Tag: "obesity"

Are Antibiotics Making Us Fat?

…[D]ecades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.

Of course, while farm animals often eat a significant dose of antibiotics in food, the situation is different for human beings. By the time most meat reaches our table, it contains little or no antibiotics. So we receive our greatest exposure in the pills we take, rather than the food we eat. American kids are prescribed on average about one course of antibiotics every year, often for ear and chest infections. Could these intermittent high doses affect our metabolism?

In 2002 Americans were about an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier than they were in the 1960s, and more than a third are now classified as obese…

…New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs… (NYT)

Childhood Obesity: The Rest of the Story

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The nation is celebrating a new study reporting that the obesity rate for children ages 2 to 5 has plummeted over the last decade. But one of the sadder parts of the study released Wednesday was that the U.S. obesity rate is a reflection of the nation’s racial divide: Blacks and Hispanics suffer much higher levels of obesity compared with whites.

As you can see in the chart above, obesity rates among babies are fairly similar across racial lines. But the disparities rapidly emerge. A black child age 2 to 5 is more than three times as likely to be obese as a white child that age. Hispanic children in that age group are nearly five times as likely to be obese. (Zachary Goldfarb)

Studying Obesity, Learning Nothing

Weight ChangesIn 1960, fewer than 13 percent of Americans were obese, and diabetes had been diagnosed in 1 percent. Today, the percentage of obese Americans has almost tripled; the percentage of Americans with diabetes has increased sevenfold.

Meanwhile, the research literature on obesity has also ballooned. In 1960, fewer than 1,100 articles were published on obesity or diabetes in the indexed medical literature. Last year it was more than 44,000. In total, over 600,000 articles have been published purporting to convey some meaningful information on these conditions. (NYT)

Overweight People Think Differently

About food:

ATHK67For some time, scientists have known that many overweight people’s brains operate differently than the brains of thinner people when they look at images related to eating. In previous neurological studies, when heavier volunteers viewed pictures of food or food preparation, they typically developed increased activity in portions of the brain involved in reward processing, or an urge to like things, including in an area called the putamen. At the same time, their brains showed relatively blunted activity in areas that are thought to induce satiety, or the ability to know when you are full. These changes generally are reversed in the brains of thinner people shown the same images.

About exercise:

The resulting readouts revealed that overweight women’s brains were put off by exercise…

Emotionally, the brain scans suggested, they anticipated disliking physical activity much more than they expected to disdain sitting.

Leaner women’s brain activity, by and large, was the opposite, with the putamen lighting up when they watched others work out and envisaged doing the same themselves. (NYT)

Are Food-Stamp Diets Making Kids Fat?

FoodStampsChildObesity081013This is what El Futuro looks like in the Rio Grande Valley: The country’s hungriest region is also its most overweight, with 38.5 percent of the people obese. For one of the first times anywhere in the United States, children in South Texas have a projected life span that is a few years shorter than that of their parents.

It is a crisis at the heart of the Washington debate over food stamps, which now help support nearly 1 in 7 Americans. Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one? Is it enough for the government to help people buy food, or should it go further by also telling them what to eat?

Source: The Washington Post.

Hits and Misses

gavel-judge-court-OHIO-millUnintended consequence of the welfare state: man was declared legally dead years ago; judge refuses to declare him “alive” today.

Questionable Nobel prizes.

Does diabetes cause obesity rather than the other way around?

Why businesses give you a receipt, even when you don’t ask for one.

Hits and Misses

DoubtA nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusettss about the flu vaccine.

Why the Kentucky exchange is working while other state exchanges aren’t; hint: the problem isn’t “glitches.”

Obesity paradox: studies showing overweight people live longer may suffer from measurement error.

Does support for ObamaCare reflect lack of empathy for the young?

Good news: looking at what people consume, the war on poverty has been almost completely won.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

121511skynewsiraqflag_512x288Health costs of war.

Robert Reich: Socialize private charity: Parent gifts to their children’s schools should be shared equally with other schools.

Alan Grayson: there’s scant and circumstantial evidence that Assad ordered the attack.

Mississippians are the fattest people in the nation, and also are the most insecure about getting their next meal.

New Efforts to Get People Signed Up with ObamaCare, and Other Links

Why millions of dollars spent trying to get healthy people to sign up for (ObamaCare insurance) may not work.

On the study finding that overweight people live slightly longer: “This study is really a pile of rubbish, and no one should waste their time reading it.”

Sanjay Gupta: I was wrong about weed.

Scott Sumner takes on Paul Krugman and shows no mercy.

Failing to Change Behavior

According to the July 11, 2013 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, the Look AHEAD trial has been canceled on the “basis of a futility analysis” after 9.6 years of follow-up. It was designed to study whether an intensive lifestyle intervention for weight loss would decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among overweight or obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. Short of interning people in exercise camps, it is hard to imagine a more intensive intervention.

The 5,145 participants were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intensive lifestyle intervention group. The control group received the usual information about behavioral strategies for adopting standard recommendations about how to eat right and exercise.