Body Mass Index predicts how soon Alzheimer’s will develop

The devastating cost of carrying excess pounds in middle age has been highlighted in a new study which shows every extra point of BMI speeds up the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly seven months.

Although previous studies have suggested that a healthy diet and exercise can ward off dementia, it is the first time that the impact of poor lifestyle has been quantified so starkly.

The obesity epidemic has risen alongside the increase in dementia, and scientists have long suspected a link.

Now US researchers from the government-affiliated National Institute on Ageing have found that even having a BMI (Body Mass Index) just one point over a safe level, speeds up the onset of dementia for people aged 50 or over. For people who are seriously obese, they could develop neurodegenerative disease years a decade before they would have if they were a healthy weight.

“We think these findings are important because they add to a substantial amount of knowledge about how obesity affects Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Dr Madhav Thambisetty.

“But more importantly, it indicates if we can maintain a healthy body mass index even as early as midlife, it might have longlasting protective effects towards delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease decades later.”

Source: Body Mass Index predicts how soon Alzheimer’s will develop – Telegraph

Feminists are angry that Kermit the Frog’s new girlfriend is young and thin

Kermit the Frog has been spotted out and about with a new lady, Denise, after splitting with his ex-girlfriend Miss Piggy last month.

In typical fashion, people on Twitter had a lot to say about Kermit’s new lady and, while he denies speculation they are romantically linked, the pictures appear to tell another story.

Many have expressed dismay that Kermit the Frog ditched the feminist and fuller-figured Miss Piggy for a younger, skinnier model, who has not yet expressed opinions on the works of Germaine Greer or bell hooks.

Source: Feminists are angry that Kermit the Frog’s new girlfriend is young and thin – Telegraph

Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet

Loath as you may be to admit it, chances are that at some point you have found yourself in the kitchen late at night, devouring some sweet, salty or carb-rich treat even though you weren’t hungry.

Scientists are getting closer to understanding why people indulge after dark and to determining whether those nighttime calories wreak more havoc — whether they drive up the risk of weight gain and of chronic diseases such diabetes — than ones consumed earlier in the day.

“For years, we said a calorie is a calorie no matter when you consume it,” says dietitian Joy Dubost, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I don’t know if we can say that anymore, based on the emerging research. The timing of a meal may potentially have an impact.”

Most of the major studies on late-night eating have been conducted with animals,night-shift workers and people who, due to a disorder called night eating syndrome, consume at least 25 percent of their daily calories after supper or who wake up to eat at least twice a week.

Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.

Some animal studies have shown that food is processed differently at different times of day. This could be due to fluctuations in body temperature, biochemical reactions, hormone levels, physical activity and absorption and digestion of food, says Steven Shea, director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University.

“The studies suggest that eating out of our normal rhythm, like late at night, may prompt weight gain” and higher levels of blood sugar, which can raise the risk of chronic disease, Allison says.

Source: Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet – The Washington Post

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”

Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume.

Source: Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets – The New York Times

Air passenger suing for a back injury ’caused by sitting next to obese man’


James Andres Bassos said that during an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Dubai, he was forced to contort his body for long periods because of the “grossly overweight” person in the next seat.

He told a court in Brisbane, Australia, that the man was spilling into his seat, coughing frequently and had fluid coming from his mouth, according to a report by the Australian Associated Press.

Bassos asked if he could move seats five hours into the journey, but airline staff allegedly refused his request. Half an hour later, Bassos complained again and he was moved to a crew seat.

Unfortunately, the court heard that he had to return to his actual seat later for security reasons, once for another hour and then again for the final 90 minutes of the flight.

Bassos alleges that the flight gave him a back injury and exacerbated a pre-existing back condition and is seeking damages for personal injuries.

Source: Air passenger suing for a back injury ’caused by sitting next to obese man’

Newspapers can predict obesity

“Newspapers are basically crystal balls for obesity,” Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and a coauthor of the study, said in a news release about the data.

Here’s what the study found: If a lot of sweets — and not a lot of good stuff, like veggies — make it into the pages of the newspaper, the population might be fatter in a few years.

For the study, researchers went back through years of archived stories from both papers. Foods that got mentioned in print were noted and catalogued, then compared with obesity data in the United States (for the New York Times) and the United Kingdom (the Times of London).

Here’s what that data showed, the study’s lead author, Brennan Davis, told The Washington Post: “The number of times unhealthy foods like sweet snacks (candies, cookies, cakes, etc.) are mentioned in the news today can [tell] us about national obesity prevalence three years from now.”

But why?

Is the coverage influencing the culture or reflecting it?

“One explanation is that the news reflects increased societal interest in eating sweet snacks over fruits and vegetables each year, and it takes three years or so for people to gain weight after eating more of these sweet snacks on average,” wrote Davis, an associate professor of marketing at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. “It is also possible that news journalists have increased mentions of sweet snacks over fruits and vegetables because it is more exciting to write about chocolate cake than steamed broccoli.

“Thus, we cannot rule out the possibility that mentioning more sweet snacks and fewer fruits and vegetables over the past fifty years has influenced rather than reflected an increase in unhealthy consumption, which would subsequently increase obesity.”

Source: Newspapers can predict obesity so don’t say we never did anything for you – The Washington Post

Study: Probability of Obese People Reaching ‘Normal’ Weight Less Than 1%

Despite the fact that the diet industry does several billion dollars worth of business in the U.S. alone each year, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that most obese people will never achieve a “normal” weight.

The Centers for Disease Control classify a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 as “overweight,” anything above that as obese.

Nine years worth of data for 76,704 obese men and 99,791 obese women from the United Kingdom was analyzed by researchers from King’s College London, who found that the annual probability of reaching a normal weight was less than 1 percent for both groups — just 1 in 210 for obese men and 1 in 124 for obese women (obese = 30.0–34.9 BMI).

For those with morbid obesity (BMI = 40.0–44.9), those odds decreased to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women.

And, at least 50 percent of patients who managed to achieve a 5 percent weight loss were shown to have regained the weight within two years.

Over the full course of the study, nine years, 1,283 men (about 1.67 percent) and 2,245 women (about 2.25 percent) managed to achieve a normal body weight.

Participants who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.

“Our findings indicate that current nonsurgicalobesity treatment strategies are failing to achieve sustained weight loss for the majority of obese patients,” the study says.

Source: Study: Probability of Obese People Reaching ‘Normal’ Weight Less Than 1%

Could binge-eating fish shed light on human obesity?

A binge-eating fish could help explain why some humans over indulge at dinnertime.

The blind albino fish live in remote caves in north-eastern Mexico where food only becomes available about once a year when it is swept in by floods.

Over hundreds of thousands of years, the cave fish have adapted to the darkness by losing their eyes, as well as learning how to resist starvation by binge eating in times of plenty.

Understanding how these fish have evolved to be fat might help experts explain why some people are obese.

Professor Clifford Tabin, the study’s lead researcher at Harvard Medical School, said: ‘We all know that people have different metabolisms that lead to their gaining weight under different amounts of eating.

‘The work with the cave fish gives us an example in a natural setting of why and how metabolisms evolved to be different.

‘Some of the mechanisms we see in the fish may well have implications for human metabolism and therefore human health.’

Like humans with inherited obesity, most of the fish were found to have mutations in the MC4R gene, known to be at the heart of appetite regulation.

The gene is regulated by leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone and insulin in the human brain.

In laboratory tests, mice lacking MC4R were found to be severely obese and constantly hungry.

Tests showed that after two months without food, Mexican cave fish lost half as much weight as another version of the same species that lives above ground.

After three months, the cave fish continued to thrive, while their surface-dwelling cousins began to starve and die.

Co-author Dr Nicolas Rohner, a researcher in Prof Tabin’s laboratory, said: ‘These fish are very, very fat – much fatter than surface fish.

‘And although they are active, their metabolism is slower.’

The study, published in the journal PNAS, showed that MC4R activity was reduced in the cave fish, taking the brakes off appetite suppression.

Source: Could binge-eating FISH shed light on human obesity? | Daily Mail Online

World entering era of global food insecurity with malnutrition and obesity side by side within countries, says leading food expert

The world is entering an era of global food insecurity which is already leading to the “double burden” of both obesity and malnutrition occurring side by side within countries and even within the same families, a leading food expert has warned.

It will become increasingly common to see obese parents in some developing countries raising underweight and stunted children because high-calorie food is cheaper and more readily available than the nutritious food needed for healthy growth, said Alan Dangour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“We are certainly looking at a period of increased instability in the supply of food, and also the diversity and types of food that are available are going to change,” said Dr Dangour, who is to lead a major study into global food insecurity and its impact on health.

“A result of this is called the ‘double burden’ of malnutrition,” he added. “Under-nutrition causes starvation and stunting in children, whereas obesity and over-weight in adults is another form of malnutrition, caused by eating the wrong type of food.

“The double burden exists in countries, or indeed in households, where you get a stunted child and an overweight mother. And that happens in many countries around the world as a result of the wrong diets being eaten [by adults] and the wrong diets being given to children,” he said.

“It’s not the fault of the mother, it’s the fault of the food system where the mother cannot afford to buy nutritious food such as dairy, eggs and fruit and is predominantly feeding her child a diet that is rich in calories, such as oil and cereal-based carbohydrates,” Dr Dangour said. “That diet will not be sufficient for the child to grow. It will stop the child from being hungry but it will also stop the child from growing properly,” he said.

Source: World entering era of global food insecurity with malnutrition and obesity side by side within countries, says leading food expert

Ariana Grande Loves America, Hates Obesity, Is Silent on Doughnut-Licking

Singer Ariana Grande has apologized after a video emerged showing her apparently licking doughnuts and saying she hates America.

TMZ released footage of Grande touching random doughnuts with her tongue in a store, then saying she hates America when a store worker brings out a large tray of the treats. In a statement sent to Buzzfeed, the singer apologized for her language writing: “I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American … What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words.”

Grande adds that she is an advocate for healthy eating and that the obesity epidemic in the U.S. bothers her. “The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me. We need to do more to educate ourselves and our children about the dangers of overeating and the poison that we put into our bodies. We need to demand more from our food industry.”

Source: Ariana Grande Loves America, Hates Obesity, Is Silent on Doughnut-Licking | TIME