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February 8, 2010, 7:41 AM CT

Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV

Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV
A new national study suggests that preschool-aged children are likely to have a lower risk for obesity if they regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family, getting adequate sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing time.

In a large sample of the U.S. population, the study showed that 4-year-olds living in homes with all three routines had an almost 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than did children living in homes that practiced none of these routines.

Other studies have linked obesity to the individual behaviors of excessive TV viewing, a lack of sleep and, to a lesser extent, a low frequency of family meals. But this is the first study to assess the combination of all three routines with obesity prevalence in a national sample of preschoolers.

The scientists suggested that adopting these three household routines could be an attractive obesity-prevention strategy for all families with young children, particularly because these routines appears to benefit children's overall development. However, they also cautioned that this study alone does not confirm whether the routines themselves, or some other factor, protect children from obesity.

The study appears online and is scheduled for publication in the recent issue of the journal Pediatrics........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 3, 2010, 2:21 PM CT

Reducing complications of obesity

Reducing complications of obesity
Eventhough obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and coronary heart disease worldwide, only some obese individuals go on to develop these metabolic complications, while others are relatively protected. Defining these protective factors could help researchers prevent disease in the wider population.

To this end, a research team at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, led by Suneil Koliwad, MD, PhD, recently added new details that link obesity to diabetes and heart disease.

When individuals become obese from overeating, cells called adipocytes located in the fat tissue fill up with dietary fats and begin to die. Immune cells called macrophages move out of the blood stream and into this tissue, where they accumulate around dying adipocytes. As the macrophages work to clear away the dead cells, they are exposed to large amounts of dietary fat that can result in unwanted consequences. Exposure to saturated fats, in particular, causes the macrophages to enter an inflammatory state. In this state, the macrophages secrete cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, that encourage the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Gladstone team hypothesized that enhancing the capacity of macrophages to store dietary fats might alter this process. To do this, they focused on an enzyme called DGAT1, which makes triglycerides from dietary fats for storage as cellular energy reserves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 3, 2010, 8:11 AM CT

New weight-loss supplement as good as 20-minute walk

New weight-loss supplement as good as 20-minute walk
A new weight-loss supplement tested by the University of Oklahoma Health and Exercise Science Department has the potential to burn as a number of calories as a 20-minute walk, as per Joel T. Cramer, assistant professor of exercise physiology.

Cramer says General Nutrition Centers contracted with OU to test the weight-loss benefits of the nutritional supplement called the tri-pepper blend, which contains black pepper, caffeine and a concentrated form of capsaicin-the ingredient that makes red peppers hot. The OU study showed energy expenditures of three to six percent, results which are statistically significant enough to validate product weight-loss claims, Cramer said.

A group of participants in the study were given the supplement or a placebo followed by a metabolic rate test. The study measured oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by participants to determine the arresting metabolic rate of each after receiving the supplements. The study confirmed the viability of the weight loss supplement.

OU has developed relationships within the nutritional supplement industry because of the department's ability to provide research support needed for new product development. Since Cramer arrived at OU in 2005 with a model of funding for industry grants, departmental funds have increased to nearly $3 million. The outcome has been an increase in the number of nutritional studies, which can provide vital information to industry.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 2, 2010, 9:19 AM CT

Counseling for obesity and smoking

Counseling for obesity and smoking
Reducing obesity and smoking have become national priorities in the United States. Research has shown that intensive counseling can positively impact each problem. However, because such counseling is typically not covered by medical insurance, cost can be a barrier. As per a research findings reported in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, observed that when primary care clinicians and community counselors collaborated to offer free counseling services to patients, there was an overwhelming positive response. Yet, when the same services were offered at a cost to the patient, there was a significant drop in participation.

An electronic linkage system (eLinkS) was used to prompt healthcare providers to suggest intensive healthcare counseling for adult patients with unhealthy behaviors. eLinkS then helped to facilitate and automate referrals and communication between primary care practices and community programs. During a 5-week period when funding was available, 5679 patients were reviewed, 1860 had at least one unhealthy behavior (triggering an eLinkS prompt), and 407 (21.8%) were referred for intensive counseling.

In a 3-week period after funding was exhausted, 2510 patients visited the practices, 729 triggered an eLinkS prompt, but only 5 (0.7%) were referred for intensive counseling. In comparison to the coverage period, the overall referral rate for patients with an unhealthy behavior decreased by 97%. Practice nurses asked 22% fewer patients about health behaviors (37% vs 29%). When prompted by eLinkS, clinicians offered referrals to 79% fewer patients (29% vs 6%). If a referral was offered, 81% fewer patients accepted (76% vs 14%).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2010, 0:17 AM CT

'Overweight' adults age 70

'Overweight' adults age 70
Adults aged over 70 years who are classified as overweight are less likely to die over a ten year period than adults who are in the 'normal' weight range, as per a newly released study published recently in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society

Scientists looked at data taken over a decade among more than 9,200 Australian men and women aged between 70 and 75 at the beginning of the study, who were assessed for their health and lifestyle as part of a study into healthy aging. The paper sheds light on the situation in Australia, which is ranked the third most obese country, behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

Obesity and overweight are most usually defined as per body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing bodyweight (in kg) by the square of height (in metres). The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines four principal categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. The thresholds for these categories were primarily based on evidence from studies of morbidity and mortality risk in younger and middle-aged adults, but it remains unclear whether the overweight and obese cut-points are overly restrictive measures for predicting mortality in older people.

The study began in 1996 and recruited 4,677 men and 4,563 women. The participants were followed for ten years or until their death, whichever was sooner, and factors such as lifestyle, demographics, and health were measured. The research uncovered that mortality risk was lowest for participants with a BMI classified as overweight, with the risk of death reduced by 13% compared with normal weight participants. The benefits were only seen in the overweight category not in those individuals who are obese.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:52 AM CT

Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk

Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk
By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child's risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

"This newly released study demonstrates that the unhealthy consequences of excess body fat start very early," said Nelly Mauras, MD, of Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and senior author of the study. "Our study shows that obesity alone is associated with certain abnormalities in the blood that can predispose individuals to developing cardiovascular disease early in adulthood.

These findings suggest that we need more aggressive interventions for weight control in obese children, even those who do not have the co-morbidities of the metabolic syndrome."

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is being increasingly diagnosed in children as being overweight becomes a greater problem. Eventhough debate exists as to its exact definition, to receive a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, one must have at least three of the following characteristics: increased waist circumference (abdominal fat), low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), hypertension and high blood glucose (blood sugar).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 25, 2010, 7:47 AM CT

Fast food menus with calorie information

Fast food menus with calorie information
In a newly released study, the amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced by an average of 102 calories when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item. This is the first study to suggest that labeled menus may lead to significantly reduced calorie intake in fast food restaurant meals purchased for children. Led by researcher Pooja S. Tandon, MD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute, these findings support nutritional menu labeling and show that when parents have access to this information they may make smarter meal choices for their children. "Nutrition Menu Labeling May Lead to Lower-Energy Restaurant Meal Choices for Children" published online January 25 in Pediatrics

At a pediatric practice in Seattle, 99 parents of 3- to 6-year-olds who sometimes eat in fast food restaurants with their children were surveyed about their fast food dining habits. They were presented with sample McDonald's restaurant menus which included current prices and pictures of items, and asked what they would select for themselves and also for their children as a typical meal. Half of the parents were given menus that also clearly showed calorie information for each item. Choices included most of the items sold at McDonald's, including a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, dressings, side items, beverages, desserts and children's "Happy Meals." Parents who were given the calorie information chose 102 fewer calories on average for their children, compared with the group who did not have access to calorie information on their menus. This reflects a calorie reduction of approximately 20%. Notably, there was no difference in calories between the two groups for items the parents would have chosen for themselves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 21, 2010, 8:24 AM CT

Going to the gym shouldn't be a workout for your eardrums

Going to the gym shouldn't be a workout for your eardrums
Listening to an iPod while working out feels like second nature to a number of people, but University of Alberta researcher Bill Hodgetts says we need to consider the volume levels in our earphones while working up a sweat.

Hodgetts, assistant professor in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, says his research has observed that exercising in a gym often prompts people to turn up the volume to potentially unsafe levels for the ear.

The researcher observed that the study participants, who were in a gym-like setting, listened at potentially dangerous levels while working out, likely due to the presence of background noise. But he says it isn't the listening level alone that's risky, it's how long a person listens at that level. What Hodgetts found is that almost half of his study participants listened for a length of time during exercise that put them at risk for hearing loss.

The good news? The solution is simple, he says: get better earphones, those that "seal" the ear canal, acting as an earplug and thus reducing background noise.

Hodgetts' mission is to get the message out that proper earphones will make a huge difference in auditory health while allowing people to enjoy music at a lower, and safer volume.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 19, 2010, 8:37 AM CT

Risks And Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Risks And Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
A computerized model suggests that most morbidly obese individuals would likely live longer if they had gastric bypass surgery, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, the best decision for individual patients varies based on factors such as age, increasing body mass index and the effectiveness of surgery.

An estimated 5.1 percent of the U.S. population is morbidly obese, often defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, as per background information in the article. Available evidence suggests that dietary, behavioral and pharmacologic therapys frequently do not result in meaningful weight loss for individuals in this group. Bariatric surgery may be the only effective treatment for promoting clinically significant weight loss and improving obesity-related health conditions for the morbidly obese. However, the procedure is not without risk, including in-hospital death.

Daniel P. Schauer, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, and his colleagues used two nationally representative surveys and a recent large observational trial to construct a model estimating the benefits and risks of gastric bypass surgery for individuals with morbid obesity. The model included data from almost 400,000 individuals nationwide to estimate the risk of death from obesity and its complications; data from 23,281 patients undergoing bariatric surgery to calculate in-hospital death rates following the procedures; and outcomes from participants in a seven-year study to determine the effects of surgery on survival and to calibrate and validate the model.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 12, 2010, 8:40 AM CT

Sticking to diets is about more than willpower

Sticking to diets is about more than willpower
Peter Todd is a researcher at Indiana University.

Credit: Indiana University

A number of people think the success of dieting, seemingly a national obsession following the excesses and resolutions of the holiday season, depends mostly on how hard one tries -- on willpower and dedication. While this does matter, new research has observed that a much more subtle aspect of the diets themselves can also have a big influence on the pounds shed -- namely, the perceived complexity of a diet plan's rules and requirements.

Cognitive researchers from Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin compared the dieting behavior of women following two radically different diet plans and observed that the more complicated people thought their diet plan was, the sooner they were likely to drop it.

"For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it," reported Peter Todd, professor in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Jutta Mata, now a professor of psychology at Stanford University, said this effect holds even after controlling for the influence of important social-cognitive factors including self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable of achieving a goal like sticking to a diet regimen to control one's weight.........

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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