We are led to question whether the recommended social distancing measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission could increase the number of other serious instabilities. The breaking of the contagion pathways reduces the sharing of microorganisms between people, thus favoring dysbiosis, which, in turn, may increase the poor prognosis of the disease. #covid #microbiome #dysbiosis Célia P. F. Domingues, João S. Rebelo, Francisco Dionisio, Ana Botelho, Teresa Nogueira. The Social Distancing Imposed To Contain COVID-19 Can Affect Our Microbiome: a Double-Edged Sword in Human Health. mSphere, 2020; 5 (5) DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00716-20 https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00716-20
The analysis of 26 randomized controlled trials including 1,344 participants found that body weight and body mass index significantly changed after green tea was consumed for periods longer than 12 weeks and at a dosage of less than 800 mg/day.
Ying Lin et al, The effect of green tea supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and dose–response meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials, Phytotherapy Research (2020). DOI: 10.1002/ptr.6697
Glutamine could help people with obesity reduce fat mass and inflammation
Lower glutamine-levels were also associated with larger fat cell size and higher body fat percentage independently of body-mass index (BMI), according to the study.
#glutamine #leanmass #inflammation
”Glutamine links obesity to inflammation in human white adipose tissue,” Paul Petrus, Simon Lecoutre, Lucile Dollet, Clotilde Wiel, André Sulen, Hui Gao, Beatriz Tavira, Jurga Laurencikiene, Olav Rooyackers, Antonio Checa, Iyadh Douagi, Craig E. Wheelock, Peter Arner, Mark McCarthy, Martin O. Bergo, Laurienne Edgar, Robin P. Choudhury, Myriam Aouadi, Anna Krookand Mikael Rydén, Cell Metabolism, online December 19, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.019
Low copper levels linked to fatter fat cells
In studies of mouse cells, researchers have found that low levels of cellular copper appear to make fat cells fatter by altering how cells process their main metabolic fuels, such as fat and sugar.
Haojun Yang, Martina Ralle, Michael J. Wolfgang, Neha Dhawan, Jason L. Burkhead, Susana Rodriguez, Jack H. Kaplan, G. William Wong, Norman Haughey, Svetlana Lutsenko. Copper-dependent amino oxidase 3 governs selection of metabolic fuels in adipocytes. PLOS Biology, 2018; 16 (9): e2006519 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006519
“Our data suggest that flaxseed fiber supplementation affects host metabolism by increasing energy expenditure and reducing obesity as well as by improving glucose tolerance. Future research should be directed to understand relative contribution of the different microbes and delineate underlying mechanisms for how flaxseed fibers affect host metabolism,” the researchers wrote.
#flaxseed #metabolism #fermentable
Tulika Arora, Olga Rudenko, Kristoffer Lihme Egerod, Anna Sofie Husted, Petia Kovatcheva-Datchary, Rozita Akrami, Mette Kristensen, Thue W. Schwartz, Fredrik Bäckhed. Microbial fermentation of flaxseed fibers modulates the transcriptome of GPR41-expressing enteroendocrine cells and protects mice against diet-induced obesity. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2018; DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00391.2018
Camu Camu may increase metabolism through the Gut Microbiome
The researchers found that camu camu improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and reduced the concentration of blood endotoxins and metabolic inflammation. “All these changes were accompanied by a reshaping of the intestinal microbiota.
Fernando F Anhê, Renato T Nachbar, Thibault V Varin, Jocelyn Trottier, Stéphanie Dudonné, Mélanie Le Barz, Perrine Feutry, Geneviève Pilon, Olivier Barbier, Yves Desjardins, Denis Roy, André Marette. Treatment with camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Gut, 2018; gutjnl-2017-315565 DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-315565
Lifespan greatly enhanced with Synbiotics
Scientists fed fruit flies with a combination of probiotics and an herbal supplement called Triphala that was able to prolong the flies’ longevity by 60 % and protect them against chronic diseases associated with aging.
Susan Westfall, Nikita Lomis, Satya Prakash. Longevity extension in Drosophila through gut-brain communication. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25382-z
A new systematic review of available evidence indicates that consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming supplements between meals in adults following a resistance training regimen.
Citation: Joshua L Hudson, Robert E Bergia, Wayne W Campbell. Effects of protein supplements consumed with meals, versus between meals, on resistance training–induced body composition changes in adults: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy012
Cinnamon turns up the heat on fat cells
Researchers were looking for ways to prompt fat cells to activate thermogenesis, turning the fat-burning processes back on. They discovered that Cinnamon may be an easy and readily available way to do just that.
Cinnamaldehyde induces fat cell-autonomous thermogenesis and metabolic reprogramming. Metabolism, 2017; 77: 58 DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.08.006
Posted By Neil Munro On 4:40 PM 11/01/2013
The national obesity rate has expanded since 2012, even as federal regulators and first lady Michelle Obama exhort the nation to slim down, eat less and exercise.
The adult obesity rate climbed from 26.1 percent in January 2011, up to 27.2 percent in late 2012, according to Gallup’s survey, released on Friday – a 4.2 percent rise in 24 months.
The jump is a surprise, partly because the obesity rate had drifted down from 26.5 percent in January 2009, to 26.1 percent in January 2011, during the recession.
For more than a decade, federal health agencies have tried to reverse the growing obesity rate. In 2000, for example, the agencies announced their goal of reducing obesity to 15 percent by 2010.
The federal takeover of the nation’s health sector via the Obamacare law is also being used by experts to tighten the nation’s girth. Health companies must include anti-fatness measures in the benefit plans they offer to the nation. The value of the mandates is unclear, but they will likely fatten revenues of professionals in the anti-fat business.
Gallup’s survey showed that the obesity rate is lower among populations that are wealthy, white, older and live on the West coast. Rates are higher among populations that are middle-aged, black, latino, poorer and who live in the south.
“The U.S. obesity rate thus far in 2013 is trending upward and will likely surpass all annual obesity levels since 2008,” the Gallup report said.
Gallup also suggested that employers regulate their employees’ weight.
“Employers can also take an active role to help lower obesity rates… The annual cost for lost productivity due to workers being above normal weight or having a history of chronic conditions ranges from $160 million among agricultural workers to $24.2 billion among professionals,” Gallup claimed.
MIchelle Obama has also tried to draft companies in her waistline-reducing agenda.
Kids’ waistlines matter because the costs of treating adults’ obesity “matter for every business in America,” she wrote in February 2013.
“We spend $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and a significant portion of those costs are borne by America’s businesses,” she wrote.
“We need every business in America to dig deeper, get more creative, and find new ways to generate revenue by giving American families better information and healthier choices. We know this can be done in a way that’s good for our kids and good for businesses,” she wrote.
In August, the first lady tried to claim that her “Let’s Move” campaign deserved credit for a drop in the number of obese children.
“Obesity among low-income preschoolers declined, from 2008 through 2011, in 19 of 43 states and territories studied, said a study released in August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms my belief that together, we are making a real difference in helping kids across the country get a healthier start to life,” said an August statement from the first lady.
The results were “evidence of progress,” according to her website, LetsMove.gov.
“Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams,” according to the site.
The government-centered program does allow a role for parents.
“Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies,” the site declares.
Follow Neil on Twitter
Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
Public release date: 16-Sep-2013 [
The way the stomach detects and tells our brains how full we are becomes damaged in obese people but does not return to normal once they lose weight, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.
Researchers believe this could be a key reason why most people who lose weight on a diet eventually put that weight back on.
In laboratory studies, University of Adelaide PhD student Stephen Kentish investigated the impact of a high-fat diet on the gut’s ability to signal fullness, and whether those changes revert back to normal by losing weight.
The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, show that the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness to the brain appear to be desensitized after long-term consumption of a high-fat diet.
“The stomach’s nerve response does not return to normal upon return to a normal diet. This means you would need to eat more food before you felt the same degree of fullness as a healthy individual,” says study leader Associate Professor Amanda Page from the University’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory.
“A hormone in the body, leptin, known to regulate food intake, can also change the sensitivity of the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness. In normal conditions, leptin acts to stop food intake. However, in the stomach in high-fat diet induced obesity, leptin further desensitizes the nerves that detect fullness.
“These two mechanisms combined mean that obese people need to eat more to feel full, which in turn continues their cycle of obesity.”
Associate Professor Page says the results have “very strong implications for obese people, those trying to lose weight, and those who are trying to maintain their weight loss”.
“Unfortunately, our results show that the nerves in the stomach remain desensitized to fullness after weight loss has been achieved,” she says.
Associate Professor Page says they’re not yet sure whether this effect is permanent or just long-lasting.
“We know that only about 5% of people on diets are able to maintain their weight loss, and that most people who’ve been on a diet put all of that weight back on within two years,” she says.
“More research is needed to determine how long the effect lasts, and whether there is any way – chemical or otherwise – to trick the stomach into resetting itself to normal.”
This study has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Associate Professor Amanda Page Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory School of Medicine The University of Adelaide Phone: +61 8 8222 5644 firstname.lastname@example.org
All people have trillions of bacteria living in their intestines. If you place them on a scale, they weigh around 1.5 kg. Previously, a major part of these ‘blind passengers’ were unknown, as they are difficult or impossible to grow in laboratories. But over the past five years, an EU-funded research team, MetaHIT, coordinated by Professor S. Dusko Ehrlich at the INRA Research Centre of Jouy-en-Josas, France and with experts from Europe and China have used advanced DNA analysis and bioinformatics methods to map human intestinal bacteria.
-The genetic analysis of intestinal bacteria from 292 Danes shows that about a quarter of us have up to 40% less gut bacteria genes and correspondingly fewer bacteria than average. Not only has this quarter fewer intestinal bacteria, but they also have reduced bacterial diversity and they harbour more bacteria causing a low-grade inflammation of the body. This is a representative study sample, and the study results can therefore be generalised to people in the Western world, says Oluf Pedersen, Professor and Scientific Director at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
Oluf Pedersen and Professor Torben Hansen have headed the Danish part of the MetaHIT project, and the findings are reported in the highly recognised scientific journal Nature.
The gut is like a rainforest
Oluf Pedersen compares the human gut and its bacteria with a tropical rainforest. He explains that we need as much diversity as possible, and – as is the case with the natural tropical rainforests – decreasing diversity is a cause for concern. It appears that the richer and more diverse the composition of our intestinal bacteria, the stronger our health. The bacteria produce vital vitamins, mature and strengthen our immune system and communicate with the many nerve cells and hormone-producing cells in the intestinal system. And, not least, the bacteria produce a wealth of bioactive substances which penetrate into the bloodstream and affect our biology in countless ways.
-Our study shows that people having few and less diverse intestinal bacteria are more obese than the rest. They have a preponderance of bacteria which exhibit the potential to cause mild inflammation in the digestive tract and in the entire body, which is reflected in blood samples that reveal a state of chronic inflammation, which we know from other studies to affect metabolism and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, says Oluf Pedersen.
-And we also see that if you belong to the group with less intestinal bacteria and have already developed obesity, you will also gain more weight over a number of years. We don’t know what came first, the chicken or the egg, but one thing is certain: it is a vicious circle that poses a health threat, says the researcher.
Take care of your intestinal bacteria
The researchers thus still cannot explain why some people have fewer intestinal bacteria, but the researchers are focusing their attention at dietary components, genetic variation in the human host, exposure to antimicrobial agents during early childhood and the chemistry we encounter daily in the form of preservatives and disinfectants.
A French research team reports a study in the same issue of Nature showing that by maintaining a low-fat diet for just six weeks, a group of overweight individuals with fewer and less diverse intestinal bacteria may, to some extent, increase the growth of intestinal bacteria, both in terms of actual numbers and diversity.
-This indicates that you can repair some of the damage to your gut bacteria simply by changing your dietary habits. Our intestinal bacteria are actually to be considered an organ just like our heart and brain, and the presence of health-promoting bacteria must therefore be cared for in the best way possible. Over the next years, we will be gathering more knowledge of how best to do this,” says Oluf Pedersen, whose research team is studying, among other things, the impact of dietary gluten on gut bacteria composition and gut function.
Towards innovative early diagnostics and treatment options
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are not just a result of unfortunate combinations of intestinal bacteria or lack of health-promoting intestinal bacteria, Oluf Pedersen emphasises. There are likely many causal factors at play. But the MetaHit researchers’ contribution opens a new universe in which we begin to understand how gut bacteria in direct contact with the surrounding environment have a decisive impact on our health and risk of disease.
-At present we cannot do anything about our own DNA, individual variation in which also plays a crucial role in susceptibility for lifestyle diseases. But thanks to the new gut microbiota research, we now can start exploring interactions between host genetics and the gut bacteria- related environment which we may be able to change. That is why it is so exciting for us scientist within this research field– the possibilities are huge, says Oluf Pedersen.
-The long-term dream is to map and characterize any naturally occurring gut bacteria that produce appetite-inhibiting bioactive substances and in this way learn to exploit the body’s own medicine to prevent the obesity epidemic and type 2 diabetes, says Oluf Pedersen.
Factbox 1: Danish researchers involved
Scientists from a number of Danish research institutions and hospitals have participated in the study: Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen; Lundbeck Foundation Center for Applied Medical Genomics in Personalised Disease Prediction, Prevention and Care (LuCamp); Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Technical University of Denmark; Hagedorn Research Institute, Gentofte; Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark; Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen; University of Aarhus; University of Aalborg; University of Southern Denmark; Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Glostrup; Hospital of Vejle.
Factbox 2: The scientific article
In the article in Nature, the MetaHit scientists demonstrate that they by testing for just a few different bacteria species – with 98 % accuracy can distinguish between people with healthy intestinal bacteria and those who lack and have unhealthy bacteria. This provides promising opportunities for predicting diseases associated with an unhealthy bacterial composition in the intestines, for example type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The sperm of obese fathers could increase the risk of both their children and their grandchildren inheriting obesity, according to new research from University of Adelaide.
In laboratory studies, researchers from the University’s Robinson Institute have found that molecular signals in the sperm of obese fathers can lead to obesity and diabetes-like symptoms in two generations of offspring, even though the offspring are eating healthily.
The results of the research are published online in The FASEB Journal.
“A father’s diet changes the molecular makeup of the sperm. With obese fathers, the changes in their sperm – in their microRNA molecules – might program the embryo for obesity or metabolic disease later in life,” says the lead author of the paper, Dr Tod Fullston, who is an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow with the University’s Robinson Institute, based in Dr Michelle Lane’s Gamete and Embryo Biology Group.
“For female offspring, there is an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. What we’ve also found is that there is an increased chance of both male and female offspring developing metabolic disease similar to type 2 diabetes.
“This is the first report of both male and female offspring inheriting a metabolic disease due to their father’s obesity,” he says.
The study also extended into the second generation of progeny, which showed signs of similar metabolic disorders, including obesity, although it was not as severe as the first generation.
Dr Fullston says even if the obese father does not show any signs of diabetes, metabolic disease similar to diabetes was being seen in two generations of their descendants.
“It’s been known for some time that the health of a mother before, during and after pregnancy can impact on her child’s health, but the father’s health during this period is often overlooked,” Dr Fullston says.
“If our laboratory studies are translatable to humans, this could be a new and as yet unexplored intervention window into the epidemic of childhood obesity.
“A focus on the mother’s health is extremely important, but we’re seeing that the father’s health is also important for conception. It’s possible that by showing additional attention to diet and exercise in the father, this could have a positive impact on his future children and grandchildren.”
Dr Tod Fullston NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow Robinson Institute The University of Adelaide Phone: +61 8 8313 8188 email@example.com
- WHO figures reveal extent of the obesity crisis in the small Pacific island
- One airline charging passengers tickets based on their weight to save costs
- Island-wide health push to encourage healthier eating and more activity
By Helen Collis
PUBLISHED: 11:58 EST, 8 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:59 EST, 8 July 2013
It has been officially ranked the fattest population in the world – with estimates as high as 94 per cent obesity.
The sheer scale of the problem has prompted both public and private sector organisations to take action.
One airline has has become unpopular with the locals by making every passenger stand on a set of scales with their luggage and making them pay according to their individual weight.
Officially fattest: Islanders living on the beautiful American Samoa archipelago are officially the fattest in the world, according to WHO figures
Local American Samoans performing a cultural show; the island’s inhabitants have been ranked the fattest in the world
While the healthcare sector is actively encouraging the island’s inhabitants to pursue healthier lifestyles in a bid to prevent the ticking time-bomb of health complications later in life, associated with obesity.
The American-owned island, which forms part of the Samoan archipelago chain in the Pacific Ocean, only has a population of 700,000, according to a 2013 census.
- Packed lunches should be banned because they’re making children fat, claim government advisers
- A woman’s weight fluctuates by 1.6 stone during her lifetime… and we’re 7.4lbs lighter in the summer
- She’s at it again! Outspoken former Apprentice star Katie Hopkins says she wouldn’t employ fat people ‘because they look lazy’
But, according to World Health Organization records, 94 per cent, or 658,000 of them are overweight.
The dire statistic is blamed on an unhealthy fast-food culture, influenced by its mainland powerhouse, and a penchant for a sedentary lifestyle.
Almost all of the food in American Samoa is imported and therefore expensive, but fast-food chains offer a cheap and convenient alternative.
WHERE ARE THE WORLD’S FATTEST PLACES…
1. American Samoa – 94 per cent
2. Kiribati, Central Pacific – 82 per cent
3. French Polynesia – 74 per cent
4. Saudi Arabia – 73 per cent
5. Panama – 67.4 per cent
6. The U.S. – 66.9 per cent
7. Germany – 66.5 per cent
8. Egypt – 66 per cent
9. Kuwait – 64 per cent
10. Bosnia and Herzegovina – 63 per cent
11. New Zealand – 62.7 per cent
12. Malta – 62.3 per cent
13. Israel – 61.9 per cent
14. Croatia – 61.4 per cent
15. Bahrain – 61 per cent
16. Macedonia – 60.4 per cent
17. Barbados – 60.4 per cent
18. Seychelles – 60.1 per cent
19. Canada – 59.1 per cent
20. Chile – 59.7 per cent
Samoa Air’s new ‘pay-by-weight’ system may be having an effect on its passengers, however, so perhaps this is the way forward for fat countries?
The island’s obesity epidemic is at crisis point, since its population is now giving birth to overweight babies, starting life with a plethora of health complications.
One study found that at just 15 months old, 40 per cent of boys and 30 per cent of girl babies were classed as overweight.
Being overweight is associated with a catalogue of awful chronic diseases and health complications, including hypertension and heart disease, diabetes and subsequent renal failure and liver disease. It is also linked the asthma, cancer, depression, stroke and problems associated with digestion.
The implications and burdens of such crippling chronic diseases, not just to the individual and their relatives, but also for the the country’s healthcare system, are immense.
But at last, it appears the island’s health push is apparently sinking in.
An early morning exercise class at the island’s only sports stadium is attracting more members.
Olivia Reid-Gillet attends twice a week because she became aware of how serious her weight issues were.
Quoted by CBS News, she said: ‘I needed to get healthier. I had high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol.’
Clinics including dietary advice, wellness programmes, and childhood obesity tracking are also being offered to educate people so they can take more control of their disease.
Local doctor, John Tuitele, told the news service: ‘The people are being aware of the problem. People are realising the importance of what we’re trying to get across.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2358371/American-Samoas-battle-obesity-95-cent-nation-declared-overweight.html#ixzz2YWaiIbc3 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Results from a large cohort study suggest that exposure to metabolic risks of cardiovascular disease is increasing
Sophia Antipolis, 10 April 2013. Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less “metabolically” healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That’s the conclusion of a large cohort study from the Netherlands which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Assessing the trends, the investigators concluded that “the more recently born generations are doing worse”, and warn “that the prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase”.
The study, reported today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, analysed data on more than 6,000 individuals in the Doetinchem Cohort Study, which began in 1987 with follow-up examinations after six, 11, and 16 years.(1,2) The principal risk factors measured were body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol levels (for hypercholesterolaemia) and levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is considered “protective”.
The subjects were stratified by sex and generation at baseline into ten-year age groups (20, 30, 40, and 50 years); the follow-up analyses aimed to determine whether one generation had a different risk profile from a generation born ten years earlier – what the investigators called a “generation shift”.
Results showed that the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and hypertension increased with age in all generations, but in general the more recently born generations had a higher prevalence of these risk factors than generations born ten years earlier. For example, 40% of the males who were in their 30s at baseline were classified as overweight; 11 years later the prevalence of overweight among the second generation of men in their 30s had increased to 52% (a statistically significant generational shift). In women these unfavourable changes in weight were only evident between the most recently born generations, in which the prevalence of obesity doubled in just 10 years.
Other findings from the study included:
- Unfavourable (and statistically significant) generation shifts in hypertension in both sexes between every consecutive generation (except for the two most recently born generations of men).
- Unfavourable generation shifts in diabetes between three of the four generations of men, but not of women.
- No generation shifts for hypercholesterolaemia, although favourable shifts in HDL cholesterol were only observed between the oldest two generations.
As for the overall picture, and based on the evidence of a “clear” shift in the prevalence of overweight and hypertension, the investigators emphasise that “the more recently born adult generations are doing worse than their predecessors”. Evidence to explain the changes is not clear, they add, but note studies reporting an increase in physical inactivity.
What do the findings mean for public health? First author Gerben Hulsegge from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment emphasises the impact of obesity at a younger age. “For example,” he explains, “the prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55. This means that this younger generation is ’15 years ahead’ of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time. So our study firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight – by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.
“The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it’s likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise – but it’s also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it’s difficult to speculate about that.”
Poor diet and lack of exercise blamed for increase in obesity, blood pressure and diabetes
We are living longer yet growing less healthy. That is the paradoxical conclusion reached by researchers who have found successive generations building up medical problems worse than those faced by their forbears.
Life expectancy has grown dramatically in recent decades as a result of improved nutrition, housing and medical care. But today’s 40-year-olds are experiencing problems of excess weight, high blood pressure and diabetes similar to those now in their mid-fifties.
The younger generation is thus 15 years ahead of the older generation on the pathway to increasing frailty, disability and ill health. Ultimately, the effect is likely to be a slowing of the increase in life expectancy or even a reversal, experts say.
For more than a decade doctors have warned that our existing way of life is killing us softly, due to an excess of fat, sugar and salt – and sloth. Two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese and, on present trends, that will rise to 90 per cent by 2050.
Obesity already causes an estimated 9,000 premature deaths a year, and doctors fear its relentless rise could mean the current generation will be the first to die before their parents.
Researchers who followed 6,000 individuals for up to 16 years have charted the consequences of that indolent, calorie-rich lifestyle and found the adults of today are less “metabolically” healthy than in the past.
“The more recently born generations are doing worse than their predecessors,” they say, adding: “The prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase.”
The study was conducted in the town of Doetinchem in the Netherlands beginning in 1987. The researchers compared the health of those in their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties and then followed up each group to find out how one generation compared with another born a decade earlier.
At the start of the study, 40 per cent of men in their thirties were overweight. But 11 years later, the proportion had grown to 52 per cent among the next generation of men in their thirties. Among women, their weight did not change until the most recent generations when the proportion who were obese doubled in a decade. These “generation shifts” were also seen in high blood pressure, with the prevalence of the condition increasing in each generation for both men and women. The only exceptions were the two most recent generations of men. A similar increase was seen in diabetes in succeeding generations of men, though not of women.
There was no generation shift in high cholesterol, but levels of “good” HDL cholesterol did rise in the oldest two generations. Gerben Hulsegge, of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health, who led the study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, said the impact of obesity in youth was a critical factor.
“The prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the age of 55. This means that the younger generation is 15 years ahead of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time.”
As smoking has declined in recent decades, there is also likely to be a shift from smoking-related illnesses such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes.
Dr Hulsegge said: “The decrease in smoking and improved healthcare are important driving forces behind greater life expectancy of younger generations. But it is also possible in the distant future, as a result of current trends in obesity, that the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down.”
Lifestyle illnesses: The three big killers
Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. By 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes. The illness increases the risk of heart failure, kidney failure, and death – and is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK.
In the study, the prevalence of diabetes increased in each succeeding generation of men though not of women.
It is one of the most important causes of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease and controlling it is one of the most effective ways of preventing premature death. High blood pressure affects an estimated 12 million people in the UK, one in four of the adult population and one in two of those over 60. In the study, the prevalence of high blood pressure increased in each generation of men and women, except for the two most recent generations of men.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and a range of other conditions. Two-thirds of people in the UK are overweight or obese and obesity is estimated to cause 9,000 premature deaths a year.
At the start of the study, 40 per cent of men in their thirties were overweight. A decade later, the proportion of men overweight in the next generation of men in their thirties had risen to 52 per cent.
When an entire nation has an obesity problem, it should be no surprise that its army will have one as well. These days, being “too fat to fight” is an increasingly common concern in the U.S. military. According to The Washington Post, obesity is now the leading cause of ineligibility among potential Army volunteers and current military personnel. Indeed, as pressure mounts for the Army to cut its budget, it has begun to dismiss troops who need to cut a few pounds. Here, a look at the Army’s weight problem, by the numbers:
Maximum weight, in pounds, for female enlistees
Maximum weight, in pounds, for male enlistees
Troops dismissed from the Army in 2007 for being out of shape
Troops dismissed from the Army in the first 10 months of 2012 for being out of shape
Percent of U.S. troops classified as overweight or obese in 2010
Percent of U.S. adults who are obese
Percent of civilians hoping to volunteer for the Army in 2009 who were physically ineligible to join, with obesity being the leading cause
Contact: Amy Albin firstname.lastname@example.org 310-794-8672 University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences
While a great deal of research on childhood obesity has spotlighted the long-term health problems that emerge in adulthood, a new UCLA study focuses on the condition’s immediate consequences and shows that obese youngsters are at far greater risk than had been supposed.
Compared to kids who are not overweight, obese children are at nearly twice the risk of having three or more reported medical, mental or developmental conditions, the UCLA researchers found. Overweight children had a 1.3 times higher risk.
“This study paints a comprehensive picture of childhood obesity, and we were surprised to see just how many conditions were associated with childhood obesity,” said lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, a professor of pediatrics, public health and public policy at UCLA, where he directs the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. “The findings should serve as a wake-up call to physicians, parents and teachers, who should be better informed of the risk for other health conditions associated with childhood obesity so that they can target interventions that can result in better health outcomes.”
With the dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past two decades, there has been a parallel rise in the prevalence of other childhood-onset health conditions, such as attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder, asthma and learning disabilities. But previous studies on the topic have been limited due to a narrow focus on a specific region of the county, a small sample size or a single condition.
The new UCLA research, a large population-based study of children in the United States, provides the first comprehensive national profile of associations between weight status and a broad set of associated health conditions, or co-morbidities, that kids suffer from during childhood.
Overall, the researchers found, obese children were more likely than those who were classified as not overweight to have reported poorer health; more disability; a greater tendency toward emotional and behavioral problems; higher rates of grade repetition, missed school days and other school problems; ADHD; conduct disorder; depression; learning disabilities; developmental delays; bone, joint and muscle problems; asthma; allergies; headaches; and ear infections.
For the study, the researchers used the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, analyzing data on nearly 43,300 children between the ages 10 and 17. They assessed associations between weight status and 21 indicators of general health, psychosocial functioning and specific health disorders, adjusting for sociodemographic factors.
Of the children in the study, 15 percent were considered overweight (a body mass index between the 85th and 95th percentiles), and 16 percent were obese (a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher).
The study, which is currently available online, will be published in the January–February print issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics.
The UCLA researchers speculate that the ongoing shift in chronic childhood conditions is likely related to decades of underappreciated changes in the social and physical environments in which children live, learn and play. They propose that obesity-prevention efforts should target these social and environmental influences and that kids should be screened and managed for the co-morbid conditions.
The researchers add that while the strength of the current study lies in its large population base, future studies need to examine better longitudinal data to tease out causal relationships that cannot be inferred from a cross-sectional study.
“Obesity might be causing the co-morbidity, or perhaps the co-morbidity is causing obesity — or both might be caused by some other unmeasured third factor,” Halfon said. “For example, exposure to toxic stress might change the neuroregulatory processes that affect impulse control seen in ADHD, as well as leptin sensitivity, which can contribute to weight gain. An understanding of the association of obesity with other co-morbidities may provide important information about causal pathways to obesity and more effective ways to prevent it.”
Halfon’s co-authors on the study included Kandyce Larson and Dr. Wendy Slusser, both of UCLA.
The study was supported by funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resource Services Administration.
The authors have no financial ties to disclose.
For more information on the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, please visit www.healthychild.ucla.edu.
2010 study posted for filing
Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body, according to a new study on the topic. The report, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, appears in ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.
Jong Won Yun and colleagues point out that obesity is a major public health threat worldwide, linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. Laboratory studies have hinted that capsaicin may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood. Nobody, however, knows exactly how capsaicin might trigger such beneficial effects.
In an effort to find out, the scientists fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to lab rats used to study obesity. The capsaicin-treated rats lost 8 percent of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat. The altered proteins work to break down fats. “These changes provide valuable new molecular insights into the mechanism of the antiobesity effects of capsaicin,” the scientists say.
ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Proteomic Analysis for Antiobesity Potential of Capsaicin on White Adipose Tissue in Rats Fed with a High Fat Diet”
DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/pr901175w
CONTACT: Jong Won Yun, Ph.D. Department of Biotechnology Daegu University Kyungsan, Kyungbuk Korea Phone: 82-53-850-6556 Fax: 82-53-850-6559 Email: email@example.com
2010 report posted for filing
TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) — One in every two U.S. children now grapples at some time with a chronic health condition, such as asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity, new research suggests.
The good news is that for many of those children, their chronic childhood illness won’t persist. Just over 7 percent of those who reported a chronic condition at the beginning of the study still had the condition six years later.
“Over time, we found the rates of chronic conditions and obesity in U.S. children increased, but quite a few of these conditions resolved on their own,” said study author Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.
The findings are published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A chronic health condition is one that lasts at least 12 months, according to the study. Some of the conditions included asthma, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, heart problems, allergic conditions, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, sinus infections, ear infections and more. Obesity was defined as a body-mass index in the 95th percentile or higher for the child’s gender and age.
The researchers conducted the study using three different groups of children. The first cohort, which included 2,337 children, was interviewed during 1988 to 1994; the second, which included 1,759 children, was interviewed during 1994 to 2000 and the final group, which included 905 children, was interviewed from 2000 to 2006.
At the beginning of each period, the children were between the ages of 2 and 8; chronic conditions were confirmed by reports from parents.
At the end of each study, the prevalence of chronic illness or obesity was 12.8 percent in the first (earliest) group, 25 percent for the second group and 26.6 percent for the third (and most recent) group. The third group also had the highest prevalence of reporting a chronic condition at any time during the six-year study period, with 51.5 percent reporting a chronic condition at some point during the study.
The risk of having a chronic condition was higher for males, and for children who were black or Hispanic. Kids who had overweight mothers were far more likely to be overweight themselves, according to the study.
What surprised the authors, however, was that the chronic conditions weren’t always lasting. Overall, only 7.4 percent of the children who had a chronic condition at the start of the study still had that same condition at the end of the research period.
“We’ve always thought of chronic conditions as quite permanent, so these findings give a lot of hope for kids with chronic conditions and obesity,” said Van Cleave.
She said these findings also raise a number of research questions, as well as point to the need for good health care, including prevention and education services.
“It’s likely that a lot of these conditions resolved because families made lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods, reducing screen time and becoming more physically active,” she said.
“The burden of chronic disease in children is pretty high,” said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, a cardiologist and an associate professor at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
Raghuveer said she isn’t sure how much of the fluctuation in chronic conditions is real, because they’re based on parental reports. “Some of the major issues here, like established childhood obesity, don’t fluctuate and go away in our experience without a rigorous attempt. Although it’s probably reassuring that at least some of these conditions may go away in time,” she said.
But the bottom line, she said, is that U.S. children need better health habits. “This is just another study emphasizing what many already knew. And, if we don’t eradicate the root causes, such as bad eating and little exercise, we’ll continue to see a lot more morbidity in children,” Raghuveer said.
“I’m seeing more and more kids with high cholesterol and insulin resistance that already have blood vessel damage in them. They’re already like a 45-year-old in terms of blood vessel health. We need a basic change in how we live and how we eat. Prevention is key,” she stressed.
2009 study posted for filing
Contact: Andrea Grossman
Tufts University, Health Sciences
BOSTON (May 18, 2009) Curcumin, the major polyphenol found in turmeric, appears to reduce weight gain in mice and suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice and cell models. Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA) studied mice fed high fat diets supplemented with curcumin and cell cultures incubated with curcumin.
“Weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form, a process known as angiogenesis.” said senior author Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. “Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high fat diets.”
Meydani continued, “It is important to note, we don’t know whether these results can be replicated in humans because, to our knowledge, no studies have been done.”
Turmeric is known for providing flavor to curry. One of its components is curcumin, a type of phytochemical known as a polyphenol. Research findings suggest that phytochemicals, which are the chemicals found in plants, appear to help prevent disease. As the bioactive component of turmeric, curcumin is readily absorbed for use by the body.
Meydani and colleagues studied mice fed high fat diets for 12 weeks. The high fat diet of one group was supplemented with 500 mg of curcumin/ kg diet; the other group consumed no curcumin. Both groups ate the same amount of food, indicating curcumin did not affect appetite, but mice fed the curcumin supplemented diet did not gain as much weight as mice that were not fed curcumin.
“Curcumin appeared to be responsible for total lower body fat in the group that received supplementation,” said Meydani, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. “In those mice, we observed a suppression of microvessel density in fat tissue, a sign of less blood vessel growth and thus less expansion of fat. We also found lower blood cholesterol levels and fat in the liver of those mice. In general, angiogenesis and an accumulation of lipids in fat cells contribute to fat tissue growth.”
Writing in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the authors note similar results in cell cultures. Additionally, curcumin appeared to interfere with expression of two genes, which contributed to angiogenesis progression in both cell and rodent models.
“Again, based on this data, we have no way of telling whether curcumin could prevent fat tissue growth in humans.” Meydani said. “The mechanism or mechanisms by which curcumin appears to affect fat tissue must be investigated in a randomized, clinical trial involving humans.”
This study was funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Asma Ejaz, a graduate student who worked on this project received a scholarship grant from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
Ejaz A, Wu, D, Kwan P, and Meydani M. Journal of Nutrition. May 2009; 139 (5): 1042-1048. “Curcumin Inhibits Adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Angiogenesis and Obesity in C57/BL Mice. 919-925.”
About Tufts University School of Nutrition
The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school’s eight centers, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy. For two decades, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has studied the relationship between good nutrition and good health in aging populations. Tufts research scientists work with federal agencies to establish the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and other significant public policies.
If you are a member of the media interested in learning more about this topic, or speaking with a faculty member at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, or another Tufts health sciences researcher, please contact Andrea Grossman at 617-636-3728 or Christine Fennelly at 617-636-3707.
2009 study posted for filing
Contact: Emma Ross
International Association for the Study of Obesity
Study in pregnant women suggests probiotics may help ward off obesity
Amsterdam, the Netherlands: One year after giving birth, women were less likely to have the most dangerous kind of obesity if they had been given probiotics from the first trimester of pregnancy, found new research that suggests manipulating the balance of bacteria in the gut may help fight obesity.
Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria. They are part of the normal digestive system and play a role in controlling inflammation. Researchers have for many years been studying the potential of using probiotic supplementation to address a number of intestinal diseases. More recently, obesity researchers have started to investigate whether the balance of bacteria in the gut might play a role in making people fat and whether adjusting that balance could help.
“The results of our study, the first to demonstrate the impact of probiotics-supplemented dietary counselling on adiposity, were encouraging,” said Kirsi Laitinen, a nutritionist and senior lecturer at the University of Turku in Finland who presented her findings on Thursday at the European Congress on Obesity. “The women who got the probiotics fared best. One year after childbirth, they had the lowest levels of central obesity as well as the lowest body fat percentage.”
“Central obesity, where overall obesity is combined with a particularly fat belly, is considered especially unhealthy,” Laitinen said. “We found it in 25% of the women who had received the probiotics along with dietary counselling, compared with 43% in the women who received diet advice alone.”
In the study, 256 women were randomly divided into three groups during the first trimester of pregnancy. Two of the groups received dietary counselling consistent with what’s recommended during pregnancy for healthy weight gain and optimal foetal development. They were also given food such as spreads and salad dressings with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as fibre-enriched pasta and breakfast cereal to take home. One of those groups also received daily capsules of probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are the most commonly used probiotics. The other group received dummy capsules. A third group received dummy capsules and no dietary counselling. The capsules were continued until the women stopped exclusive breastfeeding, up to 6 months.
The researchers weighed the women at the start of the study. At the end of the study they weighed them again and measured their waist circumference and skin fold thickness. The results were adjusted for weight at the start of the study.
Central obesity – defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a waist circumference over 80 centimetres – was found in 25% of the women who had been given the probiotics as well as diet advice. That compared with 43% of the women who got dietary counselling alone and 40% of the women who got neither diet advice nor probiotics. The average body fat percentage in the probiotics group was 28%, compared with 29% in the diet advice only group and 30% in the third group.
Laitinen said further research is needed to confirm the potential role of probiotics in fighting obesity. One of the limitations of the study was that it did not control for the mothers’ weight before pregnancy, which may influence how fat they later become.
She said she and her colleagues will continue to follow the women and their babies to see whether giving probiotics during pregnancy has any influence on health outcomes in the children.
“The advantage of studying pregnant women to investigate the potential link between probiotics and obesity is that it allows us to see the effects not only in the women, but also in their children,” she said. “Particularly during pregnancy, the impacts of obesity can be immense, with the effects seen both in the mother and the child. Bacteria are passed from mother to child through the birth canal, as well as through breast milk and research indicates that early nutrition may influence the risk of obesity later in life. There is growing evidence that this approach might open a new angle on the fight against obesity, either through prevention or treatment.”
Latinen’s study was funded by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Academy of Finland and the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, a Finnish medical research charity.
Catalogue no: T1:RS1.3 oral presentation, Elicium 2, 09.30 hrs CET Thursday 7 May.
Results send “grim message” that obese teen males may become impotent, infertile adults
Release Date: October 12, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A study by the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that obese males ages 14 to 20 have up to 50 percent less total testosterone than do normal males of the same age, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults.
The paper was published online as an accepted article in Clinical Endocrinology.
The authors are the same researchers in the University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who first reported in 2004 the presence of low testosterone levels, known as hypogonadism, in obese, type 2 diabetic adult males and confirmed it in 2010 in more than 2,000 obese men, both diabetic and nondiabetic.
“We were surprised to observe a 50 percent reduction in testosterone in this pediatric study because these obese males were young and were not diabetic,” says Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the UB medical school and first author on the study. “The implications of our findings are, frankly, horrendous because these boys are potentially impotent and infertile,” says Dandona. “The message is a grim one with massive epidemiological implications.”
The paper is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22970699.
The small study included 25 obese and 25 lean males and was controlled for age and level of sexual maturity. Concentrations of total and free testosterone and estradiol, an estrogen hormone, were measured in morning fasting blood samples. The results need to be confirmed with a larger number of subjects, Dandona says.
“These findings demonstrate that the effect of obesity is powerful, even in the young, and that lifestyle and nutritional intake starting in childhood have major repercussions throughout all stages of life,” he says.
In addition to the reproductive consequences, the absence or low levels of testosterone that were found also will increase the tendency toward abdominal fat and reduced muscle, Dandona says, leading to insulin resistance, which contributes to diabetes.
“The good news is that we know that testosterone levels do return to normal in obese adult males who undergo gastric bypass surgery,” says Dandona. “It’s possible that levels also will return to normal through weight loss as a result of lifestyle change, although this needs to be confirmed by larger studies.”
The UB researchers now intend to study whether or not weight loss accomplished either through lifestyle changes or through pharmacological intervention will restore testosterone levels in obese teen males.
Co-authors with Dandona are Muniza Mogri, MD, a medical resident in the UB Department of Pediatrics, Sandeep Dhindsa, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at UB; Husam Ghanim, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine; and Teresa Quattrin, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, housed in Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.
Researchers study fish-eater cohort along Lake Michigan
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Prenatal exposure to an insecticide commonly used up until the 1970s may play a role in the obesity epidemic in women, according to a new study involving several Michigan State University researchers.
More than 250 mothers who live along and eat fish from Lake Michigan were studied for their exposure to DDE – a breakdown of DDT. The study, published as an editor’s choice in this month’s edition of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, analyzed DDE levels of the women’s offspring.
Compared to the group with the lowest levels, those with intermediate levels gained an average of 13 pounds excess weight, and those with higher levels gained more than 20 pounds of excess weight.
“Prenatal exposure to toxins is increasingly being looked at as a potential cause for the rise in obesity seen worldwide,” said Janet Osuch, a professor of surgery and epidemiology at MSU’s College of Human Medicine, who was one of the lead authors of the study. “What we have found for the first time is exposure to certain toxins by eating fish from polluted waters may contribute to the obesity epidemic in women.”
Though DDT was banned in 1973 after three decades of widespread use, the chemical and its byproducts remain toxic in marine life and fatty fish. The study was funded by a $300,000 grant from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Osuch said the study’s findings can have a huge impact on how researchers treat – and seek to prevent – obesity. The research team has been awarded a $1 million grant from the same federal agency, the ATSDR, to assess the impact of pollutants and toxins on a wide variety of disorders by determining the importance of second- and third-generation health effects.
“This line of research can transform how we think about the causes of obesity and potentially help us create prenatal tests to show which offspring are at higher risks,” she said.
The mothers who were studied are part of a larger cohort of Michigan fish eaters along Lake Michigan who were recruited in the early 1970s. In 2000, Osuch and research partners approached the cohort and began to identify daughters aged 20 to 50 years old.
“These findings not only apply to the offspring of women in our cohort but to any woman who has been exposed to high levels of DDE when she was growing in her mother’s womb,” Osuch said. “Mothers with the highest DDE levels are women who have consumed a lot of fish or high-fat meats.”
Current recommendations for eating fish call for limiting it to two meals per week; including tuna fish sandwiches. The study also looked at the effects of a second pollutant, PCBs, but found no correlation with weight and body mass index.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving
Posted By Thomas E. RicksTuesday, October 9, 2012 – 10:22 AM
By Jim Gourley
Best Defense department of physical fitness and national security
Obesity and weight-related health conditions have become a prevalent concern to American policy in the last decade. National military leadership was also exposed to obesity’s potential risks to national security with the release of the report “Too Fat to Fight” by Mission Readiness in 2010. The group’s primary message is that a burgeoning population of overweight American children will drastically reduce an already diminished pool of viable candidates for military service in the next ten years. However, these reports indicate only the most general aspects of the problem and focus on projections of future implications. When the scope of the American obesity epidemic is examined specifically within the context of its impact on the armed forces, data shows clearly that the threat is not imminent, but existential.
At present, 62 percent of active duty military members over the age of 20 have a body mass index that falls into either the overweight or obese category. For personnel under the age of 20, the number stands at 35 percent. That is actually an improvement from a 2005 rate of 46 percent. These statistics are often challenged due to the disputable methods of calculating Body Mass Index (BMI). However, the 2011 Annual Summary of the Armed Forces Health Survey Center cites 21,185 medical diagnoses for overweight, obesity and hyperalimentation (overeating). Research also dispels service culture stigmas. No service is immune to overweight issues. Comparing the relative percentages of overweight/obese service members, the Navy is the fattest service at 62.7 percent, followed by the Army at 61 percent, the Air Force at 58.8 percent. The Marines register the fittest at 55.1 percent, still substantially more than half overweight. Closer examination shows that more than 12 percent of active duty service members in each service are obese. The Marines break the trend more significantly in this category with a 6.1 percent obesity rate.
The increase of girth in the military progressed at a linear rate between 1995 and 2005, but has remained fairly consistent since then. However, emerging data indicates that the overweight population may rise further in the next ten years if the military is to meet recruiting goals. A new study by the Trust for America’s Health predicts that more than half of Americans in 39 states will be obese by 2030. This is disturbing enough, but it becomes even more troubling for the armed forces when individual state recruitment trends are compared to their childhood obesity rates. All ten states that contributed the most military inductees in 2010 have childhood obesity rates greater than 15 percent. Three of them (including Texas, which was second in total recruitment with over 15,000 new military members) exhibit rates between 20-25 percent. The preponderance of our young military members come from the most ponderous states.
The problem is not simply one of cosmetics or intangible metrics of combat performance. The costs of an unfit military carry a real-dollar value. A 2007 joint study by The Lewin Group and TRICARE management activity estimated that the Defense Department spends $1.1 billion annually on medical care for obesity and overweight conditions. This study included dependents and retirees who qualified for TRICARE Prime coverage. More restricted to the active duty component are the costs to manpower. The AFHSC report tallied 245 “bed days” for medical treatment directly linked to weight issues, and 4,555 service members were involuntarily separated for failing to meet weight standards in 2008. The recruiting and initial entry training costs alone represent a loss of $225 million. Adding in specific military job training, logistics, equipment and the cost of lost duty days brings the annual price tag of overweight service members to about $1.5 billion. That exceeds the military’s budget for Predator drones in 2010. Themilitary still fails to grasp the true scale of the problem so long as comorbidities of overweight and obesity remain unexamined. There were more than 42,000 service members affected by hypertension and another 5,700 by diabetes in 2011. Hypertension alone ranks in the top thirty conditions affecting active duty service members. Also overlooked is the expense of XXL chemical warfare suits and development of other plus-sized uniform items.
The military’s response to the problem has been mixed. The Army provided waivers to 1,500 new recruits who failed to meet weight standards in 2007. The program remains in place but the numbers of waivers issued in subsequent years have not been published. The Navy had a similar program until 2010. The Air Force never offered such a program and the Marines actually tightened standards in the 2009-2011 time period. Trends suggest that weight standards are on a sliding scale driven largely by manpower requirements and retention problems in a wartime military.
Therein lies the greatest problem. It seems all but certain that American society will continue gaining weight over the next decade. In this regard, the military may be a kind of canary in the cave given its emphasized dependence on physical fitness for mission success. However, without an established position on the matter of physical fitness standards and given the likelihood that leaders at every level will themselves be at an unhealthy weight, it is possible that the military will experience substantial increases in operating costs and diminished capability in the next decade.
Jim Gourley is a Best Defense jolly good fellow.
2008 study posted for filing
Persistent pollutant may promote obesity
Compound shown to affect gene activity at extremely low concentrations
Tributyltin, a ubiquitous pollutant that has a potent effect on gene activity, could be promoting obesity, according to an article in the December issue of BioScience. The chemical is used in antifouling paints for boats, as a wood and textile preservative, and as a pesticide on high-value food crops, among many other applications.
Tributyltin affects sensitive receptors in the cells of animals, from water fleas to humans, at very low concentrations—a thousand times lower than pollutants that are known to interfere with sexual development of wildlife species. Tributyltin and its relatives are highly toxic to mollusks, causing female snails to develop male sexual characteristics, and it bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish.
The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver and the nervous and immune systems in mammals are well known, but its powerful effects on the cellular components known as retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in a range of species are a recent discovery. When activated, RXRs can migrate into the nuclei of cells and switch on genes that cause the growth of fat storage cells and regulate whole body metabolism; compounds that affect a related receptor often associated with RXRs are now used to treat diabetes. RXRs are normally activated by signaling molecules found throughout the body.
The BioScience article, by Taisen Iguchi and Yoshinao Katsu, of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan, describes how RXRs and related receptors are also strongly activated by tributyltin and similar chemicals. Tributyltin impairs reproduction in water fleas through its effects on a receptor similar to the RXR. In addition, tributyltin causes the growth of excess fatty tissue in newborn mice exposed to it in utero. The effects of tributytin on RXR-like nuclear receptors might therefore be widespread throughout the animal kingdom.
The rise in obesity in humans over the past 40 years parallels the increased use of industrial chemicals over the same period. Iguchi and Katsu maintain that it is “plausible and provocative” to associate the obesity epidemic to chemical triggers present in the modern environment. Several other ubiquitous pollutants with strong biological effects, including environmental estrogens such as bisphenol A and nonylphenol, have been shown to stimulate the growth of fat storage cells in mice. The role that tributyltin and similar persistent pollutants may play in the obesity epidemic is now under scrutiny.
After noon EST on 1 December and for the remainder of the month, the full text of the article will be available for free download through the copy of this Press Release available at http://www.aibs.org/bioscience-press-releases/.
BioScience, published 11 times per year, is the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). BioScience publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of biological fields, with a focus on “Organisms from Molecules to the Environment.” The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is an umbrella organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents some 200 member societies and organizations with a combined membership of about 250,000.
CHAPEL HILL – People who use monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as a flavor enhancer in their food are more likely than people who don’t use it to be overweight or obese even though they have the same amount of physical activity and total calorie intake, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study published this month in the journal Obesity.
Researchers at UNC and in China studied more than 750 Chinese men and women, aged between 40 and 59, in three rural villages in north and south China. The majority of study participants prepared their meals at home without commercially processed foods. About 82 percent of the participants used MSG in their food. Those users were divided into three groups, based on the amount of MSG they used. The third who used the most MSG were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than non-users.
“Animal studies have indicated for years that MSG might be associated with weight gain,” said Ka He, M.D., assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. “Ours is the first study to show a link between MSG use and weight in humans.”
Because MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, studying its potential effect on humans has been difficult. He and his colleagues chose study participants living in rural Chinese villages because they used very little commercially processed food, but many regularly used MSG in food preparation.
“We found that prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than in non-users,” He said. “We saw this risk even when we controlled for physical activity, total calorie intake and other possible explanations for the difference in body mass. The positive associations between MSG intake and overweight were consistent with data from animal studies.”
As the percentage of overweight and obese people around the world continues to increase, He said, finding clues to the cause could be very important.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health organizations around the world have concluded that MSG is safe,” He said, “but the question remains – is it healthy?”
Co-authors on the study included Liancheng Zhao and colleagues from Fu Wai Hospital and Cardiovascular Institute at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing. Other researchers on this study were from Northwestern University in Chicago and the INTERMAP Cooperative Research Group.
The study is available online at: http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v16/n8/full/oby2008274a.html
Note: He can be reached at (919) 843-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors Top Five:1. Toxic drugs, toxic system: Sociologist predicts drug disasters 2. Study Suggests 86 Percent of Americans Could be Overweight or Obese by 2030 3. Flu vaccine may not protect seniors well 4. Chronic exposure to estrogen impairs some cognitive functions 5. Vitamin C injections slow tumor growth in mice
In this issue: 1. Is sun exposure a major cause of melanoma? 2. Soy foods are associated with lower sperm concentrations 3. Toxic chemicals found in common scented laundry products, air fresheners 4. Exercise could be the heart’s fountain of youth 5. Gummy bears that fight plaque 6. Japanese diet rich in fish may hold secret to healthy heart 7. At-Home Deaths from Combining Rx Drugs, Street Drugs and/or Alcohol Skyrocket By More Than 3,000 Percent 8. Dietary factors appear to be associated with diabetes risk 9. Foods high in conjugated linoleic acids can enrich breast milk 10. OSU STUDY SHOWS EXPOSURE TO BAD AIR RAISES BLOOD PRESSURE 11. Compound that helps rice grow reduces nerve, vascular damage from diabetes 12. Study Suggests 86 Percent of Americans Could be Overweight or Obese by 2030 13. Hey fever! The surprise benefit of allergies 14. Frankincense provides relief to arthritis sufferers 15. Cholesterol-lowering drug boosts bone repair 16. Experts continue to cite Bifantis as promising probiotic treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome 17. Exercise in a pill 18. Flu vaccine may not protect seniors well 19. New Study Shows Compounds From Soy Affect Brain and Reproductive Development 20. Physicians ask EPA, ‘Antibiotics to cure sick apples, or sick children?’ 21. Schizophrenia researchers welcome new blood 22. Outdoor Activity and Nearsightedness in Children 23. Chronic exposure to estrogen impairs some cognitive functions 24. Toxic drugs, toxic system: Sociologist predicts drug disasters 25. Task Force Finds No Prostate Screening Benefit for Men Over 75 26. Eating fish may prevent memory loss and stroke in old age 27. Canadian study of colds and kids: Positive safety results for ginseng extract 28. Vitamin C injections slow tumor growth in mice 29. Adults who eat eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight 30. Sesame seed extract and konjac gum may help ward off Salmonella and E. coli 31. In era of pills, fewer shrinks doing talk therapy
Health Technology Research Synopsis
36th Issue Date 05 AUG 2008
Compiled By Ralph Turchiano
Age, not underlying diagnosis, key factor in weight gain in children after tonsillectomy
Potentially worrisome weight gains following tonsillectomy occur mostly in children under the age of 6, not in older children, a study by Johns Hopkins experts in otolaryngology- head and neck surgery shows.
Sudden increases in body mass index, or BMI, have been routinely observed for months after some of the more than half-million surgeries performed annually in the United States to remove the sore and swollen tissues at the back of the throat.
The Johns Hopkins study, in 115 children in the Baltimore region, is believed to be the first to dispel long-held beliefs that such weight gains occurred mostly in children whose tonsils were removed as primary treatment for diagnosed sleep apnea, when the swollen, paired tissues partially obstruct breathing and disrupt sleep. It is also believed to be the largest study to analyze weight gain specific to every child’s age group, from 1 through 17.
Although researchers have yet to pinpoint the underlying cause of the weight-gain phenomena, they did find that it happened at the same rate in the 85 children who had the surgery for obstructive sleep apnea as in the 30 who had it due to recurrent episodes of tonsil inflammation.
Senior study investigator, otolaryngologist and sleep medicine expert Stacey Ishman, M.D., M.P.H., says her team’s study findings, scheduled to be presented Sept. 12 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgeons in Washington, D.C., should help alleviate rising concerns among many parents whose adolescent children are already overweight that tonsillectomy may aggravate the problem; or start one in normal weight kids. Recent surveys have shown that record numbers of American children, as many as one-third, are overweight or obese.
“Our study results show that parents’ current concerns about weight gain are serious, but only underweight or normal weight children between the ages of 2 and 6 are most likely to gain even more weight, not older children,” says Ishman, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“Parents with overweight adolescent children need not fear tonsillectomy, and those with younger, normal weight and overweight children just really need to closely watch their child’s diet following surgery, and make caloric adjustments,” says Ishman, who has performed hundreds of the roughly 30-minute procedures that typically require a general anesthetic.
In the study, researchers analyzed the medical records of children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years who had had their tonsils removed at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center between 2008 and 2011. Researchers looked only at those medical records for children who had been routinely examined for at least six months after their procedure, with detailed measurements of any possible weight gain, which were averaged and compared based on a formula involving age, gender and height. All also had a history of recurrent tonsillitis or obstructive sleep apnea, as strictly determined by an individual sleep study analysis.
Results showed an averaged post-surgical weight gain of 2 to 5 pounds – or a 1.0- to 1.2-point increase in averaged BMI scores—but the gains were not dependent on whether the underlying condition was inflammation or sleep apnea. Only age mattered, researchers say, after discounting gender and height.
Ishman says that while such weight gains might appear small, in these children’s small bodies, whose initial weight was between 22 and 60 pounds (or between 10 to 30 kilos), “a 10 percent weight gain can be quite worrisome.”
Results showed a normal weight, 5-year-old boy, weighing 40 pounds (or 18 kilos) and measuring 42 inches tall, who gained 3 pounds after tonsillectomy, would move from the 68th percentile to the 89th percentile in their age-weight group, and become overweight. For an underweight 5-year-old boy of similar height, originally weighing 34 pounds (15 kilos), the same 3-pound weight gain would shift them from the 24th percentile group to the 28th percentile, moving them closer to a normal weight.
However, she says, in an overweight 10-year-old boy, already weighing 90 pounds (41 kilos) and 55 inches tall, there was no weight gain post tonsillectomy, and he remained in the 92nd percentile group, meaning his poor condition did not worsen.
Ishman says her team’s next steps are to gain a better understanding of why and how children’s age affects weight gain post-tonsillectomy. She already has plans to monitor children immediately after surgery to find out what factors or interventions may help underweight children gain pounds, while helping those who are overweight to not get any bigger.
Since 2002 tonsillectomy has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the primary treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, as sleeping aids and drug therapies are not as effective. Studies have shown that if left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to long-term health problems, including increased heart and lung diseases, even death.
Funding support for this study was provided by The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In addition to Ishman, other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in this study were David Smith, M.D., Ph.D., and Emily Boss, M.D., M.P.H. Other study co-investigators included Ami Vikani, B.S., at the George Washington University School of Medicine, in Washington, D.C.; and Fernando Aguirre-Amezquita, M.D., at Escuela de Medicina Ignacio A. Santos de Monterrey, in Mexico.
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A study by UNC pediatrics researchers finds there is no such thing as a ‘1 size fits all’ explanation for childhood obesity
|IMAGE:Asheley Cockrell Skinner, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine, is lead author of the study.|
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A new study by University of North Carolina School of Medicine pediatrics researchers finds a surprising difference in the eating habits of overweight children between ages 9 and 17 years compared to those younger than 9.
Younger children who are overweight or obese consume more calories per day than their healthy weight peers. But among older overweight children the pattern is reversed: They actually consume fewer calories per day than their healthy weight peers.
How to explain such a seemingly counterintuitive finding?
“Children who are overweight tend to remain overweight,” said Asheley Cockrell Skinner, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at UNC and lead author of the study published online Sept. 10, 2012 by the journal Pediatrics.
“So, for many children, obesity may begin by eating more in early childhood. Then as they get older, they continue to be obese without eating any more than their healthy weight peers,” Skinner said. “One reason this makes sense is because we know overweight children are less active than healthy weight kids. Additionally, this is in line with other research that obesity is not a simple matter of overweight people eating more — the body is complex in how it reacts to amount of food eaten and amount of activity.”
These results also suggest that different strategies may be needed to help children in both age groups reach a healthy weight. “It makes sense for early childhood interventions to focus specifically on caloric intake, while for those in later childhood or adolescence the focus should instead be on increasing physical activity, since overweight children tend to be less active,” Skinner said. “Even though reducing calories would likely result in weight loss for children, it’s not a matter of wanting them to eat more like healthy weight kids — they would actually have to eat much less than their peers, which can be a very difficult prospect for children and, especially, adolescents.”
These findings “have significant implications for interventions aimed at preventing and treating childhood obesity,” Skinner said.
In the study, Skinner and co-authors Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, and Michael Steiner, MD, examined dietary reports from 19,125 children ages 1-17 years old that were collected from 2001 to 2008 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They categorized the weight status based on weight-for-length percentile in children less than 2 years old, or body mass index (BMI) percentile for children between 2 and 17, and performed statistical analyses to examine the interactions of age and weight category on calorie intake.
All three study authors are faculty members in the UNC Department of Pediatrics.
Fructose, the sugar widely used as high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and processed foods, often gets some of the blame for the widespread rise in obesity. Now a laboratory study has found that when fructose is present as children’s fat cells mature, it makes more of these cells mature into fat cells in belly fat and less able to respond to insulin in both belly fat and fat located below the skin.
The results will be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego by lead author Georgina Coade, a PhD student at the University of Bristol in the U.K.
“Our results suggest that high levels of fructose, which may result from eating a diet high in fructose, throughout childhood may lead to an increase in visceral [abdominal] obesity, which is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk,” Coade said.
Defined by a large waistline, abdominal obesity raises the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The abdominal cavity contains one of two major types of fat in the body: visceral fat. The other type, subcutaneous fat, is found below the surface of the skin.
Although researchers have shown the negative effects of fructose on the fat distribution of rodents, the effects of this sugar on human adipocytes, or fat cells, are not clear, according to Coade. Therefore, she and her fellow researchers studied biopsy specimens of both subcutaneous and visceral fat from 32 healthy-weight children who had not yet gone through puberty.
From the biopsy samples, the investigators obtained preadipocytes—the precursors to fat cells that have the potential to differentiate, or mature, into fat-containing adipocytes. They then allowed the precursor cells to mature for 14 days in culture media containing normal glucose (the main sugar found in the bloodstream and the principal source of energy in the body), high glucose or high fructose. The researchers assessed cell differentiation by measuring activity of an enzyme (GPDH) and the abundance of the adipocyte fatty acid binding protein, which are both present only in mature fat cells.
Fructose, the research team found, had different effects to that of glucose and caused the fat cells to differentiate more—that is, to form more mature fat cells—but only in visceral fat.
For both types of fat cells, maturation in fructose decreased the cells’ insulin sensitivity, which is the ability to successfully take up glucose from the bloodstream into fat and muscles. Decreased insulin sensitivity is a characteristic of Type 2 diabetes.
Although prolonged exposure to fructose had a negative effect on insulin sensitivity, when Coade and her co-workers exposed mature fat cells, rather than preadipocytes, to fructose for 48 hours, the cells’ insulin sensitivity increased. The reason why is unknown. However, she said, “Fructose alters the behavior of human fat cells if it is present as the fat cells mature. We can maybe compare this [timing] to periods in children when they are making their fat.”
The London-based organization Diabetes UK helped fund this study.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researchers have discovered a link between morbid obesity in toddlers and lower IQ scores, cognitive delays and brain lesions similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease patients, a new study shows.
Although the cause of these cognitive impairments is still unknown, UF researchers suspect the metabolic disturbances obesity causes could be taking a toll on young brains, which are still developing and not fully protected, they write in an article published in the Journal of Pediatrics this month.
“It’s well-known that obesity is associated with a number of other medical problems, such as diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol,” said Daniel J. Driscoll, M.D., Ph.D., a UF professor of pediatrics and molecular genetics and microbiology in the College of Medicine and the lead author of the study. “Now, we’re postulating that early-onset morbid obesity and these metabolic, biochemical problems can also lead to cognitive impairment.”
Researchers compared 18 children and adults with early-onset morbid obesity, which means they weighed at least 150 percent of their ideal body weight before they were 4, with 19 children and adults with Prader-Willi syndrome, and with 24 of their normal-weight siblings. Researchers chose lean siblings as a control group “because they share a socioeconomic group and genetic background,” Driscoll said.
The links between cognitive impairments and Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes people to eat nonstop and become morbidly obese at a very young age if not supervised, are well-established. But researchers were surprised to find that children and adults who had become obese as toddlers for no known genetic reason fared almost as poorly on IQ and achievement tests as Prader-Willi patients. Prader-Willi patients had an average IQ of 63 and patients with early-onset morbid obesity had an average of 78. The control group of siblings had an average IQ of 106, which falls within the range of what is considered normal intelligence.
“It was surprising to find that they had an average IQ score of 78, whereas their control siblings were 106,” Driscoll said. “We feel this may be another complication of obesity that may not be reversible, so it’s very important to watch what children eat even from a very young age. It’s not just setting them up for problems later on, it could affect their learning potential now.”
While performing head MRI scans of subjects, researchers also discovered white-matter lesions on the brains of many of the Prader-Willi and early-onset morbidly obese patients. White-matter lesions are typically found on the brains of adults who have developed Alzheimer’s disease or in children with untreated phenylketonuria, the researchers wrote.
These lesions could be affecting food-seeking centers of the brain, causing the children to feel hungrier. But they are most likely a result of metabolic changes that damage the young, developing brain, Driscoll said.
More studies are needed to understand what is causing these cognitive impairments, said Merlin Butler, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri and chief of genetics and molecular medicine at Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics.
“This could be a really significant observation,” Butler said. “It’s an interesting concept. It’s a whole new area of investigation.”
The findings are preliminary and additional studies are planned, Driscoll said. Jennifer Miller, M.D., a UF assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology and the first author of the study, and other researchers from UF, All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Baylor College of Medicine also took part in the research.
Although there was no known genetic cause for early-onset morbid obesity in the subjects studied, Driscoll said there are likely genetic and hormonal factors at play that researchers have yet to discover, particularly since these children are becoming obese at a time when their parents still control what they eat. The researchers studied several sets of fraternal twins where one twin was lean and the other morbidly obese, yet their parents reported that each ate the same amount of food. In one case, the obese child actually ate less, Driscoll said.
Driscoll is also careful to point out that adults or children who become obese later in childhood are not at-risk for these cognitive impairments because their brains are sufficiently developed to fend off damage from obesity.
“We’re all mindful that this is an obese society,” he said. “We all need to be more careful with respect to what we eat, but in particular, that’s very important for children under 4.”
Obese children show greater exposure than nonobese children to a phthalate, a chemical used to soften plastics in some children’s toys and many household products, according to a new study, which found that the obesity risk increases according to the level of the chemical found in the bloodstream. The study will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society‘s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.
The chemical, di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), is a common type of phthalate, a group of industrial chemicals that are suspected endocrine disruptors, or hormone-altering agents.
In the study, children with the highest DEHP levels had nearly five times the odds of being obese compared with children who had the lowest DEHP levels, study co-author Mi Jung Park, MD, PhD, said.
“Although this study cannot prove causality between childhood obesity and phthalate exposure, it alerts the public to recognize the possible harm and make efforts to reduce this exposure, especially in children,” said Park, a pediatric endocrinologist in Seoul, Korea, at Sanggye Paik Hospital and professor at Inje University College of Medicine.
Phthalates are found in some pacifiers, plastic food packages, medical equipment and building materials such as vinyl flooring, and even in nonplastic personal care products, including soap, shampoo and nail polish.
Prior research has shown that phthalates may change gene expression associated with fat metabolism, according to Dr. Park. Because past research suggested a link between concentrations of phthalate metabolites and increased waist size in adults, her group studied a possible connection with childhood obesity.
Dr.Park and colleagues measured serum levels of DEHP in 204 children: 105 obese and 99 healthy-weight youth ages 6 to 13 years. The researchers divided these DEHP measurements into four groups from the lowest detectable level (40.2 nanograms per milliliter, or ng/mL) to the highest (69.7 to 177.1 ng/mL).
They found that the obese children had a significantly higher average DEHP level than did the nonobese controls (107 versus 53.8 ng/mL, respectively). In particular, a high DEHP level correlated with body mass index and percentage of fat mass. This increased risk of obesity with elevation of DEHP levels was independent of factors such as physical activity and daily calorie intake, according to the authors.
“More research in people is needed to determine whether DEHP exposure contributes to childhood obesity,” Dr.Park said
in their food are more likely than people who don’t use it to be overweight or obese even
though they have the same amount of physical activity and total calorie intake, according
to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study published
this month in the journal Obesity.
Researchers at UNC and in China studied more than 750 Chinese men and women, aged
between 40 and 59, in three rural villages in north and south China. The majority of study
participants prepared their meals at home without commercially processed foods. About
82 percent of the participants used MSG in their food. Those users were divided into
three groups, based on the amount of MSG they used. The third who used the most MSG
were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than non-users
“Animal studies have indicated for years that MSG might be associated with weight
gain,” said Ka He, M.D., assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC
School of Public Health. “Ours is the first study to show a link between MSG use and
weight in humans.”
Because MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, studying its
potential effect on humans has been difficult. He and his colleagues chose study
participants living in rural Chinese villages because they used very little commercially
processed food, but many regularly used MSG in food preparation.
“We found that prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users
than in non-users,” He said. “We saw this risk even when we controlled for physical
activity, total calorie intake and other possible explanations for the difference in
body mass. The positive associations between MSG intake and overweight were
consistent with data from animal studies.”
As the percentage of overweight and obese people around the world continues to
increase, He said, finding clues to the cause could be very important.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health organizations around
the world have concluded that MSG is safe,” He said, “but the question remains – is
Evil: FDA as well as others refuse to investigate the science, exposing the world to an Obesity Epidemic