Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Fighting Obesity

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center is the most comprehensive of its kind in the southeastern United States. Below is a UF&Shands news release about amazing research that may lead to surprising advances in the ongoing battle against obesity:

University of Florida researchers and colleagues have identified a protein that, when absent, helps the body burn fat and prevents insulin resistance and obesity. The findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study were published Nature Medicine.

The discovery could aid development of drugs that not only prevent obesity, but also spur weight loss in people who are already overweight, said
Stephen Hsu, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study’s corresponding authors and a principal investigator with the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Institute.

One-third of adults and about 17 percent of children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although unrelated studies have shown that lifestyle changes such as choosing healthy food over junk food and increasing exercise can help reduce obesity, people are often unable to maintain these changes over time, Hsu said.

“The problem is when these studies end and the people go off the protocols, they almost always return to old habits and end up eating the same processed foods they did before and gain back the weight they lost during the study,” he said. Developing drugs that target the protein, called TRIP-Br2, and mimic its absence may allow for the prevention of obesity without relying solely on lifestyle modifications, Hsu said.

First identified by Hsu, TRIP-Br2 helps regulate how fat is stored in and released from cells. To understand its role, the researchers compared mice that lacked the gene responsible for production of the protein, with normal mice that had the gene.

They quickly discovered that mice missing the TRIP-Br2 gene did not gain weight no matter what they ate — even when placed on a high-fat diet — and were otherwise normal and healthy. On the other hand, the mice that still made TRIP-Br2 gained weight and developed associated problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol when placed on a high-fat diet. The normal and fat-resistant mice ate the same amount of food, ruling out differences in food intake as a reason why the mice lacking TRIP-Br2 were leaner.

“We had to explain why the animals eating so much fat were remaining lean and not getting high cholesterol. Where was this fat going” Hsu said. “It turns out this protein is a master regulator. It coordinates expression of a lot of genes and controls the release of the fuel form of fat and how it is metabolized.”

When functioning normally, TRIP-Br2 restricts the amount of fat that cells burn as energy. But when TRIP-Br2 is absent, a fat-burning fury seems to occur in fat cells. Although other proteins have been linked to the storage and release of fat in cells, TRIP-Br2 is unique in that it regulates how cells burn fat in a few different ways, Hsu said. When TRIP-Br2 is absent, fat cells dramatically increase the release of free fatty acids and also burn fat to produce the molecular fuel called ATP that powers mitochondria — the cell’s energy source. In addition, cells free from the influence of TRIP-Br2 start using free fatty acids to generate thermal energy, which protects the body from exposure to cold.

“TRIP-Br2 is important for the accumulation of fat,” said Rohit N. Kulkarni, M.D., Ph.D., also a senior author of the paper and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center. “When an animal lacks TRIP-Br2, it can’t accumulate fat.”

Because the studies were done mostly in mice, additional studies are still needed to see if the findings translate to humans.

“We are very optimistic about the translational promise of our findings because we showed that only human subjects who had the kind of fat (visceral) that becomes insulin-resistant also had high protein levels of TRIP-Br2,” Hsu said.

“Imagine you are able to develop drugs that pharmacologically mimic the complete absence of TRIP-Br2,” Hsu said. “If a patient started off fat, he or she would burn the weight off. If people are at risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, it would help keep them lean regardless of how much fat they ate. That is the ideal anti-obesity drug, one that prevents obesity and helps people burn off excess weight.”

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Lean Forward

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends looking for certain words on meat labels in order to purchase leaner cuts. Good-bet words include:

  • Round,
  • Loin, and
  • 95 percent lean.

The academy also advises trimming off visible pieces of fat prior to cooking and then using cooking methods that minimize fat. These include:

  • Braising,
  • Stewing,
  • Stir-frying, and
  • Grilling.
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More on Obesity

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Despite the very best of intentions, a New Year’s resolution to lose body fat may be more difficult for some people to fulfill than for others. New brain scan research indicates that in obese persons, neural activity in the brain may encourage over-eating. Writing in a recent issue of Science News, Janet Raloff explained the problem:

After a hungry person eats a meal, blood sugar glucose levels return to normal. In people of normal weight, this causes the shut-down of a neural system that promotes positive feelings toward food. It is the brain’s way of acknowledging satiation and signaling that the need for calories has been met. At that point, normal-weight persons stop eating.

But in obese persons, the system may not turn off following a meal. No matter how much they have just eaten, it still lights up at the sight of rich, high-calorie fare. This can occur even though blood sugar glucose levels have returned to normal. It may contribute to the persistence of obesity in some individuals who have tried and failed repeatedly to lose body fat.

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Inactivity and Diverticular Disease

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

In diverticular disease, bulging pouches develop in the lining of the large intestine. The condition is fairly prevalent in older adults and is often treated by increasing a patient’s consumption of dietary fiber. Now Swedish researchers, reporting in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, have found that obese, physically inactive subjects are at a higher risk for hospitalization due to diverticular disease.

Like many scientific studies, the Swedish analysis of health-survey data (which was collected over the course of 10-plus years from 40,000 female participants) does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. In this case, that means that a cause-and-effect association has not been established between being heavy or sedentary and developing diverticular disease. However, the paper’s lead author suggests that exercising and losing weight may help to prevent the symptoms.

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Boomers

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, represent a huge demographic bulge in the American population. It is a generation that has been provided with — some might say bombarded with — extensive health and fitness information. And yet when we take a careful look at its characteristics, we find widespread obesity.

A recent survey shows that boomers are more obese than the members of either the generation preceding or following them. Whereas about one-fourth of both younger and older Americans are obese, about one-third of boomers are, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll. While not classified as obese, another 36 percent of boomers are overweight.

Concern arises because overweight and obesity can cause unhealthy senior years, increasing the risk for arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. With America’s 77 million baby boomers now beginning to turn 65, Medicare costs could be badly affected.

However, there is still some cause for cautious optimism. Most boomers report performing a little aerobic exercise at least once a week. They just aren’t doing nearly enough. Meanwhile, 37 percent do no strength training at all. Approximately 60 percent report that they are on weight-loss diets. Many say they are cutting down on dietary cholesterol and salt, and increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables.

As a group, boomers need to find and follow the proper combination of good nutrition and effective exercise. Senior fitness professionals, your work is cut out for you!

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A study found that Americans walk an average of 5,117 steps per day, much less than residents of countries with lower obesity rates

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Researchers at the University of Tennessee “used pedometers to gather step data from 1,136 American adults … and compared the results to similar studies in the other countries.” Americans, who report an obesity rate of 34%, averaged 5,117 steps per day. Western Australians (16% obesity rate) averaged 9,695 steps, Japanese (3% obesity rate) averaged 7,168 steps and Swiss (8% obesity rate) averaged 9,650 steps. Please click below for a report from Reuters.

 

 

 

 

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Here’s yet another good reason to exercise, especially for overweight individuals

Friday, September 10th, 2010

A Brazilian study has shown that, in addition to the obvious energy expenditure that can initiate weight loss, it appears that “exercise restores the sensitivity of neurons involved in the control of satiety (feeling full), which in turn contributes to reduced food intake and consequently weight loss.” Click Here to view the study or below for a brief report from EurekAlert.

 

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Short term overeating can lead to long term body fat

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

As little as one month of overeating combined with inactivity can have lasting adverse effects. A small Swedish study showed that participants who followed an increased calorie diet and restricted activity (5000 or less steps per day), had increased body fat two years later. Please click below for a report from Medscape.

 

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Obesity and Colon Cancer

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Although researchers have long agreed that obesity is a risk factor for developing colon cancer, its effects on colon cancer survival are less well-understood. However, a recent study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research sheds new light on the subject.

The investigation, which was conducted over an eight-year period, involved more than 4,000 patients with colon cancer. While it did not prove a direct cause-and-effect link between obesity and long-term survival, it did suggest a relationship — especially in men.

Of the normal-weight men who entered the study, 53 percent were still alive after eight years. Of the severely-obese men who entered the study, 42 percent were still alive after eight years. They were 35 percent more likely to die during the study than were men of normal weight.

Whether and how obesity influences colon cancer prognosis, as well as greater clarity regarding its effects on female colon cancer patients specifically, will require further study. Meanwhile, researchers advise colon cancer patients to aim for a body mass index (BMI, a measure of body weight in relation to height) of under 30.

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