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January 3, 2008, 9:03 PM CT

Mom's obesity during conception

Mom's obesity during conception
The number of overweight and obese Americans continues to grow rapidly. Today, 50 percent of adults are overweight and up to 20 percent are obese. While the number of overweight/obese children is at an all time high, the steady increase of overweight infants -- individuals under 11 months old -- is alarming.

Research studies have observed that pregnant women who are overweight/obese are more likely to give birth to heavier babies, and the risk of overweight children becoming obese adults is nearly nine times greater than for children who are not overweight. Studies also show that greater body-weight at birth and weight gain early in life increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese as an adult. Inheritance studies show that a child's body mass index (BMI) correlates more closely with the mother's BMI than with it's father's, suggesting that an interaction of both genetic and intrauterine influences, may contribute to later-life obesity risk in the offspring.

Armed with these and other data, a team of scientists from the USDA-Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center has examined whether the subtle effects of fetal exposure to the mother's obesity can have a latent effect on the offspring. In a new report, researchers studied whether fetal exposure to gestational obesity leads to a self-reinforcing viscious cycle of excessive weight gain and body fat which passes from mother to child. The results of the new study suggest they do.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 2, 2008, 8:26 PM CT

Obesity linked to decreased seatbelt use

Obesity linked to decreased seatbelt use
Obese people are less likely to use their seatbelts than the rest of the population, adding to the public health risks linked to this rapidly growing problem.

The connection was made by Vanderbilt University psychology expert David Schlundt and colleagues at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn.

We observed that when weight goes up, seatbelt use goes down, Schlundt, associate professor of psychology and assistant professor of medicine, said. This is an additional public health problem linked to obesity that was not on the radar screen. We hope these new findings will help promote awareness campaigns to encourage people to use their seatbelts and that additional resources, like seatbelt extenders, will be made more readily available.

Schlundt and colleagues examined 2002 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a telephone survey used to collect data on risky behaviors and health decisions linked to death.

The study observed that approximately 30 percent of individuals with a body mass index (kilograms per meter squared) that qualified them as overweight, obese or extremely obese reported not using a seatbelt, in comparison to approximately 20 percent of the average population. Furthermore, seatbelt use declined as BMI increased, with approximately 55 percent of extremely obese individuals reporting they did not use a seatbelt. The correlation between increased body mass index and decreased seatbelt use held even when controlling for other factors, such as gender, race and seatbelt laws in the respondents state.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 27, 2007, 8:33 AM CT

Overeating and obesity triggered by lack of BDNF

Overeating and obesity triggered by lack of BDNF
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to one-third of the population in the United States is obese and another third is overweight. Excessive weight gain is elicited by alterations in energy balance, the finely modulated equilibrium between caloric intake and expenditure. But what are the factors that determine how much food is consumed" Part of the mystery is unfolding in the laboratory of Maribel Rios, PhD, at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Through their work, Rios and his colleagues have shown for the first time that a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is critical in mediating satiety in adult mice. Their findings appear in the December 26 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Mice in which the Bdnf gene was deleted in two of the primary appetite-regulating regions of the brain ate more and became significantly heavier than their counterparts. Previous to this study, we knew that the global lack of BDNF and/or its receptor during development leads to overeating and obesity in young mice. However, it remained unclear and controversial whether BDNF mediated satiety in adult animals. Our recent findings demonstrate that BDNF synthesis in the ventromedial (VMH) and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) is mandatory for normal energy balance. Additionally, because the mice examined in this study were genetically altered in adulthood, we were able to establish that BDNF acts as a satiety signal in the mature brain independently from its putative actions during development of the brain. This important distinction might help define disease mechanisms and critical periods of intervention for the therapy and prevention of obesity disorders, says Rios, corresponding author and an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Sackler School.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 9:57 PM CT

The physiology of champions

The physiology of champions
What could be a greater test of the limits of human physiology than the Olympics" To mark the 2008 games in Beijing, the Journal of Physiology present a special issue focusing on the science behind human athleticism and endurance.

This unique collection of original research and in-depth reviews examines the genes that make a champion, the physiology of elite athletes, limits to performance and how they might be overcome.

Excess body heat is a barrier to performance in a number of sports, and a novel study by Romain Meeusen et al.1 shows that both the neurotransmitter systems have an important impact on the control and perception of thermoregulation.

Rats whose dopaminergic and the noradrenergic reuptake was inhibited by the anti-smoking aid Xyban were able to exercise twenty minutes longer than usual in the sweltering heat and tolerated higher core body temperature.

What genes makes a champion, asked Alun Williams et al"2 They identify 23 individual genetic variations that enhance athletic performance If the optimum genetic combination existed in one person, world records like Paula Radcliffes would probably be shattered.

Left to nature, the odds of anyone alive having all 23 variations is just 200,000:1. But what might the future hold for genetic manipulation and testing".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 5:35 AM CT

Walking and moderate exercise help prevent dementia

Walking and moderate exercise help prevent dementia
People age 65 and older who regularly walk and get other forms of moderate exercise appear to significantly lower their risk of developing vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimers disease, as per a research studyreported in the December 19, 2007, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The four-year study involved 749 men and women in Italy who were over age 65 and did not have memory problems at the beginning of the study. Scientists measured the amount of energy exerted in the participants weekly physical activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and moderate activities, such as house and yard work, gardening, and light carpentry. By the end of the study, 54 people developed Alzheimers disease and 27 developed vascular dementia.

The study found the top one-third of participants who exerted the most energy walking were 27 percent less likely to develop vascular dementia than those people in the bottom one-third of the group.

Participants who scored in the top one-third for the most energy exerted in moderate activities lowered their risk of vascular dementia by 29 percent and people who scored in the top one-third for total physical activity lowered their risk by 24 percent in comparison to those in the bottom one-third.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 13, 2007, 9:08 PM CT

Overweight People Are More Likely to Have Bad Breath

Overweight People Are More Likely to Have Bad Breath
Now there's another good reason to go on that diet after the holidays. Tel Aviv University scientists have published a study that finds a direct link between obesity and bad breath: the more overweight you are, the more likely your breath will smell unpleasant to those around you.

The research, led by breath expert Prof. Mel Rosenberg from the Department of Human Microbiology and The Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, was published in the Journal of Dental Research in October. The study also reported, for the first time, scientific evidence that links bad breath to alcohol consumption.

"The finding on alcohol and bad breath was not surprising because the anecdotal evidence was already there," says Prof. Rosenberg. "However, the finding that correlated obesity to bad breath was unanticipated".

A Weighty Sample

The study was done in Israel and included a sample of 88 adults of varying weights and heights. While at a clinic for a regular check-up, they were asked by graduate student Tsachi Knaan, a co-author in the study, whether he could test the odor of their breath and ask questions about their daily habits.

Prof. Rosenberg, Knaan and Prof. Danny Cohen concluded from the data that overweight patients were more likely to have foul-smelling breath. "This finding should hold for the general public," says Prof. Rosenberg. "But we don't have any scientific evidence as to why this is the case. That will be the next step".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 12, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Too much fructose could leave dieters sugar shocked

Too much fructose could leave dieters sugar shocked
Heres one tip for how to eat at the holidays: Dont take your cues from Santa. The sugary cookies and fat-laden fruitcakes the mythical North Pole resident eats are a no-no. But you dont have to go no-carb to stay fit at the holidays, either, University of Florida scientists say.

In fact, a number of dieters may actually be cutting out the wrong foods altogether, as per findings from a UF paper published recently in the European Journal of Nutrition. Dieters should focus on limiting the amount of fructose they eat instead of cutting out starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes, report the researchers, who propose using new dietary guidelines based on fructose to gauge how healthy foods are.

Theres a fair amount of evidence that starch-based foods dont cause weight gain like sugar-based foods and dont cause the metabolic syndrome like sugar-based foods, said Dr. Richard Johnson, the senior author of the report, which evaluated several recent studies on fructose and obesity. Potatoes, pasta, rice may be relatively safe in comparison to table sugar. A fructose index may be a better way to assess the risk of carbohydrates correlation to obesity.

A number of diets -- including the low-carb variety -- are based on the glycemic index, which measures how foods affect blood glucose levels. Because starches convert to glucose in the body, these diets tend to limit foods such as rice and potatoes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 11, 2007, 10:38 PM CT

Obesity reduces chances of spontaneous pregnancy

Obesity reduces chances of spontaneous pregnancy
A new study of obesity and the probability of pregnancy has shown that a womans chances of a spontaneous pregnancy steadily decrease the fatter she is.

In the first prospective cohort study to examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and pregnancy chances in women who have no obvious reasons for infertility but who have spent a year or more trying unsuccessfully to conceive, the study observed that for every BMI unit above 29 kg/m2, the probability of pregnancy was reduced by four per cent in comparison to women with a BMI between 21-29 kg/m2. Very obese women (BMI 35-40) had a probability of pregnancy that was between 26 and 43 per cent lower than women with a BMI between 21-29.

Dr Jan Willem van der Steeg, the lead author of the study [1], which is published in Europes leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, today (Wednesday 12 December) said: This reduction in fertility is comparable to the increment of one year in female age. This study tells us that not only obese women with anovulation have lower chances of conception, but also obese women with a regular cycle. Given the increased prevalence of obesity, this is a worrying finding. The occurence rate of obesity is reckoned to be 12 per cent in women of child-bearing age in Western Europe and 25 per cent in North America.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 10, 2007, 10:26 PM CT

Living Longer With Obesity Means

Living Longer With Obesity Means
Markus Schafer, left, and Ken Ferraro
Living longer with obesity can lead to both longer hospital stays and more avoidable trips to the hospital, as per two new studies from Purdue University.

"Americans are overweight, and there are numerous studies that cite the problems of obesity," said Ken Ferraro, a professor of sociology. "However, as the age at which people become obese continues to get younger, we wanted to know how living longer with obesity affects people.

"These findings could motivate young people to reverse the trend with healthy eating and activity and, if so, they may be able to avoid the consequences of chronic obesity".

Ferraro, along with graduate student Markus Schafer, studied how obesity influences hospitalizations by using 20 years of personal health data based on surveys associated with hospital records of more than 4,000 people ages 25-77. The data, from 1971-1992, was part of a federally funded national health and nutrition survey.

"In an economic sense, we have a major problem on our hands in terms of what we would project for today's overweight children and teenagers," said Ferraro, who is director of Purdue's Center on Aging and the Life Course. "In the past, people's weight peaked during late middle age. As more young people become obese, we may anticipate accumulated health problems by the time they are 40. If they are going to be obese for 30, 40 or 50 years, then the health-care costs linked to their adult medical needs will skyrocket. These findings are more evidence that we need to act now to reverse the obesity trend in our younger people. Eventhough it is hard to project the future from these data, the likely scenarios portend a diabetes epidemic".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 6, 2007, 3:21 PM CT

Fresh-cut produce washing practices

Fresh-cut produce washing practices
Scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently examined the safety and quality of "wash techniques" used in the production of packaged produce. The study, reported in the October 2007 issue of HortScience, simulated washing techniques to learn more about how industry practices affect quality and safety of pre-cut lettuce.

Yaguang Luo, PhD, Research Food Technologist at the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Produce Quality and Safety Laboratory, headed the study of produce wash techniques used in the commercial preparation of pre-cut fruits and vegetables. Luo explained that recent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses linked to the consumption of fresh-cut produce underscored the importance of ensuring food safety of these packaged convenience foods.

He noted that washing the produce is an important step usually employed by the industry to maintain the quality and safety of fresh and fresh-cut produce. Previous to the study, however, little information existed about how wash operation and water re-use techniques affected the water quality, the efficacy of sanitizers on the reduction of microorganisms, or the quality and shelf life of packaged products. Luo explained: "The main objective of the research was to examine the dynamic interactions among wash operation, water quality, and sanitizer efficacy and product quality. We investigated the effect of produce washing techniques, including simulated water re-use, and the ratio between product weight and wash water volume on the water quality and effectiveness of sanitizers used to reduce microorganisms".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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