the binge-eating files » Obesity

Obesity and binge eating, food addiction, emotional eating, weight, diet – articles and research

obesity & binge eating

Researchers identify the link between memory and appetite in the human brain to explain obesity   ScienceDaily (Aug 30, 2023) – Disrupted connections between memory and appetite regulating brain circuits are directly proportional to body mass index (BMI), notably in patients who suffer from disordered or overeating that can lead to obesity, such as binge eating disorder (BED), according to new research. The research notes that individuals who are obese have impaired connections between the dorsolateral hippocampus (dlHPC) and the lateral hypothalamus (LH), which may impact their ability to control or regulate emotional responses when anticipating rewarding meals or treats. … more

BMI metric has caused “historical harm,” American Medical Association says   Axios (June 16, 2023) by April Rubin – The body mass index (BMI) metric has caused “historical harm,” including racist exclusion, according to a new report by the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Science and Public Health. Why it matters: Doctors have long relied on BMI to measure obesity, but it is an imperfect measurement that does not directly assess body fat, the nation’s largest medical association said this week. … more

Lifesaving or stigmatizing? Parents wrestle with obesity treatment options for kids   NPR (May 16, 2023) by Yuki Noguchi –  Two mothers … share a common childhood trauma … feeling burdened by shame and stigma over their body size … doctors now consider it [obesity] a disease driven by genetics, the brain and other organs, as well as by environmental or psychosocial factors … Now, [both mothers have] …  a 12-year-old child confronting social issues related to weight, and both strongly wish to help their own children tread healthier paths. … more

New childhood obesity guidance raises worries over the risk of eating disorders   NPR (Feb 22, 2023) by Kaitlyn Radde — Eating disorder treatment specialists are sounding the alarm over new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics advising doctors to treat obesity earlier and more aggressively, which they say could lead to eating disorders. They say it focuses on weight loss and BMI rather than health, minimizes the risk of disordered eating and could perpetuate deep-rooted, damaging stigmas. … more

I Had Weight-Loss Surgery at 17, and It Worked—but It Didn’t Address My Real Problem    Slate (Feb 1, 2023) by Amy Scheiner — The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bariatric surgery for kids as young as 13. I was 17 when I lay on the operating table, wincing in pain as the anesthesia needle pierced the taut skin on the back of my hand. It was 2007, and the obesity epidemic was omnipresent, marking me a dangerous statistic. The size of my body, I was told, would eventually lead me into severe illness, such as heart disease and diabetes, unless something were done about it. I thought that this procedure would save my life. … more

Scientists Don’t Agree on What Causes Obesity, but They Know What Doesn’t   New York Times (Nov 21, 2022) by Julia Belluz — A select group of the world’s top researchers studying obesity‌ recently gathered in the gilded rooms of the Royal Society … arguing about ‌‌the causes of obesity … [and] referred to obesity as a complex, chronic condition, and they were meeting to get to the bottom of why humans have, collectively, grown larger over the past half century. To that end, they shared a range of mechanisms that might explain the global obesity surge. And their theories, however diverse, made one thing obvious: As long as we treat obesity as a personal responsibility issue, its prevalence is unlikely to decline. … more

Processed foods key to rising obesity   ScienceDaily (Nov 8, 2022)  — ‘Protein hunger’ drives overeating, large-scale population study shows.  A year-long study of the dietary habits of 9,341 Australians has backed growing evidence that highly processed and refined foods are the leading contributor of rising obesity rates in the Western world. … Those who consumed lower amounts of protein in their first meal of the day went on to increase their overall food intake in subsequent meals … more

Battling obesity — and telling bullies to ‘Kiss It! (Oct 4, 2022) by Abbie Trayler-Smith (photos) and Kyle Almond (story) — The bullying was relentless. When Shannon Walton got to secondary school, she started to hear comments about her weight as she’d walk down the corridor: “Oh, look at her.” “She’s fat.” She would go outside more to avoid the stress at school, but she found no respite. Kids would kick footballs at her, she said, and then pretend they didn’t do it on purpose. … more 

Scientists propose that obesity is a neurodevelopmental disorder   ScienceDaily (Sept 29, 2022) — A team of researchers reports that molecular mechanisms of brain development during early life are likely a major determinant of obesity risk. … more

The Problem With “Overweight” And “Obese”   Buzzfeed News (Mar 26, 2022) by Sarah Schweppe — “Fat” is a neutral description. The words people often use to try to replace it perpetuate stigmas. For BuzzFeed News’ Body Week, the copy desk is looking at the language we use when we write about bodies, particularly fat bodies. It’s always been at the core of our style guide to avoid any sort of body-shaming, and we’re always learning when it comes to what words people want to use to talk about their bodies — when it’s relevant to talk about them at all. … more

Positive parenting can reduce the risk that children develop obesity   ScienceDaily (Feb 22, 2022) — New research found that children with positive, early interactions with their care givers — characterized by warmth, responsiveness, and a stimulating home environment — were at reduced risk of childhood obesity. … more

Calories on menus ‘may not be helpful’ in drive against obesity   The Guardian (Jan 23, 2022) by James Tapper — Campaigners say compulsory menu labelling could put too much emphasis on calorie counting. From April, all cafes and restaurants run by companies with more than 250 staff will be obliged to include calorie counts for each item on their menus. … Stuart Flint, an associate professor of the psychology of obesity at Leeds University and a director of Obesity UK, which supports overweight people, said it was unclear who the new rules would help. … more

Childhood obesity in England soars during pandemic. Experts alarmed as NHS data shows one in four children in England aged 10 and 11 are obese   The Guardian (Nov 16, 2021) by Andrew Gregory — Thousands of children are facing “serious” and even “devastating” consequences as a result of weight gain during the pandemic, experts warn, as “alarming” figures reveal one in four 10- and 11-year-olds in England are obese … more

Childhood obesity in England soars during pandemic. Experts alarmed as NHS data shows one in four children in England aged 10 and 11 are obese   The Guardian (Nov 16, 2021) by Andrew Gregory — Thousands of children are facing “serious” and even “devastating” consequences as a result of weight gain during the pandemic, experts warn, as “alarming” figures reveal one in four 10- and 11-year-olds in England are obese … more

Americans are eating more ultra-processed foods: 18-year study measures increase in industrially manufactured foods that may be contributing to obesity and other diseases   ScienceDaily (Oct 14, 2021) – Consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased over the past two decades across nearly all segments of the U.S. population, according to a new study by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health. … more

Scientists discover 14 genes that cause obesity. Findings could decouple overeating from harmful health effects   ScienceDaily (Oct 1, 2021) – The discovery of genes that directly cause obesity could pave the way for treatments for a condition that affects more than 40 percent of American adults. … University of Virginia scientists have identified 14 genes that can cause and three that can prevent weight gain. …  more

Why BMI is a flawed health standard, especially for people of color  Washington Post (May 5, 2021) by Carly Stern – When Achea Redd used to go for annual checkups, she tried to discuss her restrictive eating patterns with her doctors and her fear that she might have an eating disorder. But because her body mass index (BMI) was in the “overweight” category, Redd’s primary care physicians refused to consider the possibility that she might be depriving herself of food and instead counseled her to lose weight, she said.  It wasn’t until two years ago — when Redd, a Black woman, was 38 — that a therapist diagnosed her with “atypical anorexia,” a condition that doesn’t present with low body weight. … more

Obesity isn’t a calorie problem, it’s a hormone problem.  The Guardian (Jan 17, 2021) interview with Gary Taubes, by David Cox — The author of The Case for Keto argues that conventional approaches to tackling obesity and diabetes aren’t working, and that low-carbohydrate diets could be the way forward … more

Hormone found to switch off hunger could help tackle obesity.   ScienceDaily (Nov 24, 2020) – New findings suggest a hormone called Lipocalin-2 could be used as a potential treatment for obesity. A hormone that can suppress food intake and increase the feeling of fullness in mice has shown similar results in humans and non-human primates, says a new study … more

Age is no barrier to successful weight loss   ScienceDaily (Nov 20, 2020) – Obese patients over the age of 60 can lose an equivalent amount of weight as younger people using only lifestyle changes, according to a new study that demonstrates that age is no barrier to losing weight. … more

Obesity and the Bitter Pill of Truth   Medscape (Sept 23, 2020) by Akshay B. Jain, MD — About 2 years ago, I wrote my first commentary for Medscape on obesity, a topic that is both close to my heart and something we encounter ubiquitously in clinical practice. I was thrilled to see hundreds of responses pouring in. But the excitement quickly faded as I started reading through the comments. … more

Long-term exposure to traffic noise may impact weight gain in the UK population   ScienceDaily (Aug 17, 2020) – A new study has found a connection between traffic noise and obesity. Long-term exposure to road traffic noise, such as living near a motorway or on a busy road, was associated with an increase in body mass index and waist circumference, which are key markers of obesity. … more

A new anti-obesity coronavirus campaign is a nightmare for eating disorder sufferers (Aug 13, 2020) by Zamira Rahim – Boris Johnson’s latest strategy to fight coronavirus aims to make Britain healthier — but campaigners are worried about the impact the policy will have on people living with eating disorders. Johnson’s government launched its Better Health strategy in an effort to combat the country’s high obesity levels amid the pandemic. Britain has one of the highest rates of obesity worldwide, with nearly one in three adults classed as obese, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). … more

Obesity not defined by weight, says new Canada guideline   BBC News (Aug 4, 2020) – Obesity should be defined by a person’s health – not just their weight, says a new Canadian clinical guideline. It also advises doctors to go beyond simply recommending diet and exercise. Instead, they should focus on the root causes of weight gain and take a holistic approach to health. The guideline, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday, specifically admonished weight-related stigma against patients in the health system.  … more

Britain’s obesity strategy ignores the science: dieting doesn’t work  The Guardian (July 28, 2020) by Susie Orbach – Rather than counting calories and stigmatising fat, we need to take on the food and weight-loss industries. Being overweight has never just been about the amount of calories you consume. The government’s new obesity strategy, which includes mandating calorie displays on menus, banning junk food adverts before 9pm, offering Weight Watchers discounts and ending discount deals on “unhealthy” foods, reflects the widely held misconception that weight loss can be achieved by restricting calories and fat. The reality is that tackling obesity requires a far greater rethink of our fraught relationship with eating – starting with the food and diet industry. … more

‘Fat burning’ molecule has implications for treatment of obesity   ScienceDaily (June 8, 2020) – Scientists have recently identified a small mitochondrial uncoupler, named BAM15, that decreases the body fat mass of mice without affecting food intake and muscle mass or increasing body temperature. … more

Why a top Canadian obesity expert doesn’t use BMI  CBC Radio (Feb 23, 2020) by Nicole Ireland — Body mass index has been around for years, but has limited usefulness, health experts say. For years, patients walking into their family doctor’s offices for checkups have seen the chart posted on the wall beside the scale. A calculation of their weight to height ratio cranks out a number known as body mass index, or BMI. That number classifies someone as “underweight,” “normal weight,” “overweight,” or “obese.” Then come the assumptions about that person’s health based on the number.  … more

Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity   ScienceDaily (Jan 3, 2020) – A new study finds that the pleasure center of the brain and the brain’s biological clock are linked, and that high-calorie foods — which bring pleasure — disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption. … more

Today’s obesity epidemic may have been caused by childhood sugar intake decades ago   ScienceDaily (Sept 23, 2019) – Current obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary changes that took place decades ago, according to a new study.  … more

Gut-brain connection helps explain how overeating leads to obesity   ScienceDaily (Aug 12, 2019) – A multi-institutional team reveals a previously unknown gut-brain connection that helps explain how those extra servings lead to weight gain. Eating extra servings typically shows up on the scale later, but how this happens has not been clear. A new study published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by a multi-institutional team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine reveals a previously unknown gut-brain connection that helps explain how those extra servings lead to weight gain…. more

New hormone injection aids weight loss in obese patients   ScienceDaily (Aug 6, 2019) – An injection has helped reduce body weight and glucose levels in patients with diabetes and obesity in four weeks. The findings came from a small study in which patients lost on average 4.4kg and the treatment led to substantial improvements to their blood glucose, with some patients’ reducing to near-normal levels…. more

Obesity: How diet changes the brain and promotes overeating   MNT Medical News Today (June 28, 2019) by Yella Hewings-Martin PhD – Scientists have implicated specific neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area, a region involved in survival mechanisms such as food intake, in signaling to the brain when to stop eating. This mechanism is impaired in obese mice. … more

Irregular sleep patterns linked to metabolic disorders: Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol more prevalent among irregular sleepers   ScienceDaily (June 5, 2019) — A new study has found that not sticking to a regular bedtime and wake up schedule — and getting different amounts of sleep each night — can put a person at higher risk for obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar and other metabolic disorders. In fact, for every hour of variability in time to bed and time asleep, a person may have up to a 27% greater chance of experiencing a metabolic abnormality. … more

Obesity linked with differences in form and structure of the brain   ScienceDaily (Apr 23, 2019) – Researchers using sophisticated MRI technology have found that higher levels of body fat are associated with differences in the brain’s form and structure, including smaller volumes of gray matter, according to a new study. The findings add important information to our understanding of the connection between obesity and negative health consequences such as dementia. … more

Identity crisis of satiety neurons leads to obesity  ScienceDaily (Jan 31, 2019) – Obesity — as research in the past decade has shown — is first and foremost a brain disease. Researchers have discovered a molecular switch that controls the function of satiety neurons and therefore body weight. … more

Dispelling the Myths About Obesity  Medscape (Sept 21, 2018) by Akshay B. Jain, MD – As a long-time Medscape reader, I was surprised to see the results of a recent poll on Medscape titled “Is Obesity a Disease or a Choice?” When asked whether obesity is considered a disease, only 57% of respondents answered in the affirmative. More than one third of healthcare providers (HCPs) do not consider obesity to be a disease state, with the percentage of those answering “no” highest among primary care physicians. As long as we as medical professionals do not take obesity seriously, we will be ineffective in dealing with its biopsychosocial and economic ramifications. … more

Household cleaners may trigger childhood obesity  CBC Radio (Sept 17, 2018) by Dr. Brian Goldman – Cleaning products can influence the bacteria in the child’s environment and body, researchers say. Statistics Canada says close to a third of Canadian children and teens are overweight or obese. Overeating and not enough exercise are two risk factors behind the increase. But a study published earlier today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal zeroes in on a strange new culprit that lurks inside your house. And no, it’s not the fridge. The risk factor is exposure to everyday household cleansers. Researchers from across Canada looked at data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. It’s a long-term study of 3,500 children that aims to predict, prevent and treat chronic diseases … more

The link between obesity, the brain, and genetics  ScienceDaily (Aug 28) – Clinicians should consider how the way we think can make us vulnerable to obesity, and how obesity is genetically intertwined with brain structure and mental performance, according to new research … more

Obesity alone does not increase risk of death: New study could change the way we think about obesity and health ScienceDaily (July 12, 2018) – Researchers have found that patients who have metabolic healthy obesity, but no other metabolic risk factors, do not have an increased rate of mortality. The results of this study could impact how we think about obesity and health … more

Is Obesity a Disease or a Choice?   Medscape (Jul 5, 2018) – In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a disease that requires a range of interventions to advance treatment and prevention. While some physicians at the time argued that behavior and dietary choices play a key role in weight gain, many other professional organizations, including the Obesity Society, soon followed the AMA’s lead. Five years later, the medical community has grown more comfortable with the idea that obesity is driven by pathophysiologic processes, just like other chronic diseases … more

Obesity Is a Disease, Not a Choice, Experts Advise  Medscape (May 9, 2018)  by Pam Harrison – Effective weight management is going to require a paradigm shift in they way healthcare professionals think about obesity, a leading expert in the field suggests. Otherwise, patients are doomed to failure and blame, despite the fact the medical community should be shouldering some of the responsibility for not having developed more effective interventions, said Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston … more

Characterizing ‘keyhole’ is first step to fighting obesity at cellular level: Team also launches development of potential small-molecule therapeutics   ScienceDaily (Apr 18, 2018) – An international team has uncovered the potential to beat obesity at the cellular level, characterizing for the first time a complex, little-understood receptor type that, when activated, shuts off hunger. … more

How obesity dulls the sense of taste   ScienceDaily (Mar 20, 2018) — Obese mice had about 25 percent fewer taste buds than lean mice in study. Previous studies have indicated that weight gain can reduce one’s sensitivity to the taste of food. Now a new study shows that inflammation, driven by obesity, actually reduces the number of taste buds on the tongues of mice. … more

Analysis of new studies including 250,000 people confirms sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to overweight and obesity in children and adults   ScienceDaily (Dec 23, 2017) – A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) — concludes that SSB consumption is associated with overweight and obesity, and that countries that have not already done so should take action to reduce the consumption of the so-called ’empty calories’ that these drinks contain. … more

New Guidelines Released on Pediatric Obesity and Stigma   Medscape (Nov 20, 2017) by Troy Brown, RN – The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Obesity Society have issued a joint policy statement on the stigma children and adolescents with obesity experience. “Although numerous efforts are underway to help children and adults reach and maintain a healthy weight, many such efforts do not address the social consequences of obesity, specifically weight stigmatization and discrimination,” the authors write. … more

Does this one gene fuel obesity?  ScienceDaily  (Nov 15, 2017) – Obesity is often attributed to a simple equation: People are eating too much and exercising too little. But evidence is growing that at least some of the weight gain that plagues modern humans is predetermined. New research from the Research Triangle suggests that variants in a gene called ankyrin-B — carried by millions of Americans — could cause people to put on pounds through no fault of their own…. more

Obesity: Lack of ‘satiety hormones’ plays a role  MNT Medical News Today (Aug 30, 2017) by Honor Whiteman – Researchers have found that obese individuals release fewer hormones that tell us when we are full. A new study provides further evidence that metabolic factors have a part to play in obesity, after finding that people who are obese release significantly fewer “satiety hormones” after eating, compared with lean individuals. In the United States, it is estimated that more than a third of adults and around a fifth of children and adolescents are obese. … more

How food preservatives may disrupt human hormones and promote obesity  ScienceDaily  (Aug 9, 2017) – Innovative stem-cell testing system demonstrates potential for evaluating health effects of chemicals used in everyday life  Can chemicals that are added to breakfast cereals and other everyday products make you obese? Growing evidence from animal experiments suggests the answer may be “yes.” But confirming these findings in humans has faced formidable obstacles — until now. … more

Education for Medical Students Is Key to Reducing Obesity Bias  Medscape (Aug 2, 2017) by Kristin Jenkins – A comprehensive educational curriculum that gives medical students a solid working knowledge of the complex issues underlying obesity is effective in creating more positive attitudes toward patients who are obese, researchers said. … more

Society Says Weight ‘Reset’ Is Major Obesity Driver, Needs Study   Medscape (July 4, 2017) by Marlene Busko – “Growing evidence suggests that obesity is a disorder of the energy homeostasis system, [and scientists] need to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this ‘upward setting’ or ‘resetting’ of the defended level of body-fat mass,” according to a new scientific statement published… June 26 in Endocrine Reviews. Moreover, given that “recovery of lost weight…is the largest single obstacle to effective long-term weight loss, we cannot overstate the importance of a coherent understanding of obesity-associated alterations of the energy homeostasis system” … more

Childhood obesity causes lasting damage to the body  ScienceDaily (May 30, 2017) – Obesity in childhood has long term health implications stretching into adulthood, a new study reveals. Examining data collected from over 300,000 participants across 18 studies, researchers from the University of Surrey identified increased arterial damage and enhanced likelihood of pre diabetes in participants who were obese in childhood. The damage, an increased thickness of these vital arteries, heightens the likelihood of an individual suffering from a cardiovascular ailment, such as heart disease, in later life. … more

Study shows differences in brain activity between men, women who are obese  ScienceDaily (May 19, 2017) – A new study of obese people suggests that changes in their brains’ reward regions make them more prone to overeating, and that women and men exhibit different brain activity related to overeating. … more

An Obesity Manifesto: Debunking the Myths  Medscape: Disclosures (Feb 23, 2017) by Arya M Sharma, MD, PhD – Over the past year, I have been involved in countless discussions and debates about whether obesity should be declared a chronic disease (as it has been by numerous medical organizations). Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to review the common arguments made by those on either side of the debate. … more

The Most Popular Theory About What Causes Obesity May Be Very Wrong. Mother Jones (Jan 16, 2017) by Maddie Oatman – You’ve heard it over and over again: The obesity crisis, which affects more than a third of US adults and costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars every year, is due to the fact that people eat more calories than they expend. In other words, one of the leading causes of preventable deaths is rooted in gluttony and sloth. If people jogged more and ate fewer Big Macs, they wouldn’t get obese. What if that idea is just wrong? Gary Taubes thinks it is. Taubes joined us on the most recent episode of Bite to talk about the flaws in this popular idea of how we get fat. … more

Identifying children at risk of eating disorders is key to saving lives   ScienceDaily (Jan 5, 2017) – Spotting eating disorder symptoms in children as young as nine years old will allow medics to intervene early and save lives, experts say. A team from Newcastle University has identified that girls and boys with more eating disorder symptoms at age nine also had a higher number of symptoms at age 12. … more

Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents   Pediatrics (August, 2016) – Obesity and eating disorders (EDs) are both prevalent in adolescents. There are concerns that obesity prevention efforts may lead to the development of an ED. Most adolescents who develop an ED did not have obesity previously, but some teenagers, in an attempt to lose weight, may develop an ED. This clinical report addresses the interaction between obesity prevention and EDs in teenagers, provides the pediatrician with evidence-informed tools to identify behaviors that predispose to both obesity and EDs, and provides guidance about obesity and ED prevention messages. The focus should be on a healthy lifestyle rather than on weight. Evidence suggests that obesity prevention and treatment, if conducted correctly, do not predispose to EDs. … more

Artificial sweeteners: Healthy alternative or fast track to obesity?  MNT Medical News Today (July 13, 2016) by Hannah Nichols – The variety of sugar substitutes on the market to satisfy the sweet tooth of the population while reducing calorie content can often be confusing. To add to the confusion, experts have found that “diet” varieties of foods and beverages may, in fact, increase appetite. … more

Western-style diet linked to state-dependent memory inhibition  ScienceDaily (July 12, 2016) – Obesity may ultimately be a disease of the brain, involving a progressive deterioration of various cognitive processes that influence eating. Researchers have now shown that memory inhibition — the useful ability to ‘block out’ memories that are no longer useful, which depends on a brain area called the hippocampus — is linked to dietary excess. … more

Obesity linked to abnormal reward response to sugary foods  MNT Medical News Today (June 19, 2016) by Honor Whiteman – An unhealthy diet is considered a key contributor to obesity. When it comes to cravings for sweet treats, however, impairments in the brain’s reward system might be to blame. … more

Overweight, obesity linked to poorer memory for young adults   MNT Medical News Today (Feb 29, 2016) by Honor Whiteman – It is well established that being overweight can raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. But according to a new study, it may also have consequences for cognitive health; researchers found that young adults who were overweight or obese had poorer episodic memory than their healthy-weight peers. … more

Exposure to air pollution increases risk of obesity. If findings of rat study are verified in humans, urgent action needed   MNT Medical News Today (Feb 19, 2016) – Laboratory rats who breathed Beijing’s highly polluted air gained weight and experienced cardio-respiratory and metabolic dysfunctions. A study found pollution-breathing pregnant rats had heavier lungs and livers and increased tissue inflammation. These rats had higher LDL cholesterol; higher triglycerides; higher total cholesterol and more insulin resistance, a precursor of Type 2 diabetes. … more

Does artificial light-at-night exposure contribute to the worldwide obesity pandemic? International Journal of Obesity (Feb, 2016) by N A Rybnikova, A Haim and B A Portnov – Abstract: Worldwide overweight and obesity rates are on the rise, with about 1 900 billion adults being defined as overweight and about 600 million adults being defined as obese by the World Health Organization (WHO). Increasing exposure to artificial light-at-night (ALAN) may influence body mass, by suppression of melatonin production and disruption of daily rhythms, resulting in physiological or behavioral changes in the human body, and may thus become a driving force behind worldwide overweight and obesity pandemic. … more

Heightened ability to imagine odors linked to higher body weight   ScienceDaily (Jan 18, 2016) – The ability to vividly imagine the smell of popcorn, freshly baked cookies and even non-food odors is greater in obese adults, new research suggests. Vivid mental imagery is a key factor in stimulating and maintaining food cravings, which can be induced by the thought, smell and sight of food, say authors of a new report on the work. … more

Mental health conditions common before bariatric surgery  MNT Medical News Today (Jan 12, 2016) by Yvette Brazier – Mental health conditions, such as depression and binge eating disorder, are common among patients seeking and undergoing bariatric surgery, according to a study published in JAMA. Bariatric surgery is an accepted method of promoting weight loss in severely obese individuals and of decreasing the risk of obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, which are some of the leading causes of preventable death. It has been suggested that mental health conditions may be prevalent among patients involved in such interventions. … more

Obesity isn’t the half of it: fat or thin, our eating is disordered   The Guardian/Opinion (Dec 14, 2015) by Susie Orbach – It’s wrong to focus on obesity as a ‘national risk’ like terrorism. The truth is far more complex, and solutions shouldn’t be couched in warlike rhetoric. … more

The air that makes you fat: Some puzzling studies appear to show that tiny airborne particles may contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Should we be concerned?   BBC/Future (Dec 8, 2015) by David Robson – Take a deep breath, and exhale. Depending on where you live, that life-giving lungful of air might just be pushing you towards diabetes and obesity. The idea that “thin air” can make you fat sounds ludicrous, yet some extremely puzzling studies appear to be showing that it’s possible. … more

Obesity rates will soar by 2025 if governments fail to take action, says report   MNT – Medical News Today (Oct 11, 2015) – Obesity is an ongoing health concern, affecting around 13% of people worldwide. Unless further government action is taken, the global obesity rate will rise another 4% by 2025, according to a new report from the World Obesity Federation. What is more, the report – released in line with the first World Obesity Day – reveals that 177 million adults across the globe will be severely obese and in need of treatment in the next 10 years unless more is done to combat the problem… more

Firstborn women more likely to be overweight, obese MNT-Medical News Today (Aug 27, 2015) by Honor Whiteman – While past studies have suggested firstborn children are smarter, new research brings some bad news for firstborn women with a younger sister: they are more likely to be overweight or obese. … more

Child obesity at highest level in Canada and U.S. ‘Bark is bigger than the bite’ from government obesity proclamations, scientist says  CBC News (Aug 25, 2015) – Child obesity in Canada and the U.S. appears to have levelled off, but there needs to be a greater emphasis on prevention, experts say. The prevalence of obesity in recent years among those aged three to 19 was 13 per cent in Canada, compared with 17.5 per cent in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday in a report, “Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in Canada and the United States.” … more

Obesity breakthrough: Metabolic master switch prompts fat cells to store or burn fat  ScienceDaily (Aug 19, 2015) – Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Scientists have now revealed the mechanism underlying the genomic region most strongly associated with obesity. The findings uncover a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Manipulating that genetic circuit may offer a new approach for obesity treatments. …more

Obesity In Canada Is Growing Steadily Worse: Statistics Canada The Huffington Post Canada (June 26, 2015) by Jesse Ferreras – Hi there Canada, have you been carrying a few extra pounds lately? The answer is a firm “yes” if you ask Statistics Canada (StatsCan). The data-gathering body released a report last week showing that the proportion of obese Canadians now sits at 20.2 per cent, up from just over 15 per cent in 2003. more…

Sugar and carbs are the obesity culprits, not lack of exercise  Medical News Today (MNT) (Apr 23, 2015) – Bad diet is a lifestyle cause of obesity, but a lack of exercise is not, says an editorial reviewing controversial questions about this established health risk. The article published in a journal from The BMJ says the problem “cannot be outrun by exercise.” more …

Stress and obesity: Your family can make you fat ScienceDaily ( Apr 6, 2015 ) – Adolescent obesity is a national public health concern and, unchecked, places young people on a trajectory for a variety of health issues as they grow older. A new study suggests a relationship between long-term exposure to three specific types of family stressors and children becoming obese by the time they turn 18.  more…

Obesity is associated with brain’s neurotransmitters   ScienceDaily (Mar 4, 2015) — Researchers have revealed how obesity is associated with altered opioid neurotransmission in the brain. New research reveals how obesity is associated with altered functioning of brain’s opioid system, which is intimately involved in generating pleasurable sensations. The researchers found that obesity was associated with significantly lowered number of opioid receptors in the brain. However, no changes were observed in the dopamine neurotransmitter system, which regulates motivational aspects of eating.   more …

Widely used food additives promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, shows study of emulsifiers   ScienceDaily (Feb 25, 2015) — Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, new research shows. more …

Can Pollution Cause Obesity? Huffington Post (Dec 21, 2014) by Bill Bogart — In an earlier post I wrote about the complex causes of obesity. Too much food … At the same time there is more to obesity than “calories in/calories out.” A case in point is a recent study tying body mass index (BMI) to pollutants. That investigation suggests that exposure to second-hand smoke and roadway traffic may be linked to increased BMI in children and adolescents. more …

EU court rules that fatness ‘can constitute a disability’  The Telegraph (Dec 18, 2014) by Bruno Waterfield — EU court ruling means that British bosses will be required to treat obese workers as “disabled” providing them with larger seats, special parking spaces and other facilities.   more …

Obese children’s brains more responsive to sugar   ScienceDaily (Dec 12, 2014)   A new study led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine finds that the brains of obese children literally light up differently when tasting sugar. Published online in International Journal of Obesity, the study does not show a causal relationship between sugar hypersensitivity and overeating but it does support the idea that the growing number of America’s obese youth may have a heightened psychological reward response to food. more …

Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity epidemic, scientists say: Drinking diet soda could cause weight gain, research suggests   CBC News (Sept 17, 2014) — Artificial sweeteners may exacerbate, rather than prevent, metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, a study suggests. Calorie-free artificial sweeteners are often chosen by dieters in part because they are thought not to raise blood sugar levels.  In Wednesday’s issue of the journal Nature, researchers report that artificial sweeteners increase the blood sugar levels in both mice and humans by interfering with microbes in the gut. Increased blood sugar levels are an early indicator of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease.   more …

Is Obesity A Disease? NPR (July 7, 2014) by Tania Lombrozo — Last year the American Medical Association voted to recognize obesity as a disease. In a June 18, 2013, press release, AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris explained: “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.” This may seem like a simple matter of nomenclature, but a new paper confirms that how obesity is described can have important implications for people’s judgments and decisions. Three experiments by Crystal Hoyt and colleagues, recently published in Psychological Science, found that presenting obese people with a passage that described obesity as a disease decreased the dissatisfaction they reported about their own bodies, but also made them more likely to select a high-calorie sandwich from a list of options.   more …

Fed Up documentary: Sugar added to food causing obesity   CBC News/The Canadian Press (May 9, 2014) – Documentary starring U.S. journalist Katie Couric opens Friday in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Food manufacturers are responsible for fuelling a sugar dependency that is creating an obesity epidemic, and it’s spreading around the world, the makers of the new documentary Fed Up charge. Director Stephanie Soecthig (Tapped) teamed with narrator and journalist Katie Couric to create the hard-hitting look at why millions of children are growing up obese despite media attention and government guidelines.   more …

Risk of nutritional deficiencies in obese teens   ScienceDaily (May 4, 2014) – A new study exposes the risk of nutritional deficiencies in severely obese teens – both those who had weight loss surgery and those who did not. At least five years after undergoing gastric bypass surgery, teens and young adults maintained significant weight loss but were at risk of nutritional deficiencies, particularly low iron, mild anemia and low vitamin D. The study also found low iron and low vitamin D in severely obese teens who did not undergo weight loss surgery. Those who didn’t have surgery also had low levels of protein in their blood.   more …

Don’t expect government to win the war on obesity   The Globe and Mail (Apr 21, 2014) by Patrick Luciani – Why are we getting fatter? Why is it so hard to lose weight? Can governments do anything about it? Those are questions my co-author Neil Seeman and I tried to answer two years ago… We discovered pretty quickly that obesity was far more complex than we had imagined, the cause and effect more tangled.   more …

Severe obesity on the rise among children in the U.S.   ScienceDaily (Apr 7, 2014) – A new analysis finds that all classes of obesity in children have increased over the last 14 years. In addition, there is a troubling upward trend in the more severe forms of childhood obesity… These findings are based on a new analysis of data collected from 26,690 children ages 2-19 from 1999 to 2012 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). more …

Carbohydrate digestion and obesity strongly linked   ScienceDaily (Mar 30, 2014) – New research indicates that obesity in the general population may be genetically linked to how our bodies digest carbohydrates. People usually have two copies of the gene AMY1, but in some regions of our DNA there can be variability in the number of copies a person carries, which is known as copy number variation. The number of copies of AMY1 can be highly variable between people, and it is believed that higher numbers of copies of the salivary amylase gene have evolved in response to a shift towards diets containing more starch since prehistoric times. more …

Being skinny may be riskier for health than obesity, Canadian researchers suggest   Postmedia News (Mar 28, 2014) by Sharon Kirkey – Obese people —including the severely obese — outlive the underweight, according to new Canadian research that is likely to recharge debate over whether the risks of the obesity epidemic have been exaggerated and over played. Toronto researchers who analyzed 51 studies on the links between body mass index and death from any cause found an underweight BMI is associated with the highest risk of premature death. more …

Obesity, depression linked in teen girls, new study shows.  ScienceDaily (Mar 21, 2014) – Depression and obesity have long been associated, but how they relate over time is less clear. New research shows that adolescent females who experience one of the disorders are at a greater risk for the other as they get older. It is unknown why no associations across time between the two disorders were found in male adolescents, but researchers hypothesize that it could be a result of different developmental processes leading to obesity and depression in males and females.   More …

Teen girls: obesity linked to lower academic performance.  MNT Medical News Today (Mar 11, 2014) – Obesity carries with it many health risks, such as cardiovascular disease, prediabetes and many types of cancer. But now, a new study has found a link between obesity in adolescent girls and lower academic levels throughout their teens.  The researchers, from various universities in the UK, have published the results of their study in the International Journal of Obesity, and they say theirs is the first comprehensive study to look into the association between obesity and academics in teens.   More …

Obesity prevalence remains high in U.S.; No significant change in recent years  ScienceDaily (Feb 25, 2014).  The prevalence of obesity remains high in the U.S., with about one-third of adults and 17 percent of children and teens obese in 2011-2012, according to a national survey study. Overall, there was no change from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 in high weight among infants and toddlers or in obesity in 2- to 19-year-olds or adults. The prevalence of obesity among children 2 to 5 years of age decreased from 14 percent in 2003-2004 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012, and increased in women age 60 years and older, from 31.5 percent to more than 38 percent.  More …

Obesity quadruples to nearly one billion in developing world   BBC News (Jan 2, 2014) – The number of overweight and obese adults in the developing world has almost quadrupled to around one billion since 1980, says a report from a UK think tank.   The Overseas Development Institute said one in three people worldwide was now overweight and urged governments to do more to influence diets.  In the UK, 64% of adults are classed as being overweight or obese.  The report predicts a “huge increase” in heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.   More

Breaking cycle of obesity, inflammation, disease   ScienceDaily (Dec 19, 2013) – Researchers at University of Michigan have illuminated an aspect of how the metabolic system breaks down in obesity. The findings provide additional evidence that a drug entering clinical trials at the university could reverse obesity, Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in humans.   Link

Fat-shaming: The link between laws and obesity   Metro News (Dec 18, 2013) by Luke Simcoe – A professor emeritus at the University of Windsor is calling for “a national conversation” about fat-shaming.   William Bogart, author of Regulating Obesity? says laws emphasizing weight loss rather than health contribute to an unhealthy stigma around obesity.  “We have tremendous individual and collective prejudice against fat people,” he said. “We assume being obese is just a function of people eating too much when in fact there’s any number of reasons why someone may become obese and once you’re obese, it’s very difficult not to be.”   Link

Obesity may disturb bone growth during teen years   Reuters  (Dec 18, 2013) by Shereen Jegtvig – Obese teens might not develop sufficient bone mass relative to their body weight, according to a new study from Brazil.   Both body fat and lean body mass have an impact on bone growth, but it’s not clear if the bones of the heaviest teens are strong enough for their weight and that could have long- and short-term consequences.   Link

Does obesity reshape our sense of taste?  ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2013) — Obesity may alter the way we taste at the most fundamental level: by changing how our tongues react to different foods.  In a Nov. 13 study in the journal PLOS ONE, University at Buffalo biologists report that being severely overweight impaired the ability of mice to detect sweets.  Compared with slimmer counterparts, the plump mice had fewer taste cells that responded to sweet stimuli. What’s more, the cells that did respond to sweetness reacted relatively weakly.   Link

New treatments for binge eating, how our diet impacts brain function, and the connection between marijuana and obesity   Medical News Today (Nov 14, 2013) – A growing body of evidence shows the impact of diet on brain function, and identifies patterns of brain activity associated with eating disorders such as binge eating and purging. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.   Link

For obese teen girls, aerobic exercise may trump resistance training in health benefits   ScienceDaily (Nov. 7, 2013) — Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the United States in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … SoJung Lee of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her colleagues recently showed that when obese adolescent boys increased physical activity alone, they improved several markers of health…To see if physical activity might work in the same way for obese adolescent girls, Lee and her colleagues performed a new study that compared the health effects of two different types of exercise — aerobic exercise and weight lifting — over three months to remaining sedentary.  Link

Developmental approach to obesity in children, adolescents   ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2013) — New studies of factors affecting the risk of obesity in children and adolescents — as well as promising approaches to prevention and treatment — are assembled in the special October Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics…The special issue includes ten new research papers addressing obesity in every period of development: from early and middle childhood, through adolescence and young adulthood.  Link

Low-fat livers linked to ‘healthy’ obesity:  Study of twins sheds light on good versus bad fat   Time Magazine (Oct 7, 2013) by Sophie Brown – People who are obese usually have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, but some obese individuals don’t suffer from these conditions. The key to understanding this phenomenon may lie in the liver, according to a new study published by the University of Helsinki.   Link

The 200-pound anorexic: Obese teens at risk for disorder, but it’s often unrecognized  (Sept 22, 2013) by Melissa Dahl – Hear “anorexia” and you think bone-thin young women — scary-skinny runway models with emaciated figures. But an overlooked group of young people are also struggling with anorexia nervosa: overweight and even obese kids.   Adolescents with a history of obesity are at “significant risk” for developing anorexia, says Dr. Leslie A. Sim, clinical director of the Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program, in a recent paper in Pediatrics. But because of their size, their symptoms often go unrecognized and untreated, Sim says.   Link

Certain bacteria may help ward off obesity  (Sept 5, 2013) by Melissa Healy – Bacteria in the human gut may play a key role in who is obese or lean and could lead to treatments for obesity, a study finds.  The microorganisms in the human gut appear to play a pivotal role in determining whether a person is lean or obese, new research shows.  The study, published online Thursday by the journal Science, is the strongest evidence yet that what’s inside an individual’s digestive tract influences the risk of obesity and its related health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. The work helps explain the nation’s 30-year run-up in excess weight — and it may supply a potential solution to the resulting epidemic, experts said.   Link

Eating a big breakfast fights obesity and disease   ScienceDaily (Aug 5, 2013) – A high-calorie breakfast protects against diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular problems, says TAU researcher.  Whether you hope to lose weight or just stay healthy, what you eat is a crucial factor. The right nutrients can not only trim your waistline, but also provide energy, improve your mood, and stave off disease. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher has found that it’s not just what you eat — but when.  Link

‘Weightism’ increases risk for becoming, staying obese   ScienceDaily (July 24, 2013) — Weight discrimination may increase risk for obesity rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, according to research published July 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Angelina Sutin and Antonio Terracciano from the Florida State University College of Medicine.   The researchers compared the height and weight of over 6000 participants, measured in 2006 and 2010. They found that participants who experienced weight discrimination earlier were 2.5 times more likely to become obese by the follow-up assessment in 2010. Link

Scientists: Obese have higher levels of ‘hunger hormone’ in their blood   NBC (July 15, 2013) by Ben Hirschler Reuters – Scientists  have unraveled how a gene long associated with obesity makes people fat by triggering increased hunger, opening up potential new ways to fight a growing global health problem.  A common variation in the FTO gene affects one in six of the population, making them 70 percent more likely to become obese – but until now experts did not know why.    Link

A label calls attention to obesity   New York Times: Health (July 1, 2013) by Jane E. Brody Most people know that obesity can result in serious health problems, yet many of us continue to focus on its cosmetic consequences rather than its risks to health.   This distorted view may change now that the American Medical Association has finally labeled obesity a disease, not just a risk factor for other disorders. Last month, the organization recognized that obesity is a verifiable illness that warrants far more attention than physicians, patients and insurers currently give it.   Link    

Obese patients trust diet advice from overweight physicians more than normal weight physicians   ScienceDaily (June 4, 2013) — When it comes to taking diet advice from a physician — size matters. This is according to a new study led by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who examined the impact of primary care physician BMI (body mass index) on their patients’ trust and perceptions of weight-related stigma. They found that overweight and obese patients trust weight-related counseling from overweight physicians more than normal weight physicians and patients seeing an obese primary care physician were more likely to perceive weight-related stigma.   Link    

Addiction to unhealthy foods could help explain the global obesity epidemic, research suggests   ScienceDaily (May 22, 2013) — Research presented today shows that high-fructose corn syrup can cause behavioural reactions in rats similar to those produced by drugs of abuse such as cocaine. These results, presented by addiction expert Francesco Leri, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Guelph, suggest food addiction could explain, at least partly, the current global obesity epidemic.  Link    

Child maltreatment increases risk of adult obesity   ScienceDaily (May 21, 2013) — Children who have suffered maltreatment are 36% more likely to be obese in adulthood compared to non-maltreated children, according to a new study by King’s College London. The authors estimate that the prevention or effective treatment of 7 cases of child maltreatment could avoid 1 case of adult obesity.  Link

Many fronts in fighting obesity   New York Times: Health (May 20, 2013) by Jane E. Brody – Sugar, and especially the high-fructose corn syrup that sweetens many processed foods and nearly all soft drinks, has been justly demonized for adding nutritionally empty calories to our diet and causing metabolic disruptions linked to a variety of diseases. But a closer look at what and how Americans eat suggests that simply focusing on sugar will do little to quell the rising epidemic of obesity. This is a multifaceted problem with deep historical roots, and we are doing too little about many of its causes.   Link

Super-sized citizens: The relationship between a country’s fast-food outlets and its obesity rates   ScienceDaily (May 10, 2013 — Many studies have linked the meals served at fast-food outlets to obesity, but is there a relationship between the number of restaurants in a country and the girth of its population?  To answer this question, an international team of health experts looked at the number of Subway restaurants per 100,000 people in 26 economically advanced countries. They also considered other factors…    Link  

Obesity researchers uncover new human brown fat cell   Medical News Today (May 6, 2013) – The body’s brown fat cells play a key role in the development of obesity and diabetes. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now discovered that we humans have two different kinds of brown fat cells and not one kind as previously thought. This discovery, now published in Nature Medicine, opens up new opportunities for future medicines that exploit the brown fat cells’ ability to consume calories.   Link

What really makes us fat?   Medical News Today (Apr. 18, 2013) – Article questions our understanding of the cause of obesity.   If we are to make any progress in tackling the obesity crisis, we have to look again at what really makes us fat, claims an article published in this week’s BMJ.  Gary Taubes, co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, argues that our understanding of the cause of obesity may be incorrect, and that rectifying this misconception is “absolutely critical” to future progress.  “What we want to know,” he says, “is what causes us to gain weight, not whether weight loss can be induced under different conditions of semi-starvation.”   Link

Increasing the biological understanding of the origins of obesity   Medical News Today  (Apr. 08, 2013) – An international research team has identified seven new gene loci linked to obesity. Researchers were also able to show that the genetic mechanisms that cause extreme obesity are similar to those that cause milder forms of overweight and obesity.  A total of more than 260,000 people were included in the study of the links between genes and obesity, which will be published in the latest issue of Nature Genetics.   Link

US obesity mystery: We’re eating fewer calories, getting fatter (Mar. 6, 2013) by Reuters – U.S. adults have been eating steadily fewer calories for almost a decade, despite the continued increase in obesity rates, according to survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).    Link

Disruption of circadian clock linked to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks    ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2013) — Disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm can lead not only to obesity, but can also increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.  That is the conclusion of the first study to show definitively that insulin activity is controlled by the body’s circadian biological clock. The study, which was published on Feb. 21 in the journal Current Biology, helps explain why not only what you eat, but when you eat, matters.   Link

Fat-shaming may curb obesity, bioethicist says    NBC News (Jan. 24, 2013) by JoNel Aleccia – Unhappy  with the slow pace of public health efforts to curb America’s stubborn obesity epidemic, a prominent bioethicist is proposing a new push for what he says is an “edgier strategy” to promote weight loss: ginning up social stigma.   Daniel Callahan, a senior research scholar and president emeritus of The Hastings Center, put out a new paper this week calling for a renewed emphasis on social pressure against heavy people — what some may call fat-shaming — including public posters …   Link

Targeting taste receptors in the gut may help fight obesity    ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2012) — Despite more than 25 years of research on antiobesity drugs, few medications have shown long-term success. Now researchers reporting online on December 21 in the Cell Press journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism say that targeting taste sensors in the gut may be a promising new strategy.   Link

Many primary-care doctors want help treating obesity:  Physicians say more training, practice-based changes might lead to improved care for obese patients     US News & World Report:  HealthDay News (Dec. 21, 2012) — Only 44 percent of primary-care doctors say they’ve helped obese patients lose weight, and many believe that nutritionists and dietitians are the most qualified care providers for these patients, researchers have found.  For the new study, researchers surveyed 500 primary-care doctors across the United States in order to get their views about the causes of obesity, their ability to treat obese patients, ways to improve obesity care and which health professionals are most qualified to care for obese patients.   Link

Obesity gene may help protect against depression:  Obesity perceptions challenged   CBC News (Nov 20, 2012) –The search for genes predisposing people to depression has taken an unexpected twist, according to Canadian researchers who found a clue in an obesity gene.  Studies on families and twins suggest depression has a genetic component, but for 15 years, scientists haven’t been able to find genes associated with the illness.  Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., took a different approach by testing how obesity genes may be linked with depression.   Link

Revealing the unexpected dangers of obesity    Wall Street Journal (Oct. 30, 2012) by Shirley S. Wang – Researchers are discovering more ways that obesity can damage the body. These include altering a person’s ability to smell, disrupting sleep and sexual function, and accelerating cancerous tumor growth.   “Obesity is a complex condition,” said Mikhail Kolonin, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “Many, many things change in the body.”  Fat produces numerous hormones, inflammatory molecules and other chemicals that can act directly on nearby organs or travel to wreak havoc in other areas of the body. Better understanding how this works might eventually open new avenues for treatment of obesity and linked conditions, experts say.   Link

Partial sleep deprivation linked to obesity    ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2012) — Evidence linking partial sleep deprivation to energy imbalance is relevant to weight gain prevention and weight loss promotion. A new study published October 24in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics bases this finding on an extensive review of literature published over a fifteen-year period.   Link

Is obesity irreversible? Timing is key in weight loss   ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2012) — Joint research between the University of Michigan and the Argentina-based National Council of Science and Technology (CONICET) has shed light on one of the most frustrating mysteries of weight loss — why the weight inevitably comes back.  A novel animal model showed that the longer mice remained overweight, the more “irreversible” obesity became, according to the new study that appeared online ahead of print Oct.24 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.   Link

Overeating impairs brain insulin function, a mechanism that can lead to diabetes and obesity     ScienceDaily (Oct. 17, 2012) — New research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine sheds light on how overeating can cause a malfunction in brain insulin signaling, and lead to obesity and diabetes. Christoph Buettner, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease) and his research team found that overeating impairs the ability of brain insulin to suppress the breakdown of fat in adipose tissue.    Link

Obese brain may thwart weight loss: diets high in saturated fat, refined sugar may cause brain changes that fuel overconsumption   ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2012) — “Betcha can’t eat just one!” For obese people trying to lose weight, advertising slogans such as this one hit a bit too close to home as it describes the daily battle to resist high calorie foods.  But new research by Terry Davidson, director of American University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, indicates that diets that lead to obesity — diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar — may cause changes to the brains of obese people that in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging.   Link

Overweight teens get mental health boost from even small amounts of exercise   ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2012) — Being obese at any age is commonly associated with a litany of health issues, ranging from diabetes and chronic fatigue to heart complications. Overweight adolescents are also at an increased risk of body dissatisfaction, social alienation and low self esteem, which is why Dr. Gary Goldfield, registered psychologist, clinical researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, set out to discover how exercise might impact these factors in teens, as reported October 1 in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.   Link

Some anti-obesity campaigns may backfire, researchers say:  Obese people are not likely to heed public service announcements that make them feel shame, a survey finds.  Los Angeles Times (Sep. 12, 2012) by Melissa Healy – As U.S. health authorities prosecute an all-out war against obesity, a small cadre of researchers is warning that the nation’s 78 million obese adults and 12.5 million obese children are already suffering collateral damage.  The message that they will become victims of self-inflicted disease, poor role models for their families and a drag on the economy unless they lose weight has left many obese Americans feeling depressed, defeated and ashamed, these experts say.   Link

A carefully scheduled high-fat diet resets metabolism and prevents obesity, researchers find   ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2012) — New research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows that a carefully scheduled high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body weight and a unique metabolism in which ingested fats are not stored, but rather used for energy at times when no food is available.   Link

What’s the main cause of obesity — our genes or the environment?   ScienceDaily (Sep. 12, 2012) — The ongoing obesity epidemic is creating an unprecedented challenge for healthcare systems around the world, but what determines who gets fat? Two experts debate the issue on today.   Link

When psychology trumps anti-obesity drugs   ScienceDaily (Sep. 5, 2012) — Patients who fail to lose weight while taking anti-obesity drugs do so because of their beliefs about themselves and about the difficulty of losing weight.  Link

It’s possible to be obese and heart-healthy: studies   U.S. News & World Report:  HealthDay News (Sep. 5, 2012)   by Steven Reinberg – However, some experts contend that being ‘fit and fat’ is the exception, not the rule.  Some obese people have no greater risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer than normal-weight people, a new study suggests.  Moreover, for patients with heart disease, being obese may actually reduce the risk of death, a phenomenon called the “obesity paradox,” another study finds.   Link

Obesity and metabolic syndrome associated with impaired brain function in adolescents   ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2012) — A new study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine reveals for the first time that metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with cognitive and brain impairments in adolescents and calls for pediatricians to take this into account when considering the early treatment of childhood obesity.   Link

What babies eat after birth likely determines lifetime risk of metabolic mischief and obesity, rat studies suggest    ScienceDaily (Aug. 30, 2012) — Rats born to mothers fed high-fat diets but who get normal levels of fat in their diets right after birth avoid obesity and its related disorders as adults, according to new Johns Hopkins research. Meanwhile, rat babies exposed to a normal-fat diet in the womb but nursed by rat mothers on high-fat diets become obese by the time they are weaned.   Link

Spending on technology equals more obesity, study shows    NBC News (Aug. 23, 2012)  by Maggie Fox — Lots of things are making people fat — what we eat, how we eat and a lack of exercise. Now a report tries to tease out the precise effect of technology such as the TVs and computer screens that keep us sitting still instead of moving around.   It comes up with a surprisingly consistent statistic: For every 10 percent rise in what a country spends on information and communications technology, there’s a 1 percent increase in obesity rates.  Link

Obesity, metabolic factors linked to faster cognitive decline    ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2012) — People who are obese and also have high blood pressure and other risk factors called metabolic abnormalities may experience a faster decline in their cognitive skills over time than others, according to a study published in the August 21, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.   Link

Junk food laws may help curb childhood obesity: Study     Huffington Post (Aug. 13, 2012) by Lindsey Tanner  — Laws strictly curbing school sales of junk food and sweetened drinks may play a role in slowing childhood obesity, according to a study that seems to offer the first evidence such efforts could pay off.   The results come from the first large national look at the effectiveness of the state laws over time. They are not a slam-dunk, and even obesity experts who praised the study acknowledge the measures are a political hot potato, smacking of a “nanny state” and opposed by industry and cash-strapped schools relying on food processors’ money.   Link

Turning white fat into energy-burning brown fat: hope for new obesity and diabetes treatments   ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2012) — Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have identified a mechanism that can give energy-storing white fat some of the beneficial characteristics of energy-burning brown fat. The findings, based on studies of mice and of human fat tissue, could lead to new strategies for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study was published August 2 in the online edition of the journal CellLink

Obesity: Global public health challenge or investment opportunity?    Food Politics (July 31, 2012) by Marion Nestle –  Worried about the potential personal and economic costs of obesity?  Never mind.  It’s time to view obesity as a business opportunity.  As the press release for a new research report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Globesity—The Global Fight Against Obesity, points out:  Increasing efforts to tackle obesity over the coming decades will form an important new investment theme for fund managers…Global obesity is a mega-investment theme for the next 25 years and beyond.   Link

Obesity alone may not hurt kids’ classroom performance.  Study suggests that socioeconomic, genetic factors have greater effect   US News & World Report: HealthDay News (July 13) – Being obese does not affect children’s school performance, according to a new British study.  Researchers at the University of York analyzed data from nearly 4,000 participants in the Children of the ’90s Birth Cohort Study.  “We sought to test whether obesity directly hinders performance due to bullying or health problems, or whether kids who are obese do less well because of other factors that are associated with both obesity and lower exam results, such as coming from a disadvantaged family”…   Link

Newly isolated ‘beige fat’ cells could help fight obesity   ScienceDaily (July 12, 2012) — Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have isolated a new type of energy-burning fat cell in adult humans which they say may have therapeutic potential for treating obesity.  Called “beige fat,” the cells are found in scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adult humans. Because this type of fat can burn off calories — rather than store them, as “white fat” cells do — beige fat cells might spawn new therapies for obesity and diabetes, according to researchers led by Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, of Dana-Farber.   Link

Greater diet-induced obesity in rats consuming sugar solution during the inactive period  ScienceDaily (July 10, 2012) — New research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) suggests that, not only the amount and type of food eaten but the time of day it is eaten is important in contributing to obesity.  Previous studies have shown that when mice consumed all of their calories during their inactive period they gained more weight than when they consumed the same amount of calories during their active period. A team led by Drs. Susanne la Fleur and Andries Kalsbeek at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam wished to investigate how certain components of the diet, such as sugar or fat, contributed to differences in weight gain during different times of the day.   Link

Obesity often tied to mental health issues  The Canadian Press (July 3, 2012) by Michelle McQuigge – When  Kevin Healey walked into his doctor’s office five years ago, the minor injury he was seeking treatment for was the least of his physical ailments.  His weight had crept up from 200 to 240 pounds over the past few months …It was only when he received a diagnosis for a mental health condition and his treatment plan began addressing both his physical and emotional state that things began to improve.   Link

Why current strategies for fighting obesity are not working   ScienceDaily (July 3, 2012) — As the United States confronts the growing epidemic of obesity among children and adults, a team of University of Colorado School of Medicine obesity researchers concludes that what the nation needs is a new battle plan — one that replaces the emphasis on widespread food restriction and weight loss with an emphasis on helping people achieve “energy balance” at a healthy body weight.  Link

Obesity, depression found to be root causes of daytime sleepiness   ScienceDaily (June 13, 2012) — Wake up, America, and lose some weight — it’s keeping you tired and prone to accidents. Three studies being presented June 13 at sleep 2012 conclude that obesity and depression are the two main culprits making us excessively sleepy while awake.   Link

Soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity, study says  ScienceDaily (June 14, 2012) — Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published in the October issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. The study examined the relationship between beverage intake patterns of Canadian children and their risk for obesity and found sweetened beverage intake to be a risk factor only in boys aged 6-11.  Link

Environmental factors spread obesity, study shows  ScienceDaily (June 14, 2012) — An international team of researchers’ study of the spatial patterns of the spread of obesity suggests America’s bulging waistlines may have more to do with collective behavior than genetics or individual choices. The team, led by City College of New York physicist Hernán Makse, found correlations between the epidemic’s geography and food marketing and distribution patterns.  “We found there is a relationship between the prevalence of obesity and the growth of the supermarket economy,” Professor Makse said. “While we can’t claim causality because we don’t know whether obesity is driven by market forces or vice versa, the obesity epidemic can’t be solved by focus on individual behavior.”   Link

Is there a ‘healthy’ obesity gene?  ScienceDaily (May 31, 2012) — Why is it that some obese people are healthier than others? This was one of the main questions Dr. Chaodong Wu of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences — Texas A&M University System — and a group of researchers tried to answer in a recent study.  The study, which will appear in a July issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, used genetically modified mice to investigate the genetic aspects of why some obese people do not develop certain medical problems typically associated with obesity, especially Type 2 diabetes. Link

Obesity not always tied to higher heart risk   Reuters Health (May 24, 2012)  by Aparna Narayanan – An obese person isn’t inevitably at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death, a new U.K. study finds. “The people really at risk are the ones who have obesity in combination with other metabolic health risk factors” … The results are in line with most previous research that defined metabolic health as having normal levels of markers like blood pressure, blood sugar, HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation in the body.  “People with good metabolic health are not at risk of future heart disease — even if they are obese” …  Link

‘Obesity genes’ may influence food choices, eating patterns  ScienceDaily (May 23, 2012) — Blame it on your genes? Researchers … say individuals with variations in certain “obesity genes” tend to eat more meals and snacks, consume more calories per day and often choose the same types of high fat, sugary foods.  Their study, published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and appearing in the June issue, reveals certain variations within the FTO and BDNF genes — which have been previously linked to obesity — may play a role in eating habits that can cause obesity.  The findings suggest it may be possible to minimize genetic risk by changing one’s eating patterns and being vigilant about food choices, in addition to adopting other healthy lifestyle habits, like regular physical activity.  Link

Extended daily fasting overrides harmful effects of a high-fat diet: Study may offer drug-free intervention to prevent obesity and diabetes  ScienceDaily (May 17, 2012) — It turns out that when we eat may be as important as what we eat …regular eating times and extending the daily fasting period may override the adverse health effects of a high-fat diet and prevent obesity, diabetes and liver disease in mice. In a paper … in Cell Metabolism, scientists from Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory reported that mice limited to eating during an 8-hour period are healthier than mice that eat freely throughout the day, regardless of the quality and content of their diet …The study sought to determine whether obesity and metabolic diseases result from a high-fat diet or from disruption of metabolic cycles.   Link

America’s hatred of fat hurts obesity fight  Reuters: Insight (May 11, 2012) by Sharon Begley – The stigmatization of obesity begins in preschool: Children as young as 3 tell scientists studying the phenomenon that overweight people are mean, stupid, ugly and have few friends. It intensifies in adulthood, when substantial numbers of Americans say obese people are self-indulgent, lazy and unable to control their appetites. And it translates into poorer job prospects for the obese compared with their slim peers.  It may be the nation’s last, accepted form of prejudice. But the stigmatization of obesity has repercussions beyond the pain it inflicts on its targets: It threatens to impede efforts to fight the obesity epidemic.   Link

Turning ‘bad’ fat into good: A new candidate pathway for treating visceral obesity  ScienceDaily (May 6, 2012) — Brown seems to be the color of choice when it comes to the types of fat cells in our bodies. Brown fat expends energy, while its counterpart, white fat stores it…[as] visceral fat. Visceral fat is the build-up of fat around the organs in the belly… brown fat appears to be our friend and white fat our foe. Now a team of researchers…at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School has discovered a way to turn foe to friend.  Link

Treating childhood obesity: A family affair    ScienceDaily (May 1, 2012) — With nearly one-third of American children being overweight or obese, doctors agree that there is an acute need for more effective treatments. In many weight management programs, the dropout rate can be as high as 73 percent, and even in successful programs, the benefits are usually short term. Although family-based approaches to pediatric obesity are considered the gold standard of treatment, theories of the family and how it functions have not been incorporated into effective interventions…   Link

Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds  ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2012) — Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.  Link

Familiarity with television fast-food ads linked to obesity  ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2012) — There is a long-held concern that youths who eat a lot of fast food are at risk for becoming overweight. New research presented April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston shows that greater familiarity with fast-food restaurant advertising on television is associated with obesity in young people.  Link

New drug to tackle body fat problems    ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2012) — Medical researchers at the University of Sheffield have defined the structure of a key part of the human obesity receptor- an essential factor in the regulation of body fat – which could help provide new treatments for the complications of obesity and anorexia.    Link

Potential method to control obesity: Red wine, fruit compound could help block fat cell formation  ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2012) — A compound found in red wine, grapes and other fruits, and similar in structure to Resveratrol, is able to block cellular processes that allow fat cells to develop, opening a door to a potential method to control obesity, according to a Purdue University study.  Link

For many girls, slimming down doesn’t help self-esteem:  Teens who were formerly obese often still view themselves as fat, study finds    US News & World Report: Healthday News (Apr. 3, 2012) – Weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to a boost in obese teenage girls’ self-esteem, according to a new study.  “We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” study author Sarah Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.  Link

Protective gene discovered in fat cells   ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2012) — In a finding that may challenge popular notions of body fat and health, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have shown how fat cells can protect the body against diabetes. The results may lead to a new therapeutic strategy for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes and obesity-related metabolic diseases, the authors say.  Link

10 things the food industry wants to hide from you:  Nutrition experts argue that you can’t take marketing campaigns at face value    US News & World Report (Mar. 30, 2012) by Adam Voiland and Angela Haupt – Bigger  juicier, saltier, sweeter, crunchier. Most of all, more. The food industry and its nonstop marketing has been tabbed by many experts as a major player in the obesity epidemic.   Link

How a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity    ScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2012) — Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have revealed how a mutation in a single gene is responsible for the inability of neurons to effectively pass along appetite suppressing signals from the body to the right place in the brain. What results is obesity caused by a voracious appetite. Their study, published March 18th on Nature Medicine’s website, suggests there might be a way to stimulate expression of that gene to treat obesity caused by uncontrolled eating.   Link

Walking can offset the tendency to become obese    Los Angeles Times (Mar. 14, 2012) by Shari Roan – So you have fat genes, huh? OK, but your genes aren’t your destiny. A new study shows that people who are genetically prone to obesity can offset that influence by half by walking briskly one hour a day.  The study, presented Wednesday at an American Heart Assn. conference in San Diego, looked at more than 7,700 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 4,500 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up study. Researchers looked at the participants’ activity levels, body mass index and their genetic predisposition to become obese (using a measure based on 32 genetic variants linked to obesity).   Link

Teaching fat cells to burn calories: new target against obesity involves brown fat    ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2012) — In the war against obesity, one’s own fat cells may seem an unlikely ally, but new research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) suggests ordinary fat cells can be reengineered to burn calories.   Link

Decision-making under stress: The brain remembers rewards, forgets punishments  Time:  Healthland (Mar. 5, 2012) by Maia Szalavitz – It’s counterintuitive, but under stress we tend to focus more on the rewards than on the risks of any decision.   If you’re trying to make an important decision while the baby is crying, the boss is shouting on the phone and the cat has chosen this moment to think outside the box, you might want to take a breather and wait. A new review shows that acute stress affects the way the brain considers the pros and cons, causing it to focus on pleasure and ignore the possible negative consequences of a decision.  The research has implications for everything from obesity and addictions to finance, suggesting that stress may modify the way people make choices in predictable ways.   Link

Disney closes controversial fat-fighting exhibit  Reuters (March 2, 2012) – Obesity experts on Friday applauded Walt Disney World for shuttering a new attraction that drew fierce criticism for its potential to shame overweight children and misrepresent the causes of the global obesity crisis.  “I think they (Disney) likely subscribed to that common misconception that this is something we should just be able to push away from the table and cure,” said Ottawa bariatric surgeon Yoni Freedhoff, whose blog post sparked a public outcry over the attraction at Walt Disney Co’s world-famous Florida theme park.   Link

Is fructose being blamed unfairly for obesity epidemic?   ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2012) — Is fructose being unfairly blamed for the obesity epidemic? Or do we just eat and drink too many calories?  Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital reviewed more than 40 published studies on whether the fructose molecule itself causes weight gain…”Fructose may not be to blame for obesity…It may just be calories from any food source. Overconsumption is the issue.”   Link

Faulty fat sensor implicated in obesity and liver disease   ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2012) — Defects in a protein that functions as a dietary fat sensor may be a cause of obesity and liver disease, according to a study published in the journal Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London. The findings highlight a promising target for new drugs to treat obesity and metabolic disorders.  Link

Societal control of sugar essential to ease public health burden, experts urge   ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — Sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health, according to a team of UCSF researchers, who maintain in a new report that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Link

Heavy doctors avoid heavy discussions about weight   NPR’s Health Blog: Shots (Jan. 27, 2012) by Judith Graham – Research already demonstrates that physicians are sometimes uncomfortable talking about weight with their obese patients. Now, a new study shows that the doctors’ weight makes a difference too. Physicians who pack on the pounds discuss weight loss less frequently with obese patients than doctors who have normal body mass indexes.    Link

Appetite accomplice: Ghrelin receptor alters dopamine signalling  ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2012) — New research reveals a fascinating and unexpected molecular partnership within the brain neurons that regulate appetite. The study, published by Cell Press in the January 26 issue of the journal Neuron, resolves a paradox regarding a receptor without its hormone and may lead to more specific therapeutic interventions for obesity and disorders of dopamine signaling.  Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone produced by the stomach. Although the ghrelin receptor (GHSR1a) is broadly distributed in the brain, ghrelin itself is nearly undetectable there. This intriguing paradox was investigated by Dr. Roy G. Smith, Dr. Andras Kern, and colleagues from The Scripps Research Institute in Florida.   Link

School obesity programs may promote worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in kids    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2012) – In a new poll, 30% of parents report at least one worrisome behavior in their children that could be associated with the development of eating disorders.  A new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health examines the possible association between school-based childhood obesity prevention programs and an increase in eating disorders among young children and adolescents.   Link

Obesity rates stall, but no decline  New York Times: Well (Jan. 17, 2012) by Tara Parker-Pope – After two decades of steady increases, obesity rates in adults and children in the United States have remained largely unchanged during the past 12 years, a finding that suggests national efforts at promoting healthful eating and exercise are having little effect on the overweight… Although from a statistical standpoint, overall obesity rates haven’t changed in more than a decade, the latest analysis did detect some changes in the prevalence of obesity in certain groups. For instance, men and boys have become fatter since 1999, and so have non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American women. Although those trends were only recently detected in the data, there have been no significant increases in obesity prevalence since the 2003-4 survey.   Link

Winner of $50,000 health prize calls for new strategy: ‘You can be obese and fit’   The Globe and Mail (Jan. 11, 2012) by Kim Mackrael – If you want to live a long and healthy life, your best bet is to get off the couch, not cut the carbohydrates. That’s the message developed from years of research by Steven Blair, an exercise researcher at the University of South Carolina and the first winner of Canada’s Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health.   Link

The fat trap  New York Times: Well (Dec. 28, 2011) by Tara Parker-Pope – For 15 years, Joseph Proietto has been helping people lose weight. When these obese patients arrive at his weight-loss clinic in Australia, they are determined to slim down. And most of the time, he says, they do just that, sticking to the clinic’s program and dropping excess pounds. But then, almost without exception, the weight begins to creep back. In a matter of months or years, the entire effort has come undone, and the patient is fat again.  Link

Could obesity change the brain?   NPR’s Health Blog: Shots (Dec.28, 2011) by Nancy Shute – The standard advice for losing weight often comes up short for people who are obese. If they switch to a healthful diet and exercise more, they might lose a bit. But the pounds have a way of creeping back on. Now some provocative research suggests that a part of the problem might be that obesity could change the area of the brain that helps control appetite and body weight. Link

Free to be fat  The Globe and Mail (Dec. 28, 2011) by David Haslam – The classic 1981 horror movie The Monster Club, starring Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine as monsters, included a cast of cannibals, vampires, werewolves, ghouls and a hybrid creature called a “shadmock.” Among this group of misfits, the only outcast was an ordinary fat girl…. The obese were not always considered monsters.  Link

Obesity in teen years may be blamed on mother/child relationships  cnn Health (Dec. 26, 2011) by Dr. Sanjay Gupta – The mother-child relationship has always carried a lot of weight.  Now researchers say some obese teens might be in essence, carrying the weight of their relationship with their mothers when they were younger. A new study published in this week’s edition of Pediatrics finds the type of relationship a mother has with her young child could affect that little one’s chances of becoming obese as a teen.   Link

Free radicals crucial to suppressing appetite  ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2011) — Obesity is growing at alarming rates worldwide, and the biggest culprit is overeating. In a study of brain circuits that control hunger and satiety, Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that molecular mechanisms controlling free radicals — molecules tied to aging and tissue damage — are at the heart of increased appetite in diet-induced obesity.   Link

Why some obese people are healthier than skinny people   Toronto Star: (Aug. 15, 2011) by Debra Black – Being fat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in poor health.  Or so suggests a study done by Jennifer Kuk, a York University assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health.  “Not all obese individuals have poor health,” Kuk told the Star. “Conversely not all normal weight individuals have good health. You can have normal weight individuals who have high blood pressure, diabetes and poor lifestyle.”  Kuk and her team looked at 6,000 obese Americans comparing them to 23,000 healthy individuals.    Link

The thins versus the fats: Is obesity really a health, and a health care, issue?  New York Times: Opinionator (July 30, 2011) by Eric Etheridge – Though the now-twinned issues of race and beer have dominated the week’s storyline, Paul Campos wants you to think about another form of discrimination — fatism. It’s time we “stop harassing people about their weight,” says Campos, author of the “Obesity Myth,” in an interview with Megan McArdle for her Atlantic blog.  It appears that focusing on the idea that being fat actually makes people fatter. At least there’s an extremely strong correlation there. I bet if we stopped demonizing fatness people would actually be a bit thinner. They’d certainly be happier and healthier.  Link

Does food act physiologically like a ‘drug of choice’ for some?  ScienceDaily (July 20, 2011) — Variety is considered the “spice of life,” but does today’s unprecedented level of dietary variety help explain skyrocketing rates of obesity? Some researchers think it might.  According to ASN Spokesperson Shelley McGuire, PhD: “We’ve known for years that foods- even eating, itself- can trigger release of various brain chemicals, some of which are also involved in what happens with drug addiction and withdrawal. And, as can happen with substance abusers, tolerance or “habituation” can occur, meaning that repeated use (in this case, exposure to a food) is sometimes accompanied by a lack of response (in this case, disinterest in the food). The results of the study … provides a very interesting new piece to the obesity puzzle by suggesting that meal monotony may actually lead to reduced calorie consumption. The trick will be balancing this concept with the importance of variety to good nutrition.”  Link

Obese people can suffer from social anxiety disorder due to weight alone  ScienceDaily (July 1, 2011) — A new study from Rhode Island Hospital researchers shows that obese individuals with social anxiety related only to their weight may experience anxiety as severe as individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The findings directly conflict with the criteria for SAD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). The study is now published online in advance of print in the journal Depression and Anxiety.   Link

Surgery-related weight loss in men reverses testosterone deficiency, study finds    ScienceDaily (June 4, 2011) — Low testosterone levels and symptoms of male sexual dysfunction due to obesity may be reversible with weight loss after bariatric surgery, a new study finds.  The results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.  “Morbidly obese men have a high prevalence of hypotestosteronenemia, or low testosterone, and of sexual dysfunction,” said study co-author Jean-Paul Thissen, MD, PhD, a professor at the University of Louvain in Brussels. “It is reassuring that these problems are potentially curable by weight loss.”   Link

Food addiction works like drug addiction in the brain 5, 2011) – Seeing a milkshake can activate the same areas of the brain that light up when an addict sees cocaine, U.S. researchers said on Monday. The study helps explain why it can be so hard for some people to maintain a healthy weight, and why it has been so difficult for drug makers and health experts to find obesity treatments that work.  Link

Obesity: Character flaw or neurochemical disease? (Mar. 10, 2011), by Carole Carson – When is the last time someone challenged you to examine a cherished opinion or viewpoint? This comes close to describing my conversation with Dr. Jennifer Lovejoy, president of the Obesity Society, a clearheaded thinker whose insights are shifting attitudes and shaping future policies about obesity.    Link

Binge eaters’ dopamine levels spike at sight, smell of food    ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2011) — A brain imaging study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals a subtle difference between ordinary obese subjects and those who compulsively overeat, or binge: In binge eaters but not ordinary obese subjects, the mere sight or smell of favorite foods triggers a spike in dopamine — a brain chemical linked to reward and motivation.   Link

Compulsive eating shares addictive biochemical mechanism with cocaine, heroin abuse, study shows   ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2010) — In a newly published study, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have shown for the first time that the same molecular mechanisms that drive people into drug addiction are behind the compulsion to overeat, pushing people into obesity.   Link

Food addiction: Could it explain why 70 percent of Americans are fat? (Oct. 16, 2010) by Mark Hyman, MD – Our government and food industry both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food, that it’s all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing…New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar- fat- and salt-laden food — food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say — is biologically addictive.  Link

Obesity gene, carried by more than a third of the US population, leads to brain tissue loss    ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2010) — Three years ago, geneticists reported the startling discovery that nearly half of all people in the U.S. with European ancestry carry a variant of the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene, which causes them to gain weight — from three to seven pounds, on average — but worse, puts them at risk for obesity.    Link

Junk food addiction may be clue to obesity: High-calorie bingeing as addictive as cocaine, rat study shows (Mar. 29, 2010) by JoAnne Allen, Reuters – Bingeing on high-calorie foods may be as addictive as cocaine or nicotine, and could cause compulsive eating and obesity, according to a study.  The findings in a study of animals cannot be directly applied to human obesity, but may help in understanding the condition and in developing therapies to treat it, researchers wrote Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.    Link

Discovery of ‘fat’ taste could hold the key to reducing obesity  ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2010) — A newly discovered ability for people to taste fat could hold the key to reducing obesity, Deakin University health researchers believe.  Deakin researchers…have found that humans can detect a sixth taste — fat. They also found that people with a high sensitivity to the taste of fat tended to eat less fatty foods and were less likely to be overweight. The results of their research are published in the latest issue of the British Journal of NutritionLink

Intestinal bacteria drive obesity and metabolic disease in immune-altered mice  ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2010) — Increased appetite and insulin resistance can be transferred from one mouse to another via intestinal bacteria, according to research being published online by Science magazine.  The finding strengthens the case that intestinal bacteria can contribute to human obesity and metabolic disease, since previous research has shown that intestinal bacterial populations differ between obese and lean humans.   Link

Some morbidly obese people are missing genes, shows new research  ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2010) — A small but significant proportion of morbidly obese people are missing a section of their DNA, according to research published February 3 in Nature. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and ten other European Centres, say that missing DNA such as that identified in this research may be having a dramatic effect on some people’s weight.    Link

Mice can eat ‘junk’ and not get fat: researchers find gene that protects high-fat-diet mice from obesity  ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2009) — University of Michigan researchers have identified a gene that acts as a master switch to control obesity in mice. When the switch is turned off, even high-fat-diet mice remain thin.     Link

When parents try to control every little bite:  Being too restrictive about your child’s diet can backfire, experts say Health (Sept . 3, 2009) by Bridget Murray Law — Driven by concern about childhood obesity or other food anxieties, more nutrition-focused parents are turning into food cops, monitoring every morsel their children eat…In fact, a recent study found that being too restrictive about the foods children eat can cause more weight gain. Researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, found the highest weight gain among girls who considered their parents most restrictive about eating certain foods. The study tracked 200 girls for 10 years from age 5.   Link

Scientists identify stomach’s timekeepers of hunger  ScienceDaily (Aug. 31, 2009) — New York collaborators at Columbia and Rockefeller Universities have identified cells in the stomach that time the release of a hormone that makes animals anticipate food and eat even when they are not hungry. The finding, which has implications for the treatment of obesity, marks a landmark in the decades-long search for the timekeepers of hunger. The work reveals what the stomach “tells” the brain.     Link

Immune system may help fight obesitToronto Star: (July 27, 2009) by Joseph Hall  — The body’s immune system targets its own fat and may soon be manipulated to fight epidemic obesity and diabetes, a revolutionary Toronto study has found.   Link

Get fat, live longer: What the obesity industry doesn’t want you to know  The Globe and Mail: Opinion (July 25, 2009) by Margaret Wente  — A new study based on Statistics Canada population data reaches an exceedingly awkward conclusion: People who are overweight live longer than people who are classified as “normal” weight. Not only that, people who are classified as significantly overweight also live longer.  Link

When eating disorders strike in midlife  New York Times: Health (July 13, 2009) by Randi Hutter Epstein — No one has precise statistics on who is affected by eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, often marked by severe weight loss, or binge eating, which can lead to obesity. But experts say that in the past 10 years they are treating an increasing number of women over 30 who are starving themselves, abusing laxatives, exercising to dangerous extremes and engaging in all of the self-destructive activities that had, for so long, been considered teenage behaviors.   Link

How obesity increases the risk for diabetes  ScienceDaily (June 22, 2009) — Obesity is probably the most important factor in the development of insulin resistance, but science’s understanding of the chain of events is still spotty. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have filled in the gap and identified the missing link between the two. Their findings, to be published in the June 21, 2009 advance online edition of the journal Nature, explain how obesity sets the stage for diabetes and why thin people can become insulin-resistant.   Link

Obesity surgery may thin bones, causing breaks: Bariatric patients may be more likely to fracture hands or feet, study says Health   (June 15, 2009) — It isn’t just the thunder thighs that shrink after obesity surgery. Melting fat somehow thins bones, too.  Doctors don’t yet know how likely patients’ bones are to thin enough to break in the years after surgery. But one of the first attempts to tell suggests they might have twice the average person’s risk.   Link

Study offers clues to why people overeat   New York Times: Health (June 10, 2009) by Roni Caryn Rabin – People  usually gain weight because they overeat, but what makes them overeat? A new study suggests that obese people have a different physiological response to food: they continue to salivate longer in response to a new taste than do people of normal weight.  Link

New obesity surgery leaves no scars: Experimental procedure aims to reduce pain, speed recovery Press (June 3, 2009) — Doctors are testing a new kind of obesity surgery without any cuts through the abdomen, snaking a tube as thick as a garden hose down the throat to snap staples into the stomach. The experimental, scar-free procedure creates a narrow passage that slows the food as it moves from the upper stomach into the lower stomach, helping patients feel full more quickly and eat less.  Link

Childhood: food allergies may be linked to obesity   New York Times (May 25, 2009) by Nicholas Bakalar  — Reducing childhood obesity may have yet another benefit: lowering the incidence of food allergies.  Researchers studying more than 4,000 children ages 2 to 19 enrolled in a larger survey of childhood health found a significant association of overweight and obesity with allergic reactions to eggs, peanuts and other common allergens. For example, overweight and obese children were over 50 percent more likely than those of normal weight to be allergic to milk. Over all, the obese and overweight children were about 25 percent more likely to have one or more food allergies.   Link

Feeding behaviors in monkeys and humans have ancient, shared roots, Bolivian rainforest study suggests  ScienceDaily (May 20, 2009) — Behavioural ecologists working in Bolivia have found that wild spider monkeys control their diets in a similar way to humans, contrary to what has been thought up to now. Rather than trying to maximize their daily energy intake, the monkeys tightly regulate their daily protein intake, so that it stays at the same level regardless of seasonal variation in the availability of different foods.  Tight regulation of daily protein intake is known to play a role in the development of obesity in humans, and the findings from this research suggest that the evolutionary origins of these eating patterns in humans may be far older than suspected. Until now it was thought humans’ eating patterns originated in the Palaeolithic era (between 2.4 million and 10,000 years ago).  Link

One in five obese women select overweight or obese silhouettes as their ideal body image   ScienceDaily (May 14, 2009) — For many women, body image is a constant struggle; a poor self-image can lead to a host of both mental and physical health problems. But a new study out of Temple University finds that an extremely good body image can also take its toll on a woman’s health.   Link

Does mom know when enough is enough? Missed satiety cues from infants linked to obesity  ScienceDaily (May 12, 2009) — As the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States continues, researchers are examining whether early parent and child behaviors contribute to the problem. A study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, published in the May/June 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reports that mothers who miss signs of satiety in their infants tend to overfeed them, leading to excess weight gains during the 6 month to 1 year period.  Link

Increased food intake alone explains rise in obesity in United States, study finds   ScienceDaily (May 8, 2009) — New research that uses an innovative approach to study, for the first time, the relative contributions of food and exercise habits to the development of the obesity epidemic has concluded that the rise in obesity in the United States since the 1970s was virtually all due to increased energy intake.   Link

Dietary fats trigger long-term memory formation  ScienceDaily (May 3, 2009) — Having strong memories of that rich, delicious dessert you ate last night? If so, you shouldn’t feel like a glutton. It’s only natural.  UC Irvine researchers have found that eating fat-rich foods triggers the formation of long-term memories of that activity. The study adds to their recent work linking dietary fats to appetite control and may herald new approaches for treating obesity and other eating disorders.   Link

Factors other than genes could cause obesity, insulin study shows  ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2009) — Researchers have uncovered new evidence suggesting factors other than genes could cause obesity, finding that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat depending on subtle variations in how cells process insulin.   Link

Eating less may not extend human life: caloric restriction may benefit only obese mice   ScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2009) — If you are a mouse on the chubby side, then eating less may help you live longer.  For lean mice – and possibly for lean humans, the authors of a new study predict – the anti-aging strategy known as caloric restriction may be a pointless, frustrating and even dangerous exercise.  Link

Brain enzyme may play key role in controlling appetite and weight gain  ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2008) — Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that overactivity of a brain enzyme may play a role in preventing weight gain and obesity. The findings were reported in Cell Metabolism.  Link

Obesity all in your head? Brain genes associated with increased body mass  ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2008) — Is obesity all in your head? New research suggests that genes that predispose people to obesity act in the brain and that perhaps some people are simply hardwired to overeat.   Link

Study: Six new gene mutations linked to obesity (Dec. 14, 2008) — Researchers have identified six new gene mutations linked to obesity and said on Sunday they point to ways the brain and nervous system control eating and metabolism.  Link

Keeping the weight off: which obesity treatment is most successful?  ScienceDaily (Dec. 12, 2008) — Severely obese patients who have lost significant amounts of weight by changing their diet and exercise habits may be as successful in keeping the weight off long-term as those individuals who lost weight after bariatric surgery, according to a new study published online by the International Journal of Obesity.   Link

Eating quickly and until full triples risk of being overweight   ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2008) — The combination of eating quickly and eating until full trebles the risk of being overweight, according to a study published on the British Medical Journal website.  Until the last decade or so most adults did not have the opportunity to consume enough energy to enable fat to be stored. However, with the increased availability of inexpensive food in larger portions, fast food, and fewer families eating together and eating while distracted (e.g. while watching TV), eating behaviours are changing, and this may be contributing to the obesity epidemic..    Link

Genetic link found for obesity (Apr. 12, 2007) — A gene variant common in the European population has been discovered that shows the first clear link to obesity, researchers say.  Link

Binge eating more common than other eating disorders, survey finds   ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2007) — The first national survey of individuals with eating disorders shows that binge eating disorder is more prevalent than either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, also calls binge eating disorder a “major public health burden” because of its direct link to severe obesity and other serious health effects.  Link

The gorge-yourself environment  New York Times: Science  (July 22, 2003) by Erica Goode From giant sodas to supersize burgers to all-you-can-eat buffets, America’s approach to food can be summed up by one word: Big.  Plates are piled high, and few crumbs are left behind. Today’s blueberry muffin could, in an earlier era, have fed a family of four.  But social norms change  . . . Now many health experts are hoping that, in the service of combating an epidemic of obesity, the nation might be coaxed into a similar cultural shift in its eating habits.  Link

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