As obesity keeps rising, more Americans are just giving up

7 MAR 2017

posted in Daily News, Eugenics, Health, U.S. News by apocalypse29
WSeight loss
While more Americans becoming overweight or obese, fewer are trying to slim down, according to a new study. (Dreamstime / TNS)
Melissa Healy
It stands to reason that if you know you’re overweight or obese, and you know your extra pounds are unhealthy, that you’ve made a stab at losing weight. Right?

Not so much anymore, new research shows.

The proportion of American adults who were either overweight or obese has been growing steadily for decades, rising from about 53% a generation ago to roughly 66% more recently.

But the share of these adults who had gone on a diet dropped during the same period, researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

The study relied on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an ongoing project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the first survey period, between 1988 and 1994, about 56% of overweight or obese adults reported they had tried to lose weight in the last year. By the last survey period, between 2009 and 2014, the proportion of overweight or obese respondents reporting recent weight-loss attempts had declined to about 49%.

That trend was considered statistically significant in white women and white men. But it was most pronounced among African American women, 55% of whom were overweight or obese in the final years of the study.

In the first survey period, about 66% of black women who were overweight or obese said they had tried to lose weight in the last 12 months. By the last period, 55% of overweight or obese black women said they had made weight-loss efforts.

The authors of the new report, a team from Georgia Southern University’s College of Public Health, offered a relatively simple explanation for this phenomenon, writing that “socially acceptable body weight is increasing.”

They pointed to a 2010 study in the journal Obesity that chronicled “a generational shift in social norms related to body weight” in which, effectively, fat has become the new normal. Between 1998 and 2004, that study showed, both men and women became less likely to classify themselves as overweight, even when their body mass index indicated that they were.

That shift, said the authors of the Obesity study, may make people less likely “to desire weight loss than previously, limiting the effectiveness of public health campaigns aimed at weight reduction.” (On the other hand, those authors suggested, “there may be health benefits associated with improved body image.”)

But the researchers who produced the new report in JAMA acknowledged that there may be other faults in the chain of reasoning that goes, “if fat, then diet.”

Certainly, they wrote, it’s possible that “body weight misperception” may be reducing people’s motivation to engage in weight-loss efforts. And it may be that primary-care physicians, who are supposed to counsel obese patients to lose weight, are failing to do so.

But the authors also acknowledged another possibility: that many people have been overweight or obese for so long — and tried dieting so many times — that they have simply given up.

“The longer adults live with obesity, the less they may be willing to attempt weight loss, in particular if they had attempted weight loss multiple times without success,” they wrote.

That wearying pattern is very real: A 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that the post-diet body undergoes a host of changes designed to ensure that lost weight is regained.

Metabolic rate drops, allowing the post-diet body to do more with fewer calories. Myriad hormonal signals shift in ways that boost appetite. Those changes endure for at least a year after weight is lost, the study found. Even after weight is regained, many of those changes persist, leading to further weight gain.

Replicated by other studies, that research helps explain the discouraging finding that within five years of having lost weight, 95% of dieters will regain all the weight they lost. And most will gain a few extra pounds as well.

It is likely that many Americans are just “letting themselves go.” But it’s also possible that some of the overweight and obese people who haven’t tried losing weight in the last year have heard from a growing chorus of experts — or discovered for themselves — that dieting may not be the most sustainable way to improve their health. While weight loss would be ideal, regular exercise can mitigate some of the effects of carrying excess weight.

And for public health officials, laying off the fat-shaming might not be such a bad idea either. A study published this year in Obesity found that for some obese people, weight bias and discrimination raise the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Nearly 90% of the study’s participants were women, and two-thirds were African American.

Obese people who tended to “internalize” weight discrimination and fat-shaming were less healthy, the study found. The author, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Rebecca L. Pearl, said that absorbing messages of weight bias “can negatively affect … mental health and lead to unhealthy behaviors like overeating.”


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7 JAN 2016
Low-income communities more likely to face childhood obesity
posted in Daily News, Health, U.S. News by apocalypse29
For a long time researchers have tracked high rates of obesity among black and Hispanic kids, but a closer look at communities shows family income matters more than race in predicting which kids are overweight.

Using a model created from data on 111,799 Massachusetts students, the University of Michigan Health System showed that as poverty rises, so does the rate of obesity among children in 68 of its public school districts.

Although obesity rates were higher among African-American and Hispanic kids, the relationship disappeared when factoring in family income, according to the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity.

Authors concluded that fewer resources like recreational programs and parks and access to full service grocery stores appear to have a greater impact on the nation’s childhood obesityrate than race.

“The findings reveal differences in the inequalities in the physical and social environment in which children are raised,” says senior author Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a cardiologist and director at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “It illustrates that race and ethnicity in communities may not have a significant connection to obesity status once the community’s income is considered.”

In low-income communities where places to play and supermarkets may be scarce, it can promote consumption of low nutrition and fast food and little to no physical activity, authors say.

Among the school districts for every 1 percent increase in low-income status there was a 1.17 percent increase in rates of overweight/obese students.

Eagle and colleagues from the Michigan Clinical Outcomes Research and Reporting Program used data collected from mandated student body mass index screenings that began in Massachusetts schools in 2011.

To correlate community rates of childhood obesity with lower-income status, the percentage of students who were overweight or obese was compared with the percentage of students in each district who was eligible for free and reduced price lunch, transitional aid or food stamps.

The resulting model presented a strong argument that low-income children and adolescents are more likely to be obese than their higher income peers.

“The battle to curb childhood obesity is critically tied to understanding its causes and focusing on the modifiable factors that can lead to positive health changes for each and every child,” Eagle says.

Obesity rates among adults and children in the United States have steadily risen in the past few decades. About 18.4 percent of 12-19-year-olds are overweight or obese and childhood obesity often continues into adulthood.

There’s a 70 percent chance that an overweight adolescent will remain overweight or obese as an adult, and in the short run, obesity can lead to cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and abnormal glucose tolerance or diabetes.

Grass roots efforts are changing the tide in children’s health status. Project Healthy Schools, which was founded by Eagle 10 years ago in collaboration with public and private partners, teaches sixth grade students the importance of making healthy food choices and reducing time spent watching TV and video games.

Following the program students had lower levels of cholesterol and other blood fats.

“Ultimately, bottom-up neighborhood, school, and community engagement and education, and top-down legislative actions that will support healthier choices for adults and children, are needed to battle this health crisis,” Eagle says.


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Review of 200 Studies Confirms That Every Pound Gained Increases Risk of Many Cancers

A review of over 200 studies has revealed a substantial link between body fat and 11 different types of cancer, prompting calls for further research and tougher efforts to tackle the obesity crisis.

Just a few years ago, the first a causal link was shown in a study published in Cancer Prevention Researchdetailing how visceral fat is linked to colon cancer.

An excess of visceral fat is classically known as central obesity, the “pot belly” or “beer belly” effect, in which the abdomen protrudes excessively.

This body type is also known as “apple shaped,” as opposed to “pear shaped,” in which fat is deposited on the hips and buttocks. Scientists have come to recognize that body fat, instead of body weight, is the key to evaluating obesity.

MRI scan of a morbidly obese 250 pound woman (left) and healthier 120 pound woman (right). The areas of pronounced visceral fat are evident on the obese woman around the abdominal cavity.

It’s one of the reasons Body Mass Index (BMI) is a very poor indicator of health and Body Composition is far more accurate.

Biomarkers such as waist-hip and waist-to-height ratios are also linked to cardiovascular function, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HDL and total cholesterol as well as well-being.

Whilst studies into the link between obesity and cancer are rife, the quality of analysis has often been weak, say a team of researchers at Imperial College London.

In order to provide finer detail of those at most risk, an umbrella evaluation was carried out on 204 studies into adiposity and its link with 36 forms of cancer.

Of those evaluated, researchers found that strong evidence supports the link with only 11 types of cancer.

These were: oesophageal, multiple myeloma (cancer of white blood cells), cancers of the gastric cardia (stomach), colon, rectum, biliary tract system (bile duct), pancreas, breast, endometrium (uterus), ovary, and kidney.

Statistical analysis was carried out to reveal discrepancies and evidence of bias between studies.

The report concluded that besides the connections they found to be strong, ‘Other associations could be genuine but uncertainty remains’, and called for further research.

Obesity Risks

The report showed that increases of just several kilograms in body weight can significantly increase the chance of developing cancers.

Risk of postmenopausal breast cancer for example, was shown to increase by 11% for every 5kg (11 pounds) gained. Similarly, the risk of colon cancer in men increases 36% for every 5kg increase in body mass index (BMI).

Maria Kyrgiou, a co-author of the study, told FoodNavigator:

“Being overweight or obese causes disruption in many hormonal and metabolic pathways.

“Excess adiposity has been linked to higher oestrogen levels, higher insulin levels and increased inflammation, all of which can affect cell division and therefore cancer development.

“Reducing the obesity epidemic by tackling the factors that predispose to it, including eating, drinking and exercise habits to mention few, as early as possible would obviously be of utmost importance.”

Obesity is one of the principle health issues worldwide. World Health Organisation data shows that one in three children aged 11 in the European region are overweight or obese.

In the UK, 68% of men and 58% of women are obese. The burden on health, labour and care is thought to cost tens of billions.

The researchers advised that policy makers need to focus on obesity prevention programmes at young ages, as soon as possible.

If You Must Exercise For Your Health, Do It For Visceral Fat

Speaking to a meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco, Cris Slentz said he was surprised at how rapidly fat accumulated deep in the abdomens of patients who did not exercise.

Volunteers who did no exercise had an 8.6 percent increase in visceral fat after eight months, while those who exercised the most lost 8.1 percent of their visceral fat, Slentz said.

“The results of our investigation show that in sedentary overweight adults, who continue to choose a sedentary lifestyle, the detrimental effects are worse and more rapid than we previously thought,” Slentz said in a statement.

“We probably should not have been surprised since this simply mirrors the increasingly rapid rise in obesity prevalence seen in the U.S., where at present two out of three adults are overweight or obese.”

Women gained fat twice as quickly as the men did, Slentz said. Exercise takes the fat away quickly, but it has to be pretty vigorous, Slentz and colleagues found.

Doing bursts of hard exercise not only improves cardiovascular fitness but also the body’s ability to burn visceral fat, even during low- or moderate-intensity workouts, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Eight women in their early 20s cycled for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. Over two weeks, they completed seven interval workouts.

After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent, said Jason L. Talanian, the lead author of the study and an exercise scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

Cardiovascular fitness — the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working muscles — improved by 13 percent. Results were independent from any type of special dieting or food plans.

It didn’t matter how fit the subjects were before. Borderline sedentary subjects and the college athletes had similar increases in fitness and fat burning.

“Even when interval training was added on top of other exercise they were doing, they still saw a significant improvement,” Mr. Talanian said.

You can choose any form of exercise you like. It can be calisthenics or as simple as walking. The key is to start where you’re comfortable and build from there.

Here’s a routine you can try at home:

  • Begin walking for a few minutes at a comfortable pace to warm up.
  • Increase the pace and lengthen your strides. Let your body adapt.
  • Now step up the pace until you’re breathing heavy. Keep up the pace for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now recover. Keep track of how long it takes your heart rate to return to normal.
  • Once your heart rate drops down, do another set. Do this between 2 and 5 times, depending on how you feel.

Although dietary choices influence visceral fat, researchers have found that vigorous exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce it.

Gender differences do exist for visceral fat and it’s important that scientists begin to recognize this significant finding.

Huffman stated:

“…there are important gender differences in how adiposity and nutrients interact with the tumor environment.”

He noted that more studies are needed to definitively uncover the mechanisms behind the causality between visceral fat and cancer, to determine how abdominal obesity and nutrient availability act independently during the stages of tumor promotion and progression, and to determine how other strategies to promote weight loss affect cancer risk.

Mortality and financial trends associated with cancer and heart disease seems to suggest that future efforts should increase social marketing awareness of visceral fat and the associated effects in men and women.

Which matters the most in the battle of the bulge? Certainly not subcutaneous fat.



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