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Posts Tagged ‘obesity

Obesity policies failing

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An important issue, somehow not solved with the statement “Eat less, exercise more.” (Similar approaches to solving major public health problems, which also somehow fail: “Don’t smoke cigarettes.” “If you’re depressed, snap out of it.” “Have sex only with your spouse, ever.” and so on.) Read this announcement, which begins:

Adult obesity rates increased in 37 states in the past year, according to the fifth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America, 2008 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Rates rose for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in 19 states. No state saw a decrease. Though many promising policies have emerged to promote physical activity and good nutrition in communities, the report concludes that they are not being adopted or implemented at levels needed to turn around this health crisis.

More than 25 percent of adults are obese in 28 states, which is an increase from 19 states last year. More than 20 percent of adults are obese in every state except Colorado. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average of obese adults was 15 percent.

Recommendations for Combating Obesity

The report calls on the federal government to convene partners from state and local governments, businesses, communities, and schools to create and implement a realistic, comprehensive National Strategy to Combat Obesity. Some key policy recommendations include:

  • Investing in effective community-based disease-prevention programs that promote increased physical activity and good nutrition;
  • Improving the nutritional quality of foods available in schools and childcare programs;
  • Increasing the amount and quality of physical education and activity in schools and childcare programs;
  • Increasing access to safe, accessible places for physical activity in communities. Examples include creating and maintaining parks, sidewalks and bike lanes and providing incentives for smart growth designs that make communities more livable and walkable;
  • Improving access to affordable nutritious foods by providing incentives for grocery stores and farmers’ markets to locate in underserved communities;
  • Encouraging limits on screen time for children through school-based curricula and media literacy resources;
  • Eliminating the marketing of junk food to kids;
  • Encouraging employers to provide workplace wellness programs;
  • Requiring public and private insurers to provide preventive services, including nutrition counseling for children and adults; and
  • Providing people with the information they need about nutrition and activity to make educated decisions, including point-of-purchase information about the nutrition and calorie content of foods.

Click on a state below to read state-specific obesity and obesity-related information: …

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Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2008 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health

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Obesity and the brain’s reward system

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The tendency toward obesity is directly related to the brain system that is involved in food reward and addictive behaviors, according to a new study. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and colleagues have demonstrated a link between a predisposition to obesity and defective dopamine signaling in the mesolimbic system in rats. Their report appears in the August 2008 issue of The FASEB Journal. The mesolimbic system is a system of neurons in the brain that secretes dopamine, a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger, which mediates emotion and pleasure. The release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the mesolimbic system is traditionally associated with euphoria and considered to be the major neurochemical signature of drug addiction.

“Baseline dopamine levels were 50 percent lower and stimulated dopamine release was significantly attenuated in the brain reward systems of obesity-prone rats, compared with obesity-resistant rats. Defects in brain dopamine synthesis and release were evident in rats immediately after birth,” said Emmanuel Pothos, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at TUSM and member of the neuroscience program faculty of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.”

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Written by Leisureguy

29 July 2008 at 11:11 am

Posted in Daily life

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Being fat seems to be unhealthy

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Not exactly news, but we continue to learn how bad it is. Recently it was found that obesity can cause cancer. And now this:

When lean healthy young adults gained about 9 pounds, the functioning of their blood vessel lining became impaired — but shedding the weight restored proper functioning, according to a Mayo Clinic research report. The finding is important because this vessel disorder, known as endothelial dysfunction, is a predictor of heart attacks and stroke, and the effects of modest weight gain on the disorder were not previously known.

The Mayo Clinic team presented the findings today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007.

The study is the first randomized, blinded, controlled trial to assess the effects of weight gain — and subsequent weight loss — on endothelial function. Endothelial cells line the blood vessels. When not functioning correctly, they impede blood flow, which can predispose a person to heart attack or stroke. Determining how modest weight gain affects the condition was important due to the growing number of overweight adults worldwide.

“The effects of obesity on heart health receives a lot of attention, but less scrutiny has been given to the impact on the endothelium of modest weight gain in otherwise healthy people,” says Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist and senior author. “In fact, many adults accept this kind of weight gain — 9 or 10 pounds — as just part of aging. The assumption has generally been that a modest rise in body fat was more an issue of going up a clothing size, not a health issue. This study suggests otherwise, providing evidence that may help change our cultural attitude to the implications of modest weight gain as we age — and perhaps strengthen the argument for diet and exercise to control weight as a means of protecting against cardiovascular disease.”

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Written by Leisureguy

6 November 2007 at 9:24 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Medical, Science

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