Obesity is a global epidemic. The global population is expanding in numbers, but also in weight. Rates of obesity worldwide have more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 600 million were obese.
Every country included in the World Health Organization’s data repository experienced an increase in adult obesity rates from 2010 to 2014. None of these nation’s obesity rates stayed the same or declined during this time period. For example, over 42 percent of Qatar’s adult population is obese, nearly 40 percent of adults in Kuwait are obese, 28 percent of adults in England and Northern Ireland are obese, almost 24 percent of France’s adult population are obese and 38 percent of the U.S. population is obese. And the obesity epidemic is not just an adult problem; 42 million children under the age of 5 worldwide were overweight or obese in 2013. And surprisingly, industrialized countries are no longer at the forefront of the global obesity epidemic. Developing countries have more than a 30 percent higher rise in the rate of childhood obesity than high-income countries. In fact, in Africa, the number of overweight and obese children under five has almost doubled from 5.4 million in 1990 to 10.3 million in 2014. These countries are now battling the public health problems of underweight and overweight children simultaneously — with hunger and obesity co-existing, often in the same population groups. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if current obesity trends are not reversed, over 70 million infants and young children will be overweight or obese by 2025.
In developing countries, societal norms regarding food and activity are changing. Instead of eating fresh foods from farms and fish from rivers and oceans, people in developing countries are eating more processed foods imported from Western nations that are full of sugar and saturated fats. As these nations become wealthier, people are using more technology to travel such as cars, buses, and trains which result in less physical activity. Lack of education also plays a major role in rising obesity rates in both developing and industrialized nations. Many people do not know the health damaging consequences of obesity; instead, in some countries obesity is viewed as a sign of being able to provide food for your family. In some Sub-Saharan nations, for example, people may associate thinness with having AIDS, while obesity is associated with being healthy. In other developing nations such as Nigeria and Gambia, some women may associate obesity with wealth and beauty.
Additionally, the rising obesity rates worldwide are leading to a chronic disease tsunami with increasing rates of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some types of cancer. Obesity causes fat to build up in the arteries, narrow vessels, and leads to reduced blood flow to the heart, linked to heart attacks. In 2000, there were 6 million deaths worldwide from ischemic heart disease and by 2012 there were 7.4 million deaths — over a 20 percent increase. The rate of Type 2 diabetes is also significantly increasing and not just in adults, but in children as well. The mortality rate from diabetes worldwide has increased significantly from 1 million deaths in 2000 to 1.5 million deaths in 2012.
Experts believe that diabetes may be the biggest health threat to urban populations — from Houston to Copenhagen to Mexico City to Shanghai and Tianjin. Findings from the world’s largest ever study of urban diabetes — in five cities which together are home to 60 million people — suggest cities must reconsider public health and city planning strategies to address the rise of the condition. Over 400 million people worldwide have diabetes, more than two thirds of whom live in cities. The study revealed that a number of social and cultural factors are putting people at increased diabetes risk as well as affecting the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. These factors include financial, geographical, resource and time constraints while cultural determinants included the perception of body size and health and deep-seated traditions. For example, in Houston, the study revealed that many people link diabetes with lower socioeconomic status when in reality, people of all economic classes are vulnerable to the disease. In Mexico City, gender roles may play a role with women neglecting their own health and thus diabetes may go undiagnosed and untreated in this population group. Although Copenhagen is regarded as one of the healthiest cities in the world, according to the study, the public does not prioritize concerns about the disease, placing greater importance on issues including unemployment, finances, and loneliness. Diabetic patients in Shanghai do not reach out to friends, family or physicians for help because having a disease like this one can be viewed as a personal weakness. In Tianjin, high diabetes rates are linked to poor eating habits, working too much and mental health problems. The wide range of social and cultural factors affecting diabetes rates globally underscores how much work remains to be done to effectively address this major public health problem worldwide.
Obesity in America
Globally, America has one of the highest rates of obesity. The average American is more than 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that obesity rates in American adults had increased from 35 percent in 2011-2012 to 38 percent in 2013-2014. This upward trend is going in the wrong direction.
What is contributing to increasing obesity rates in the United States? While more than 50 genes have been identified that are linked to obesity, our genes have not changed over the past five decades. What has changed dramatically is the American lifestyle. The equation is straightforward: energy in must equal energy out; however, in the United States, the majority of Americans are eating more and exercising less. Food portions served in U.S. restaurants have doubled and some even have tripled over the past 20 years. Unhealthy foods are also less expensive than healthy foods. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a healthy diet costs about $1.50 more a day than an unhealthy diet. For a family of four this can amount to more than $2,000 a year. Furthermore, unhealthy foods are much more readily available. There are as many as 50,000 fast food restaurants in America and children, ages 6 -14 in the United States consume fast food 157,000,000 times each month.
Obesity rates have also dramatically risen for children. Schools play a major role as children consume 50 percent of their daily calories there and unfortunately, unhealthy foods are served in cafeterias and other venues on these campuses. Additionally, in America, children view on average 8,000 television food and beverage commercials annually. Only 165 of them are for healthy foods.
The problem does not end here. People are also expending less energy because of lack of physical activity. Only 1 out 5 American adults gets the recommended amount of physical activity by the Federal government. In the U.S. people work an average of 47 hours each week at sedentary jobs totaling over 350 extra hours sitting at a desk each year as compared to what was a 40-hour workweek in the past. Even if people have time to workout, many communities lack safe areas to participate in physical activity and many schools do not offer exercise programs as well.
But, the problem of obesity is not unique to America — in fact, the United States is no longer the most overweight of industrialized nations. A recent report from WHO reveals that obesity rates are rising in almost every nation worldwide and will likely continue to increase unless effective programs are implemented to tip the scales towards health. Lifestyles are rapidly changing around the world as unhealthy food options become more accessible with more than 500,000 fast food establishments globally and as use of technology such as cars and computers results in a more sedentary way of life.
Tipping the Scales: A Roadmap to Reverse Global Obesity
Clearly, obesity is a major public health threat in countries around the world but with the right policies and strategies in place, the alarming statistics about the growing epidemic can change. For these reasons, the United Nations convened its first global summit on non-communicable diseases in 2011. Recommendations from this meeting included a list of “best buys,” which are cost-effective and feasible interventions that can be implemented to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in countries around the world. To address unhealthy diets and physical inactivity linked to NCDs, the WHO recommended that countries implement policies to reduce salt intake, replace trans fats with polyunsaturated fats, and promote public awareness about healthy diets and the importance of physical activity.
Many nations have taken steps to reverse obesity within a generation. President Obama established a White House Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force in 2010 that produced an action plan to reverse this public health problem. As part of this plan, the President signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that included healthier standards for school meals. First Lady Michelle Obama established the Let’s Move Campaign to promote healthy diets and physical activity for kids. Mexico’s Congress passed a tax on soft drinks and high-caloric foods and the Health Ministry in Ecuador established regulations for labeling processed foods. Most countries have developed and implemented national plans to combat obesity as follow-up to the WHO’s recommendations to involve all sectors of society in the response. Several countries, such as Hungary, Finland, Norway, and France, to name a few, have implemented policies to prevent obesity rather than just treat it by taxing sugary foods and drinks. Interestingly, these countries have lower obesity rates than other nations with rates ranging from 20 percent to 24 percent.
The UN Summit on NCD’s represented a turning point in addressing the obesity epidemic worldwide. It highlighted the health and economic impact of the four most prevalent and preventable non-communicable diseases: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and chronic lung disease. Prior to the Summit, non-communicable diseases had been omitted from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) despite representing 68 percent of deaths worldwide and 80 percent of all chronic disease deaths occur in low and middle income countries. This public health oversight was addressed in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals released in 2015 with objectives aimed at “reduc[ing] by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promot[ing] mental health and well-being.”
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The obesity epidemic may be responsible for a spike in cancer cases — especially in women.
The Lancet Oncology
You know that excess weight is hard on your heart, and that obesity and Type 2 diabetes go hand in hand. Now, a new study in The Lancet Oncology adds cancer to the growing list of problems we can blame on our ballooning waistlines.
For the study, researchers gathered body mass index (BMI) data from 2002 for thousands of people in 184 countries. They then examined cancer rates in 2012, focusing on those previously linked to obesity (called high-BMI-related cancers), such as colon, kidney, pancreatic, and postmenopausal breast cancers. Since obesity isn’t thought to directly cause the Big C — only to promote it — the scientists assumed that there’d be a 10-year lag time between being diagnosed with obesity and developing cancer.
Their frightening finding: 3.6 percent of new cancer cases in 2012 (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) could be attributed to obesity. That translates to about half a million new diagnoses worldwide — and that’s in just a one-year period.
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“Family meals may be protective against obesity or overweight because coming together for meals may provide opportunities for emotional connections among family members, the food is more likely to be healthful, and adolescents may be exposed to parental modeling of healthful eating behaviors. As noted by Dr. Berge, “Informing parents that even having 1 or 2 family meals per week may protect their child from overweight or obesity in young adulthood would be important.” Using this information, public health and health care professionals who work with adolescents can give parents another tool in the fight against obesity.”
Increasing rates of adolescent obesity and the likelihood that obesity will carry forward into adulthood, have led to various preventive initiatives. It has been suggested that family meals, which tend to include fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains, could be protective against obesity. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied whether frequent family meals during adolescence were protective for overweight and obesity in adulthood.
Jerica M. Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, and colleagues from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University used data from a 10-year longitudinal study (2,287 subjects), Project EAT (Eating and Activity among Teens), to examine weight-related variables (e.g., dietary intake, physical activity, weight control behaviors) among adolescents. Questions were asked to assess family meal frequency and body mass index. According to Dr. Berge, “It is important to identify modifiable factors in the home environment, such as family meals, that can protect against overweight/obesity through the transition to adulthood.”
Fifty-one percent of the subjects were overweight and 22% were obese. Among adolescents who reported that they never ate family meals together, 60% were overweight and 29% were obese at the 10-year follow-up. Overall, all levels of baseline family meal frequency, even having as few as 1-2 family meals a week during adolescence, were significantly associated with reduced odds of overweight or obesity at the 10-year follow-up compared with those reporting never having had family meals during adolescence. Results also showed a stronger protective effect of family meal frequency on obesity among black young adults compared with white young adults. However, the limited significant interactions overall by race/ethnicity suggest that the protective influence of family meals for adolescents spans all races/ethnicities.
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They reported that remission of food addiction in 13 of the 14 subjects (93%) and no new cases were identified after surgery
Bariatric surgery-induced weight loss induces remission of food addiction and improves several eating behaviours that are associated with the condition in extreme obesity, according to the study published in the journal Obesity.
Although, bariatric surgery is believed to be one most effective available weight loss therapy for obesity and impacts on patients desire to eat, it is not known whether it can affect food addiction in patients who meet diagnostic criteria for the condition before surgery.
Therefore, researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition and Atkins Center of Excellence in Obesity Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, assessed whether weight loss induced gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy induced remission of food addiction, as well as normalising eating behaviours associated with the condition.
They recruited 44 obese patients (39 women, mean BMI48 ± 8) before and after bariatric surgery (after they lost ∼20% of their body weight). Twenty five patients had gastric bypass, 11 gastric banding and eight sleeve gastrectomy).
Food addiction was identified in 14 of 44 subjects (32%) before surgery, with no significant differences in factors that could affect the condition such as age, race, level of formal education, and income level.
They reported that remission of food addiction in 13 of the 14 subjects (93%) and no new cases were identified after surgery. The prevalence of food addiction in this study population decreased from 32% to 2% (p< 0.00001) and reduced the median number of symptoms in all subjects (p< 0.0001).
Surgery was found to decrease food cravings in both groups, but the decrease was greater in patients addicted to food. Unsurprisingly, the addicted patients craved foods more frequently before, but not after surgery. Interestingly, surgery decreased cravings for all types of foods but cravings for starchy foods were still more frequent in in the food addicted group (p=0.009).
“Our findings demonstrate that weight loss can induce remission of food addiction, even though subjects are still obese,” the authors write. “These data suggest that obesity itself does not cause food addiction, but that food addiction is a contributing, but modifiable, risk factor for obesity. Additional studies are needed to determine the mechanism(s) responsible for food addiction remission, and to determine whether the presence of food addiction influences the weight loss efficacy of bariatric surgery.”
This article was originally published by BariatricNews
More than 12,000 new cases of cancer every year can be attributed to the patient being overweight or obese, the biggest ever study of the links between body mass index and cancer has revealed.
Overweight and obesity was closely linked to 10 common cancers, researchers said. Every five-point increase in BMI – equivalent to an increase in weight of around 17.5kg – was associated with a 62 per cent higher risk of cancer of the uterus, a 31 per cent increased risk of gallbladder cancer and a 25 per cent increased risk of cancer of the kidney.
Having a higher BMI was also linked with a greater overall risk of liver, colon, ovarian and breast cancer, the study by experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Farr Institute found.
While it has been known for some time that higher weight increases the chances of contracting certain cancers, risk levels have never been determined in such detail before. The study, which is published in The Lancet medical journal today, analysed the GP records of more than five million patients in the UK.
The researchers estimated that, if current trends in overweight and obesity rates continue, then by the mid 2020s there could be more than 3,500 additional cases of cancer every year.
“The number of people who are overweight or obese is rapidly increasing both in the UK and worldwide,” said study leader Dr Krishnan Bhaskaran, of LSHTM. “It is well recognised that this is likely to cause more diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our results show that if these trends continue, we can also expect to see substantially more cancers as a result.”
Excess weight may account for as many as 41 per cent of uterine cancer cases, and 10 per cent of cancers of the gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon.
The study also found some evidence that, for prostate cancer and for breast cancer in young women, a higher BMI actually reduced the risk.
Precisely how fat could impact upon cancer risk is not fully understood. Dr Bhaskaran said that the variation in its impact across different forms of cancer said it must be affecting risk “through a number of different processes, depending on the cancer type”.
Tom Stansfeld, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “This study of over five million people has found new and stronger links between obesity and several different cancer types, highlighting the number of cancers that obesity causes in the UK.
“Although the relationship between cancer and obesity is complex, it’s clear that carrying excess weight increases your risk of developing cancer. Keeping a healthy weight reduces cancer risk, and the best way to do this is through eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly.”
This information was originally published by The Independent UK which includes an informational video on the site.
Study found older sibling’s obesity was strongest predictor for risk
Obesity is known to run in families, but new research suggests this relationship may be the strongest among siblings.
Although older children in a two-child home with an obese parent are more than twice as likely to be obese, having an obese older sibling may raise the risk more than fivefold for a younger child, whether the parents are obese or not, the researchers reported.
“Siblings have a lot of influence,” said lead researcher Matthew Harding, an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
“Children often model their behavior on that of their older siblings. Older siblings can have a strong influence on the attitudes and behaviors of younger siblings in relation to nutrition and exercise,” Harding noted.
Although parents play a big role in determining their children’s health, siblings may play an even greater role, he added.
For example, if the siblings are of the same sex, a boy with an obese older brother is 11 times more likely to be obese, Harding said.
“We need to recognize that children form strong bonds with their siblings, and when designing prevention or treatment of conditions such as obesity, we need to think carefully about the ties between siblings,” he said.
While the findings pointed to an association between obesity risk and siblings, they did not prove a cause-and-effect link between the two.
The report was published online July 8 and will appear in the October print issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, was not involved with study but is familiar with the findings. He said, “My reaction to this study is partly as an obesity expert, but largely as a parent. My wife and I have five children, so I have firsthand knowledge of sibling interaction.”
Families share behaviors, values and dietary patterns, he said. “To some extent, this is a study showing that kids exposed to a set of familial patterns and priorities that protect against obesity will be less vulnerable and, of course, vice versa,” he added.
It’s also likely that siblings directly influence one another with regard to diet and activities. “Every parent of more than one child has seen this,” Katz said.
For the study, Harding’s team collected data on over 10,000 American households and found that childhood obesity risk varies with the number of children and their sex.
Specifically, the researchers found that in a single-child home where a parent is obese, the child is 2.2 times more likely to be obese. In families with two children, however, they found an even stronger link between siblings.
The study also found a link between gender and obesity risk. In homes with one child, girls were less likely to be obese than boys.
In homes with two children, Harding’s group found that younger kids are influenced by older siblings, especially if they’re same gender.
The youngest boy in a two-child home is 11.4 times more likely to be obese if the older brother is, they noted. If the older child is a girl, the boy is 6.6 times more likely to be obese.
If the youngest child is a girl, she is 8.6 times more likely to be obese if she has an obese older sister. But if she has an obese older brother she is not significantly more likely to be obese, the researchers found.
Exercise and how much the kids eat both play a key role in the prevention of obesity. Harding’s team found that an only child was less likely to be physically active and more likely to eat fast food than those who had brothers and sisters.
This information was originally published by Consumer Healthday
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Doctors say extra fat, and the extra estrogen it produces, make menopause tougher for heavy women
THURSDAY, July 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Slimming down may help ease the hot flashes that often accompany menopause, new research suggests.
Hot flashes can be debilitating for more than 50 percent of menopausal women, said Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. About one-third of menopausal women experience more than 10 hot flashes a day, and she added that hot flashes are more common in obese women.
“Fat appears to function as an insulator, and interferes with heat dissipation,” explained Shirazian, who was not involved in the study.
Another expert, Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief of ambulatory care and women’s health programs at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said estrogen can also be produced in fat tissue.
Rabin said she has found that obese and overweight women have, in general, more severe and more frequent hot flash symptoms.
“They have a harder time with the menopausal transition,” she said. “It may be the extra fat that makes heat dissipation more difficult.”
Overweight and obese women may also yo-yo diet, which could mean they have fluctuating estrogen levels, and that could make it harder for their bodies to regulate their internal temperatures, Rabin added.
In the new study, published online recently in the journal Menopause, Rebecca Thurston of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues followed 40 overweight and obese white and black women who experienced hot flashes during menopause. They divided the women into two groups: One group went through a weight-loss program for six months, while the other group (the “control” group) was told they were on a wait-list for a clinical study.
Using physiologic monitoring, diaries and questionnaires, the investigators measured details about hot flashes as they occurred in women who had four or more hot flashes a day. The women were either in the later stages of perimenopause (not having menstrual periods for three months to a year) or postmenopausal (not having a period for a year or more).
The researchers found that three-quarters of the women said easing hot flashes was a huge motivator to shed pounds. The women in the weight-loss program group lost, on average, 10.7 percent of their weight and 4.7 percent of their body fat throughout the study period. There was almost no change in either weight or body fat among the women in the control group. Of the 33 women who completed the study, those in the weight-loss group had a greater reduction in hot flash incidents.
The researchers noted that the findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.
Dr. Robert Taylor, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said he found it interesting that the women who saw the most significant reduction in symptoms were closest to their final menstrual period, while those further along in menopause saw a less pronounced effect.
During perimenopause, a woman’s ovaries still produce estradiol, a potent form of estrogen that can ease hot flashes, he explained. Estrone, another type of estrogen that comes from fat, actually counteracts estradiol’s effects.
“With weight loss, production of estrone decreases, so circulating estradiol is more effective,” Taylor said, and this is why overweight women may have more severe symptoms than women who are thinner.
This information was originally published by Consumer Healthday
Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.
In recent years, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, has been the focus of a great deal of exercise science and most exercise recommendations. The government’s formal 2008 exercise guidelines, for instance, suggest that people should engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Almost as an afterthought, the recommendations point out that half as much, or about 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, should be equally beneficial.
But the science to support that number had been relatively paltry, with few substantial studies having carefully tracked how much vigorous exercise is needed to reduce disease risk and increase lifespan. Even fewer studies had looked at how small an amount of vigorous exercise might achieve that same result.
So for the new study, published Monday in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Iowa State University, the University of South Carolina, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and other institutions turned to a huge database maintained at the Cooper Clinic and Cooper Institute in Dallas.
For decades, researchers there have been collecting information about the health of tens of thousands of men and women visiting the clinic for a check-up. These adults, after completing extensive medical and fitness examinations, have filled out questionnaires about their exercise habits, including whether, how often and how speedily they ran.
From this database, the researchers chose the records of 55,137 healthy men and women ages 18 to 100 who had visited the clinic at least 15 years before the start of the study. Of this group, 24 percent identified themselves as runners, although their typical mileage and pace varied widely.
The researchers then checked death records for these adults. In the intervening 15 or so years, almost 3,500 had died, many from heart disease.
But the runners were much less susceptible than the nonrunners. The runners’ risk of dying from any cause was 30 percent lower than that for the nonrunners, and their risk of dying from heart disease was 45 percent lower than for nonrunners, even when the researchers adjusted for being overweight or for smoking (although not many of the runners smoked). And even overweight smokers who ran were less likely to die prematurely than people who did not run, whatever their weight or smoking habits.
As a group, runners gained about three extra years of life compared with those adults who never ran.
Remarkably, these benefits were about the same no matter how much or little people ran. Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.
“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, a professor at the Pennington Institute who holds the John S. McIlHenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom and co-authored the study. “We’re not talking about training for a marathon,” he said, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. “Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running,” he said, “no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.”
The study did not directly examine how and why running affected the risk of premature death, he said, or whether running was the only exercise that provided such benefits. The researchers did find that in general, runners had less risk of dying than people who engaged in more moderate activities such as walking.
But “there’s not necessarily something magical about running, per se,” Dr. Church said. Instead, it’s likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity, he said, adding, “Running just happens to be the most convenient way for most people to exercise intensely.”
Anyone who has never run in the past or has health issues should, of course, consult a doctor before starting a running program, Dr. Church said. And if, after trying for a solid five minutes, you’re just not enjoying running, switch activities, he added. Jump rope. Vigorously pedal a stationary bike. Or choose any other strenuous activity. Five minutes of taxing effort might add years to your life.
This information was originally published in the New York Times
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Approximately two out of every five Americans will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their adult lives, according to new U.S. government estimates.
The ongoing diabetes and obesity epidemics have combined with ever-increasing human lifespans to increase lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes to about 40 percent for both men and women, said lead study author Edward Gregg, chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We weren’t necessarily surprised that it increased, but we didn’t expect it to increase this much,” Gregg said. “Forty percent is a humbling number.”
The odds are even worse for certain minority groups. Half of black women and Hispanic men and women are predicted to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, the researchers reported.
Results of the study were published online Aug. 13 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Although the study didn’t separate diabetes by type, the vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is resistant to the effects of insulin, a hormone needed to use the sugars from foods to fuel the cells in the body and brain.
Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but it’s not the only one. Genes also appear to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
In the current study, researchers evaluated medical information and death certificates for about 600,000 adults between 1985 and 2011, to estimate trends in lifetime risk of diabetes as well as years of life lost to diabetes.
During the quarter-century studied, lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes increased for the average 20-year-old American man, jumping from nearly 21 percent in the late 1980s to just over 40 percent in 2011.
For an average 20-year-old woman, the risk increased from 27 percent in the 1980s to almost 40 percent, the investigators found.
The “diabesity” epidemic is the main driver of these increased risks, said Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Doctors have coined the term “diabesity” to reflect the combined effects of the diabetes and obesity epidemics. “They go hand-in hand,” she said.
People also are living longer, which makes them more likely to develop diabetes at some point during their lives given the lack of exercise and eating habits of the average American, Gregg and Sood said.
Not all the news from the study was bad — the researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes are living longer than in the past. The CDC researchers estimated that the number of years lost to a diabetes patient diagnosed at age 40 decreased from nearly 8 years in the 1990s to about 6 years in the 2000s for men, and from almost 9 years to just under 7 years for women.
People with type 2 diabetes are living longer due to better medications and treatments for both the disease and its complications, which range from loss of vision and nerve damage to kidney failure and heart disease, Gregg said.
“Even after people develop complications of diabetes that used to increase risk of death, there are so many ways to keep people alive longer these days,” he said.
The impact on society will be immense as more Americans end up living longer with diabetes, Sood predicts.
“It’s rending people incapable of enjoying a good quality of life. It’s raising health care costs at an alarming rate. And frankly, there aren’t enough health care professionals to deal with what’s coming down the pike,” Sood said. “We’re looking at clogging up a health care system that’s already stretched to its limits.”
But Gregg suggested that this gloomy picture can change with effective efforts to combat obesity and diabetes. “If prevention efforts take hold, then the equation for lifetime risk will change pretty quickly,” he said.
But quick-fix solutions such as weight-loss surgery won’t cut it, he added.
“The thing that’s going to have the biggest effect is if people with multiple risk factors can make sustained changes in their lifestyles,” Gregg said. “Weight-loss surgery is an option for some and it is highly effective, but that’s not going to be the solution for the large number of people at risk for diabetes.”
Doctors, public health officials and other health care advocates need to figure out better ways to guide busy Americans to a healthier way of living, Sood said. That includes taking time to exercise nearly every day, eat right, and get good sleep.
This article was originally publshed by Us Health News
Amanda Tyacke is finally pregnant, something she never thought she’d be.
“We had been told it probably would never happen,” she said.
Amanda hasn’t always been healthy. Most of her life she was severely overweight, weighing more than 300 pounds. She had fertility issues and was told losing weight may help her, so she took action.
“I made the big decision of doing bariatric surgery, at the time in hopes of getting pregnant,” she said.
About six years ago Amanda had a gastric band placed around the upper part of her stomach so that she would feel full with less food. She lost 100 pounds, then last may she switched to a gastric bypass, and lost another 45 pounds.
She had given up on having a baby when something shocking happened. During an ultrasound checking for a hernia, she was told she was pregnant.
“I’m like no I’m not, I said I can’t, I can’t get pregnant.” But it was true.
Amanda and her husband are thrilled and believe her weight loss is what did the trick.
Amanda’s bariatric surgeon, who is also her boss, says she is not alone. Dr. Michael Snyder says there are 19 patients in his practice right now who had bariatric surgery and are now pregnant.
“Clearly we don’t encourage this as a way to get pregnant, but some of our biggest referral sources are fertility doctors,” said Dr. Snyder.
Dr. Susan Trout is one of those doctors. She says many times larger women don’t ovulate and have a hard time getting pregnant. Some even develop polycystic ovarian syndrome.
“If you can reverse that and get them to thin down and get rid of some of the body fat, it often times reverses infertility too,” Dr. Trout said.
But can a woman who is eating less due to bariatric surgery support a growing fetus?
“It’s definitely manageable,” Dr. Trout said.
It’s been manageable for Amanda. Doctors will follow her closely. But now she has to mentally adjust to gaining weight, instead of losing it.
This article was originally published by Fox
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