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July 9, 2008, 7:30 PM CT

Predicting birthweights in obese mothers

Predicting birthweights in obese mothers
Scientists have found what they believe to be the most accurate way of predicting the birth-weight of babies born to the growing number of obese mothers, as per a research studyin the UK-based journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Experts from the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, USA, have recorded accurate results in more than nine out of ten cases using the gestation-adjusted projection method (GAP).

The GAP method uses a range of ultrasound measurements, taken when the mother is 34 to 36 weeks pregnant, and a mathematical formula to determine whether the baby is larger than the average size of babies for its gestational age. This data is then used to predict the final birth weight.

GAP is very useful when a pregnant woman is obese, as this often makes it difficult for medical staff to obtain a clear ultrasound image of her baby. This is especially true at the end stages of pregnancies, when most birth weight measurements are obtained, so doing this earlier in the pregnancy is a distinct advantage. Prior research carried out at the University of Rochester has already shown GAP to be accurate when used on diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

"Obesity is a risk factor for almost all complications correlation to pregnancy" explains Dr Loralei Thornburg from the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University. "It is especially important to identify high birth-weight babies over 4,000 grams (just under nine pounds) as these are linked to higher complication rates for mothers and babies.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 8, 2008, 8:50 PM CT

Keeping a food diary doubles diet weight loss

Keeping a food diary doubles diet weight loss
Keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss as per a research studyfrom Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. The findings, from one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted, would be reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the study is one of the few studies to recruit a large percentage of African Americans as study participants (44 percent). African Americans have a higher risk of conditions that are aggravated by being overweight, including diabetes and heart disease. In this study, the majority of African American participants lost at least nine pounds of weight, which is higher than in prior studies.

"The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost," said lead author Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories".

In addition to keeping food diaries and turning them in at weekly support group meetings, participants were asked to follow a heart-healthy DASH (a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, attend weekly group sessions and exercise at moderate intensity levels for at least 30 minutes a day. After six months, the average weight loss among the nearly 1,700 participants was approximately 13 pounds. More than two-thirds of the participants (69 percent) lost at least nine pounds, enough to reduce their health risks and qualify for the second phase of the study, which lasted 30 months and tested strategies for maintaining the weight loss.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 7, 2008, 9:16 PM CT

Child care factors associated with weight gain in infancy

Child care factors associated with weight gain in infancy
Nine-month-old infants regularly cared for by someone other than a parent appear to have higher rates of unfavorable feeding practices and to weigh more than infants cared for only by parents, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Almost three-fourths of infants receive some form of child care by persons who are not their parents during the first year of life, as per background information in the article. Child care has been linked to positive development in cognition (thinking, learning and memory), language, social and emotional realms and academics, the authors note. However, no information previously existed regarding the relationship of child care to infants' weight or to certain feeding practices that may affect the risk of becoming overweight, including breastfeeding and introducing solid foods at an earlier age.

Juhee Kim., Sc.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Karen E. Peterson, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, analyzed data collected during home visits with 8,150 9-month-old infants. During the visits, which occurred in 2001 and 2002, the infants were weighed and measured and the primary caregiver provided information regarding child care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 2, 2008, 10:29 PM CT

Weight Watchers Versus Fitness Centers

Weight Watchers Versus Fitness Centers
In the first study of its kind, using sophisticated methods to measure body composition, the nationally known commercial weight loss program, Weight Watchers, was in comparison to gym membership programs to find out which method wins in the game of good health. A University of Missouri researcher examined the real-life experiences of participants to determine which program helps people lose pounds, reduce body fat and gain health benefits. The answer is that both have pros and cons and that a combination of the two produces the best results.

Participants who attended Weight Watchers for 12 weeks lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight, or about nine pounds. However, Steve Ball, assistant professor of exercise physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, observed that a large percentage of the lost weight was lean tissue and not fat.

"Participants' body fat percentage did not improve at all because they lost a much higher percentage than expected of lean tissue," said Ball, MU Extension state fitness specialist. "It is advantageous to keep lean tissue because it is correlated with higher metabolism. Losing lean tissue often slows metabolism. What your body is made of is more important than what you weigh".

The majority of other Weight Watcher studies had not considered body fat percentage change and only focused on body weight.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 2, 2008, 10:07 PM CT

Get smart about what you eat to improve your intelligence

Get smart about what you eat to improve your intelligence
New research findings published online in The FASEB Journal provide more evidence that if we get smart about what we eat, our intelligence can improve. As per MIT scientists, dietary nutrients found in a wide range of foods from infant formula to eggs increase brain synapses and improve cognitive abilities.

"I hope human brains will, like those of experimental animals, respond to this kind of therapy by making more brain synapses and thus restoring cognitive abilities," said Richard Wurtman, MD, senior researcher on the project.

In the study, gerbils were given various combinations of three compounds needed for healthy brain membranes: choline, found in eggs; uridine monophosphate (UMP) found in beets; and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in fish oils. Other gerbils were given none of these to serve as a baseline. Then they were checked for cognitive changes four weeks later. The researchers observed that the gerbils given choline with UMP and/or DHA showed cognitive improvements in tasks believed to be relevant to gerbils, such as navigating mazes. After these tests were concluded, the scientists dissected the mouse brains for a biological cause for the improvement. They found biochemical evidence that there was more than the usual amount of brain synapse activity, which was consistent with behaviors indicating higher intelligence.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 26, 2008, 9:16 PM CT

Device blocking stomach nerve signals shows promise in obesity

Device blocking stomach nerve signals shows promise in obesity
A new implantable medical device, developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic researchers, shows promise as a reversible and less extreme alternative to existing bariatric surgeries, as per findings reported in the current issue of the journal Surgery

In a six-month open label trial involving three medical centers in Australia, Mexico and Norway, the 31 obese participants who received the vagal nerve blocking device, also called VBLOCTM vagal blocking treatment, lost an average of nearly 15 percent of their excess weight. A quarter of the participants lost more than 25 percent, and three patients lost more than 30 percent.

Michael Camilleri, M.D., is a gastroenterologist who helped design the study and one of the Mayo Clinic scientists whose prior work and know-how contributed to development of the device in collaboration with EnteroMedics, Inc. Dr. Camilleri says the goal is to find a less drastic alternative to bariatric surgery that will still yield significant weight loss. Bariatric surgery techniques include "banding" -- placement of a band around the top part of the stomach to reduce its capacity -- or bypass procedures which reroute food and remove part of the stomach.

"For this study, we wanted to get an initial assessment of whether blocking the vagus nerve electrically could cause obese patients to feel full after a normal-sized meal," Dr. Camilleri explains. "Patients were not put on any restricted diets or given counseling that typically accompanies gastric banding or bypass. We wanted to determine how much weight loss could be attributed to the device alone".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:01 PM CT

Watch out for the wrong kind of sugar

Watch out for the wrong kind of sugar
WE KNOW about good and bad fats. Now suspicion is growing that not all sugars are created equal either. Overweight adults who consume large amounts of fructose have been found to experience alarming changes in body fat and insulin sensitivity that do not occur after eating glucose.

Pure fructose is found in fresh fruit, fruit juice and preserves. But much of it sneaks into our diets though high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soft drinks - which gets broken down into 55 per cent fructose and 45 per cent glucose in the body - or via sucrose (ordinary sugar), which is broken down into the same two sugars.

Fears that fructose and HFCS are fuelling the obesity epidemic and triggering insulin resistance and diabetes have been circulating for years (New Scientist, 1 September 2001, p 26), but there have been few direct investigations in humans.

So Peter Havel at the University of California, Davis, persuaded 33 overweight and obese adults to go on a diet that was 30 per cent fat, 55 per cent complex carbohydrates and 15 per cent protein for two weeks. For a further 10 weeks, they switched to a diet in which 25 per cent of their energy came from either fructose or glucose.

In those given fructose there was an increase in the amount of intra-abdominal fat, which wraps around internal organs, causes a pot belly and has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This did not happen with the group who consumed glucose instead, even though both gained an average 1.5 kilograms in weight.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 9:58 PM CT

Morbid thoughts whet the appetite

Morbid thoughts whet the appetite
Can watching TV news or crime shows trigger overeating? As per new research in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who are thinking about their own deaths want to consume more.

Authors Naomi Mandel (Arizona State University) and Dirk Smeesters (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) conducted several experiments in Europe and the United States where participants wrote essays on their feelings about their own deaths. They then checked off items on a grocery list or ate cookies. Consumers who wrote about their own deaths wanted to buy more and ate more than those who wrote about a painful medical procedure (the control group).

"People want to consumer more of all kinds of foods, both healthy and unhealthy, when thinking about the idea that they will die some day," write the authors.

The scientists found people with low self-esteem, in particular, tend to over-consume after death-related thoughts. Mandel and Smeesters explain the effect using a theory called "escape from self-awareness." "When people are reminded of their inevitable mortality, they may start to feel uncomfortable about what they have done with their lives and whether they have made a significant mark on the universe. This is a state called 'heightened self-awareness.' One way to deal with such an uncomfortable state is to escape from it, by either overeating or overspending," they write.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 19, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Weight-loss surgery can cut cancer risk

Weight-loss surgery can cut cancer risk
Successful bariatric surgery allows morbidly obese patients to lose up to 70 percent of their excess weight and to maintain weight loss. The latest study by Dr. Nicolas Christou of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University shows that this surgery also decreases the risk of developing cancer by up to 80 percent. Dr. Christou presented his preliminary results yesterday at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

The scientists compared 1,035 morbidly obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery at the MUHC between 1986 and 2002 with 5,746 patients with the same weight profile who did not undergo the operation. The number of cancer diagnoses in first group was 85 percent lower for breast cancer and 70 percent lower for colon and pancreas cancers, and was also distinctly lower for several other types of cancer.

"The relationship between obesity and a number of forms of cancer is well established," said Dr. Christou. "This is one of the first studies to suggest that bariatric surgery might prevent the risk of cancer for a significant percentage of morbidly obese people".

Obesity affects the body in multiple ways, so a single hypothesis cannot fully explain these results, say the researchers. However, excess body fat is widely believed to be responsible for increased hormone production, a major risk factor for breast and colon cancer. Thus so modifications to the patient's hormonal metabolism due to weight loss might explain the lower occurence rate of these cancers in patients who underwent surgery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 5, 2008, 10:17 PM CT

How to lose weight without losing bone

How to lose weight without losing bone
A higher-protein diet that emphasizes lean meats and low-fat dairy foods as sources of protein and calcium can mean weight loss without bone loss--and the evidence is in bone scans taken throughout a new University of Illinois study.

The research, which compared the results of a high-protein, dairy-intensive diet with a conventional weight-loss diet based on the food-guide pyramid, was published in this month's Journal of Nutrition.

"This is an important finding because a number of people, particularly women in mid-life, are concerned with both obesity and osteoporosis," said Ellen Evans, a U of I associate professor of kinesiology and community health and member of the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences.

"Furthermore, treating obesity often increases risk for osteoporosis. A number of people lose bone mass when they lose weight," she said.

Co-author of study Donald Layman, a U of I professor of nutrition, has previously reported that protein-rich weight-loss diets preserve muscle mass, help lower blood sugar and lipids, and improve body composition by targeting weight carried in the abdomen.

In the recent study, Layman's diet prescribed approximately 30 percent of all calories from protein, with an emphasis on lean meats and low-fat dairy products.........

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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