Obesity All Over the News

The global obesity epidemic is getting plenty of attention, and rightly so.

In Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live he address the state of obesity and weight loss and many of the health complications of being overweight:

Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two thirds of those with problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity-related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3 Since dieting almost never works and the health risk of obesity are so life threatening, more and more people are desperately turning to drugs and surgical procedures to lose weight.

Health Complications of Obesity
Increase overall premature mortalityLipid disorders
Adult onset diabetesObstructive sleep apnea
HypertensionGallstones
Degenerative arthritisFatty infiltration of liver
Coronary artery diseaseRestrictive lung disease
CancerGastrointestinal diseases

(Rather than losing weight with a temporary diet, Dr. Fuhrman advocates permanently shifting the focus of eating to the healthiest and most nutritious foods.)

Recent news is full of new angles and thoughts on obesity. Reuters reports one such study links obesity to migraines:

As BMI increased, so did the frequency of migraine attacks. The [research] team notes that 4.4 percent of the normal weight group had 10 to 15 headache days per month. This increased to 5.8 percent in the overweight group, 13.6 percent in the obese group and 20.7 percent in the morbidly obese group.

The percentage of subjects who reported severe migraines also increased with BMI group, from 53 percent in subjects of normal weight to 57 percent in the overweight group, 59 percent in the obese group and 65 percent in the morbidly obese group.

According to Reuters another study claims that many parents can't admit their children are overweight:

Many parents do not identify their child as "overweight," but will select a sketch of a heavier model when asked to choose one representative of their child, new study findings show.

"Comparisons between images and sketches showed that parents' visual perceptions of their children more clearly reflect their child's physical appearance than words they might use to classify the child's weight," study author Dr. Helen J. Binns, of Northwestern University in Chicago.

The AFP is reporting that Sweden will begin screening four-year-olds for obesity:

In addition to registering Swedish four-year-olds' height and weight development, pediatricians will be asked to survey their BMI, which measures the relative percentages of fat and muscle mass in the body by dividing weight in kilos by height in meters and which is considered the best index for obesity.

"In most children, weight problems won't surface until later, but by checking four-year-olds we hope to find people who are especially at risk, who are genetically predisposed to become overweight," Carl-Erik Flodmark, head physician at the child obesity center in Skaane in southern Sweden.

1. Must, A.,J. Spadano, E.H. Coakley, et al. 1999. The disease burden associated with overweight and obesity. JAMA 282 (16): 1523-29.

2. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. 1998. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reprint. Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health.

3. Must, Spadano, et al. Op. Cit.; Allison, D.B., K.R. Fontaine, J.E. Manson, et al. 1999. Annual deaths attributable to obesity in the United States. JAMA 282 (16): 1530-38.

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philip - March 11, 2006 2:41 AM

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