A new study that looked at 32 years of data shows that your chubby pals might be making you fat. No seriously, researchers looked at a long term heart disease study that tracked people's weight as well as their friends and family members. By analyzing connections in people's social network they found that when one person gained weight, their friends were more likely to gain weight as well. Interestingly the effect was stronger with friends than it was with families.
The article above features more formal speculation by the scientists about the reasons for this correlation. However, in my unprofessional opinion this makes tons of sense. I mean acceptable body size and eating habits seem heavily affected by the people you hang out with. Eating is almost always social for me and as a result there is social pressure to eat in similar ways to everyone else I know. I mean I sure don't take the ladies on dates to Burger King, but then again when I am hangin' with some more "shlubby" of my "dude" pals I am more likely to strap on the feed bag at the OCB. But for the most part my friends eat healthy and in moderation and as result so do I...most of the time.
I've even experienced social pressure to reign in bad eating habits. I am a bit of a candy addict...that's probably an understatement. You know when you find your self at Super America at 3am buying a creamy long john, nerd rope, 32oz. of Coke, and a pack of Chewey Runts, well you have a problem. But, I digress. Since these habits fall outside of the norm for my social group I regularly feel pressured not to engage in this obviously detrimental behavior. Which, trust me, isn't a bad thing.
I would love to see more studies looking at the social aspects of the obesity epidemic. And I especially would love to hear your ideas on this subject.
One out of every eight U.S. federal health care dollars is spent treating people with diabetes. A report by Medco Health Solutions Inc. issued last month found that the growing diabetes epidemic and more aggressive treatment could result in soaring costs to treat the disease over the next three years.
An analysis of Medco's 2007 Drug Trend Report found that, by 2009, spending just on medicines to treat diabetes could soar 60 percent to 68 percent from 2006 levels. The sales of diabetes drugs in the United States reached $9.88 billion in 2005, according to data from IMS Health Inc. Yahoo News
Over the next 30 years, diabetes is expected to claim the lives of 62 million Americans. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in heart disease, stroke, vision loss, amputation of extremities and kidney disease.
Using data from an ongoing federal health survey of U.S. adults, researchers found that, on average, obese 18-year-old men had a 50.1-percent lifetime risk of developing diabetes, while obese women had a 57.3-percent risk. Diabetes Care, June 2007.
If we are going to stem the growing burden of diabetes, we must improve our prevention efforts. You can start by reading about diabetes(World Health Organization fact sheet).
No, its not bird flu, but there is a pandemic rapidly spreading through the world and contributing to a variety of diseases.
What is it?
"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world,” Professor Paul Zimmet declared at the opening speech of the International Congress on Obesity. He also said, "it's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu.”
Obesity puts people at a higher risk for getting diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.
How bad is this pandemic?
There are about 6.5 billion people in the world. There are one billion overweight people in the world. So that means that 15 percent of the world population is affected by or will potentially be affected by the diseases related to being overweight. That’s a lot. Of the one billion overweight people, about 300 million are diagnosed as obese. But that is still a significant percentage of the world population (about five percent).
Interestingly enough, there are actually more overweight people in the world than undernourished. At least one billion people are overweight, whereas about 600 million people are undernourished.
Those statistics were for the whole world. But in certain countries, particularly Australia, England and the United States, the number of overweight people is much higher. In Australia, 25 percent of children, 50 percent of adult women, and 67 percent of men are overweight. The exact statistics for the U.S. were not given at the Australian International Congress on Obesity, but they were mentioned to be even higher than Australia’s percentages.
Not only is obesity a health problem, but it is an economic problem. Especially in the countries of Australia, England and the U.S., where billions of dollars are spent each year on treating health problems directly connected to being overweight. In fact, in the U.S., the states with the highest obesity levels also have the highest poverty rates.
How can we stop it?
According to the Trust for America's Health advocacy group, at least $5.6 billion could be saved when it comes to treating heart disease if just one-tenth of Americans began a regular walking program.
It seems like it would be pretty easy to stop this pandemic if we quit being so lazy.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently drew a correlation between drinking excess amounts of soda or sugary drinks and weight gain. Researchers stated an extra soda or sugary drink a day can pile on fifteen extra pounds in a year.
It sounds a little outrageous, doesn't it?
However, according a report in the International Journal of Obesity, comfortable temperatures is one of the top factors that may cause obesity.
Close to 25% of Americans are considered obese. It is becoming a significant medical problem in our country. Why is this happening?
It is quite apparent that poor diet and lack of exercise, the "Big Two," can lead to obesity, but there are other factors that also play a role.
David Allison, an obesity researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his team of 19 researchers generated a list of the "Top Ten" other contributors to obesity. The list includes lack of sleep, medicines with a weight gain side effect, fewer smokers, comfortable temperatures, reproductive factors, and more.
Upon first inspection, it seems strange that comfortable temperatures even made the list. However, when our bodies are uncomfortable they use up energy to bring us to a more stable level. When we are too cold, we burn fat to stay warm. When we are too hot, we naturally become less hungry. Also, our bodies react to disagreeable temperatures by shivering and sweating. Heating and air-conditioning make life easier by regulating our body temperature for us.
Should we spend less time in our comfortable air-conditioned homes and more time sweating in the sun?
A group of Danish researchers, led by David Erritzoe, used PET scans to link obesity and serotonin receptors. This suggests the possibility of curbing appetite with future drugs.
We found that a high body mass index is associated with a high density of the 5-HT2A receptor in several brain regions--suggesting that overweight people have an upregulation (increase) of their brain 5-HT2A receptors. ...A number of drugs that block the 5-HT2A receptor are associated with weight gain; at the same time, studies in animals suggest that stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor induces weight loss," David Erritzoe, research fellow with the Neurobiology Research Unit and Center for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Radiotracers, attached to simple compounds such as glucose, are administered to a patient and then detected or "traced" by a special type of camera that works with computers to provide precise pictures of the area of the body being imaged.
More than60 million U.S. adults 20 years of age and older are obese. Being obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.