence this overeating may further weaken the responsiveness of the pleasure receptors ("hypofunctioning reward circuitry"), further diminishing the rewards gained from overeating.

Food intake is linked to dopamine release. The degree of pleasure derived from eating correlates with the amount of dopamine released. Evidence shows obese individuals have fewer dopamine (D2) receptors in the brain relative to lean individuals and suggests obese individuals overeat to compensate for this reward deficit.

People with fewer of the dopamine receptors need to take in more of a rewarding substance -- such as food or drugs -- to get an effect other people get with less.

"Eventhough recent findings suggested that obese individuals may experience less pleasure when eating, and therefore eat more to compensate, this is the first prospective evidence to show that the overeating itself further blunts the award circuitry," says Stice, a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute, a non-profit, independent behavioral research center. "The weakened responsivity of the reward circuitry increases the risk for future weight gain in a feed-forward manner. This may explain why obesity typically shows a chronic course and is resistant to therapy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 23, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Hit the Gym to Maintain Health Gains

Hit the Gym to Maintain Health Gains
Eventhough obesity is a major risk factor for disease, much of the threat appears to be linked to the metabolic (or cardiometabolic) syndrome, a cluster of risk factors correlation to diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can improve health and reduce a number of of these risk factors. However, a number of people struggle to keep the weight off long-term. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have observed that people who perform resistance training while regaining weight can help maintain strides in reducing their risks for chronic disease.

"Long-term weight loss maintenance is uncommon without regular exercise," said Shana Warner, a doctoral student in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. "It is very important to address other things that can be done to maintain health as opposed to focusing solely on body weight. Our research indicates that following a consistent exercise program can help maintain certain aspects of metabolic health, even in those who experience weight regain".

The study consisted of two phases, meant to simulate real-life weight loss and regain. In the first phase, overweight and obese participants lost 4 to 6 percent of their initial body weight by following an eight to 12-week regimen of diet and aerobic exercise. In the second phase, participants regained 50 percent of the weight they had lost. During the regain phase, participants performed 45 minutes of supervised resistance training three times each week.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 22, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Women with heavy roommates gain less

Women with heavy roommates gain less
A new University of Michigan study finds that college women with roommates who weigh more than average gain less weight during their freshman year than women with slimmer roommates: half a pound versus 2.5 pounds.

That compares to the typical freshman weight gain of 2.5-to-6 pounds-much less than the mythical "Freshman 15".

"This finding seems counterintuitive, but there are some good explanations for why it appears to be happening," said Kandice Kapinos, an assistant research scientist at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

As per Kapinos, a labor and health economist, heavier roommates are more likely than average-weight women to diet. They also exercise more often and are more likely to use weight loss supplements and purchase college meal plans that limit access to food.

"It's not really the weight of your roommate that's important, but the behaviors your roommate engages in," Kapinos said. "These behaviors are what may really be 'contagious.'".

Kapinos conducted the study with Marquette University economist Olga Yakusheva. The study is the first to assess college weight gain using a natural experiment occurring on most college campuses in the United States-randomized roommate assignments.

"Prior studies have suggested that having an obese spouse, friend or sibling increases one's likelihood of becoming obese," Kapinos said. "But these relationships are obviously not random. People pick their friends and spouses, and they often select people who are similar to themselves. And even though we don't pick our siblings, we share a genetic inheritance and an early environment that may influence adult weight".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 20, 2010, 7:10 AM CT

Childhood viral infection may be a cause of obesity

Childhood viral infection may be a cause of obesity
Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, M.D.

Credit: UC San Diego

The emerging idea that obesity may have an infectious origin gets new support in a cross-sectional study by University of California, San Diego School of Medicine scientists who observed that children exposed to a particular strain of adenovirus were significantly more likely to be obese.

The study would be reported in the September 20 online edition of the journal Pediatrics September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego, and his colleagues examined 124 children, ages 8 to 18, for the presence of antibodies specific to adenovirus 36 (AD36), one of more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans and cause a variety of respiratory, gastrointestinal and other infections. AD36 is the only human adenovirus currently associated with human obesity.

Slightly more than half of the children in the study (67) were considered obese, based on a Body Mass Index or BMI in the 95th percentile or greater. The scientists detected neutralizing antibodies specific to AD36 in 19 of the children (15 percent). The majority of these AD36-positive children (78 percent) were obese, with AD36 antibodies much more frequent in obese children (15 of 67) than in non-obese children (4 of 57).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 16, 2010, 8:50 AM CT

Grab a glass of milk when you're on diet

Grab a glass of milk when you're on diet
Now there's a new reason to grab a glass of milk when you're on diet, suggests a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition In a 2-year weight loss study, milk drinkers had an advantage over those who skipped the milk. Israeli researchers found that adults who drank the most milk (nearly 2 glasses per day) and had the highest vitamin D levels at 6 months, lost more weight after 2 years than those who had little or no milk or milk products -- nearly 12 pounds weight loss, on average.

Researchers also found that each additional 6-ounce serving of milk or milk products (about 3/4 of a glass of milk) was associated with 10 pounds successful weight loss above the average, at 6 months.

More than 300 overweight or at risk men and women ages 40 65 participated in the study following low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for 2 years. Regardless of diet, researchers found participants with the highest dairy calcium intake 6 months into the study (averaging about 580mg per day the amount in nearly 2 glasses of milk) lost about 12 pounds at the end of the 2 years, compared to about 7 pounds for those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150mg, or about half of a glass).

Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success and in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 9, 2010, 6:47 AM CT

Restaurant menu labeling legislation

Restaurant menu labeling legislation
The government's role in improving the nation's nutrition is now firmly established with nutritional labeling for restaurant meals now mandated across the United States as part of HR 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explains how state and municipal labeling laws developed and how the new national law will supersede these and replace them with a uniform standard. It also addresses the American Dietetic Association's (ADA's) involvement and how these new regulations will impact registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) as well as consumers.

With enactment of the new law and detailed regulations to be issued by the Food and Drug Administration, restaurants and food vendors with 20 or more outlets will be mandatory to post calories on menus, menu boards (including drive-through) and food display tags, with additional nutrient information (fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, and fiber) available in writing upon request. Calorie posting requirements will also apply to vending machines managed by companies that operate at least 20 machines.

This new legislation will ensure that restaurant diners are provided with tools to make informed, healthful choices regarding the foods they consume outside the home. The article provides insights into how this law may work, including recommendations for how RDs may play a critical part in a successful implementation of this national standard.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 9, 2010, 6:40 AM CT

Body weight colon cancer mortality link

Body weight colon cancer mortality link
Postmenopausal women diagnosed with colon cancer appears to be at increased risk of death if they fail to maintain a healthy body weight before cancer diagnosis, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The scientists observed that women considered "underweight" or "obese," or who had increased abdominal obesity previous to cancer diagnosis seemed to face a greater risk of mortality.

"Maintaining a healthy body weight is beneficial for postmenopausal women. This may also be beneficial for those diagnosed with colon cancer during the later part of life. It looks like abdominal obesity appears to be a useful indicator of higher colon cancer mortality," said Anna E. Prizment, Ph.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, Masonic Cancer Center. "It is too early to say whether a decrease in weight characteristics after diagnosis will also decrease mortality risk; at that point it appears to be too late. Therefore, it's best to maintain a normal, healthy body weight throughout life".

Prizment and his colleagues extracted data from the Iowa Women's Health Study, which included 1,096 women diagnosed with colon cancer who were observed over a maximum 20-year period. During that time, 493 died, of which 289 died from colon cancer.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 9, 2010, 6:35 AM CT

Predicting weight regain after dieting

Predicting weight regain after dieting
A number of people have experienced the frustration that comes with regaining weight that was lost from dieting. As per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), the levels of appetite hormones in the body previous to dieting may serve as a predictor of weight regain after dieting.

"Treating obesity with drugs or dietary programs can be very effective in the short-term, but the long-term success of maintaining the weight lost is commonly poor," said Ana Crujeiras, PhD, of Compejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago in Spain and main author of the study. "Our study sheds light on how the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin affect weight regain after weight loss. This knowledge could be used as a tool to personalize weight-loss programs that could guarantee success in keeping off the weight".

In this study, scientists reviewed a group of 104 obese or overweight men and women during an 8-week low-calorie diet and again 32 weeks after therapy. Scientists measured body weight as well as plasma fasting ghrelin, leptin and insulin concentrations before, during and after dieting. They observed that subjects with higher plasma leptin and lower ghrelin levels before dieting were more prone to regain weight lost after dieting and that these hormone levels could be proposed as biomarkers for predicting obesity-treatment outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 7, 2010, 7:40 AM CT

Carbohydrate claims can mislead consumers

Carbohydrate claims can mislead consumers
Food manufacturers advertise a variety of foods on grocery store shelves by using nutrient claims on the front of packaging. A study in the September/recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior evaluates how consumers are interpreting certain carbohydrate-related content claims and the effects of claims on consumer perceptions of food products. Findings from this study reveal that consumers misinterpret low carbohydrate claims to have health benefits and weight loss qualities beyond their nutrition facts.

In the early 2000s, low-carbohydrate claims gained huge popularity in response to such books as Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution and The South Beach Diet. As per a research findings published in AC Nielsen Consumer Insights, it was noted that there was a 516% sales increase in low-carbohydrate food products from 2001 to 2005 showing that front of package claims can play a large part in consumer decisions.

Existing research suggests that consumers are less likely to turn to the back of a package to look at the Nutrition Facts panel when there is a claim on the front of the package. In the newly released study, scientists at the United States Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition sought to determine whether low-carbohydrate claims might lead consumers to perceive products to have benefits that are not necessarily correlation to being low in carbohydrate. Using an online questionnaire, 4,320 consumer panelists rated products for their perceived healthfulness, helpfulness for weight management, and caloric content based on front-of-package-only conditions (nutrition claims versus no nutrition claims) and availability of Nutrition Facts panels.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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