Big fat future

August 9, 2008

Most adults in the U.S. will be overweight or obese by 2030, with related health care spending projected to be as much as $956.9 billion, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

“National survey data show that the prevalence of overweight and obese adults in the U.S. has increased steadily over the past three decades,” said Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Center for Human Nutrition. “If these trends continue, more than 86 percent of adults will be overweight or obese by 2030 with approximately 96 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 91 percent of Mexican-American men affected. This would result in 1 of every 6 health care dollars spent in total direct health care costs paying for overweight and obesity-related costs.”,

Over 50 and fat

May 21, 2008

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on a nationwide survey conducted from 2001 to 2004, approximately 71 percent of Americans over 50 years old are either overweight or obese, as compared with 64 percent from the 1988-1994 survey.

Overweight refers to a person who has an excess of body weight and obesity means having a very high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. Health professionals use a measurement called body mass index (BMI) to classify an adult’s weight as healthy, overweight, or obese. BMI is based on height and weight.

The BMI ranges shown in the graph (Figure 1) are for adults. Even within the healthy BMI range, weight gains can carry health risks for adults.

Directions: Find your weight on the bottom of the graph. Go straight up from that point until you reach the line that matches your height. Then look to find your weight group.

Healthy Weight: BMI from 18.5 up to 25 refers to healthy weight.
Overweight: BMI from 25 up to 30 refers to overweight.
Obese: BMI 30 or higher refers to obesity. Read the rest of this entry »

Eat more, feed the beast

March 24, 2008

“Food is big business and highly competitive. The US food supply provides each person with 3800 kilocalories a day, nearly twice the average need. With such abundance, food companies have two choices: to induce people to choose their products over those of competitors, or to get everyone to eat more. The industry’s success in encouraging Americans to “eat more” is one reason for the obesity epidemic. It works like any business: food companies advertise, but they also use the political system to pressure government officials, scientists and health professionals that no “eat less” regulation or guideline is justified.”
-Excerpt from Not Good Enough to Eat by Marion Nestle

McDonald’s restaurants are in 120 countries and territories around the world and serve nearly 54 million customers each day. They seem to be just about everywhere.

To see just how many McDonald’s are in your town or zip code go to Foodio54 and enter your location, city, state or zip code. They’ll show you how many golden arches are close by and how your location ranks nationally and for your state.

In my area (a suburb of Atlanta) there is one McDonald’s every 7.15 square miles and for every 15,939 people. In Astoria, NY there is a McDonald’s every 0.88 square miles and for every 8,532 people. Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists from Purdue University now believe that a sweet taste followed by no calories may make the body crave extra food.

Their research, published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, found that saccharin-fed mice ate more calories, put on more fat, and gained more weight than their sugar-fed counterparts.

They did not make any attempt to cut back on their food later to regulate their weight.

The researchers wrote in the journal: “The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with higher calorie sugar.

“One theory, they said, was that, in normal conditions, the arrival of a sweet taste in the mouth helped prime the metabolism for the arrival of a calorie-heavy, sweet meal into the digestive system. When the meal does not arrive, they said, the body may get confused and have more trouble regulating its appetite when other food is around. Read the rest of this entry »

A new study led by University of Michigan researchers found that when it comes to their kid’s weight, many parents don’t want to admit there’s a problem. After surveying over 2,000 adults and taking height and weight measurements of their children, the study found that among parents with an obese or extremely overweight child between the ages of 6 and 11:
  • 43 percent said their child was “about the right weight,”
  • 37 percent believed the child was “slightly overweight”
  • 13 percent said “very overweight”
  • A smaller percentage said the child was “slightly underweight”

“It suggests to me that parents of younger kids believe that their children will grow out of their obesity, or something will change at older ages,” said Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at University of Michigan, who led the study. Read the rest of this entry »