Archive for October, 2015

Does Breastfeeding Increase Infant Weight?

October 31st, 2015

According to a new article by Michael Goran and colleagues it depends on which components of breast milk, (sugary complex carbohydrates called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are present. 25 mother-infant dyads were studied at one and six months of age. Goran is quoted in the Irish Times saying, “But typically we think of obesity risk kicking in after weaning, the timing of introduction to solid foods, early exposures to sugary beverages. Clearly there is something going on before weaning even in babies who are exclusively breast-fed.”

Two HMOs, LNFPII and DSLNT, were each associated with about an extra pound of fat mass at 6 months. Another, LNFPI,  seemed to be protective, linked to a pound less of fat at six months.


Does low improvement in life expectancy reflect obesity’s impact?

October 28th, 2015

Do slowing improvements in life expectancy reflect the obesity epidemic? That is the question raised by a new study published in JAMA by researchers from the American Cancer Society. Analyzing mortality data from 1969 to 2013, the researchers found that the rate of decreases in the death rates for obesity-related diseases, e.g. heart disease, stroke and diabetes, may reflect the consequences of the rising rates of obesity. Alternative theories include a natural ceiling on life expectancy and medical  advances, such as statins, have taken effect on mortality rates.


CDC Spins Breastfeeding-Obesity Link

October 27th, 2015

CDC is continuing to perpetuate the old canard that breastfeeding is protective against childhood obesity. In the recently released publication, Vital Signs: Improvements in Maternity Care Policies and Practices that Support Breastfeeding-United States, 2007-2013,  the CDC states “In addition, evidence suggests that breastfeeding is associated with a reduction in the risk for obesity and diabetes in children (3).”

The reference is a 2007 evidence report on CDC’s sister agency, the Agency for Healthcare Research and  Quality website. However, unlike several other citations, there is no link to the paper. Why? Perhaps because AHRQ identifies the paper as “Archived” and states, “It (the paper) was current when produced and now may be out of date.” Here’s the link:

Maybe out of date? No fooling! See here, here and here for updated research which CDC decided to overlook.


Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Glucose Screening for Overweight and Obese adults

October 27th, 2015

The US Preventative Services Task Force has recommended at all adults, age 40-70, who are overweight or obese be screened for abnormal glucose levels. The Task Force recommended behavioral counseling for adults with high glucose levels. For full information, see the USPSTF site here.


The Putative 104 Causes of Obesity Update

October 22nd, 2015

What causes obesity? The question has profound implications for individuals and policy makers. So, it is natural to turn to research published in peer-reviewed journals to find the answer. So, we have updated the list of “putative” causes first published on February 28, 2013 and  updated on September 1, 2013. We have moved from 82 putative causes to 104.

The number of putative causes raises several questions. First, is there some problem with the research methodology that so many and diverse potential causes are identified? Second, are a number of named putative causes symptoms or manifestations of underlying, deeper causes? And what are those? Third, to what extent are identified putative causes reflections of local, regional, ethnic or cultural factors. Finally, many of these studies point out that the “energy-in-energy-out” formulation for the cause of obesity which most of the public and health professionals believe to be the cause.

New items on the list include too much homework, insufficient body heat, imagining the smell of food, components of dust, living with grandparents, thermogenic adipocytes, estrogens and starting college.

Here’s the most current list. If I am missing any, please let me know. (The links are not meant to be definitive or best study but merely a demonstration of the interest in the particular cause.)

1. agricultural policies

2. air conditioning,

3. air pollution,

4. antibiotic usage at early age,

5. arcea nut chewing,

6. artificial sweeteners,

7.  Asian tiger mosquitos,

8. assortative mating,

9. being a single mother,

10. birth by C-section,

11. built environment,

12. celebrity chefs,

13. chemical toxins, (endocrine disruptors)

14. child maltreatment,

15. compulsive buying,

16. competitive food sales in schools,

17. consuming skim milk in preschool children,

18. consumption of pastries and chocolate (in Burkina Faso),

19. decline in occupational physical activity,

20. delayed prenatal care,

21. delayed satiety,

22. depression

23. driving children to school

24. eating away from home

25. economic development (nutrition transition)

26. entering into a romantic relationship,

27. epigenetic factors,

28. eradication of Helicobacter pylori,

29. family conflict,

30. family divorce,

31. first-born in family,

32. food addiction,

33. food deserts,

34. food insecurity,

35. food marketing to  children,

36. food overproduction,

37. friends,

38. genetics,

39. gestational diabetes,

40. global food system,(international trade policies)

41. grilled foods,

42. gut microbioata,

43. having children, for women,

44.  heavy alcohol consumption,

45.  home labor saving devices,

46. hormones (insulin,glucagon,ghrelin),

47. hunger-response to food cues,

48. high fructose corn syrup,

49. interpersonal violence,

50. lack of family meals,

51. lack of nutritional education,

52. lack of self-control,

53. large portion sizes,

54.  living in crime-prone areas,

55. low educational levels for women,

56. low levels of physical activity,

57. low Vitamin D levels,

58.  low socioeconomic status,

59. market economy,

60. marrying in later life

61. maternal employment,

62. maternal obesity,

63. maternal over-nutrition during pregnancy,

64. maternal smoking,

65. meat consumption,

66. menopause,

67. mental disabilities,

68. no or short term breastfeeding,

69. non-parental childcare

70. outdoor advertising,

71. overeating,

72. participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program)

73. perceived weight discrimination,

74. perception of neighborhood safety,

75. physical disabilities,

76. prenatal  maternal exposure to natural disasters,

77. poor emotional coping

78. sleep deficits,

79. skipping breakfast,

80. snacking,

81. smoking cessation,

82. spanking children,

83. stair design

84. stress, artificial lighting, air conditioning,

85.  sugar-sweetened beverages,

86. taste for fat

87.  trans fats,

88. transportation by car,

89. television set in bedrooms

90. television viewing,

91. thyroid dysfunction

92. vending machines,

93. virus,

94. weight gain inducing drugs,

95. working long hours,

96. NEW too much homework,

97. NEW insufficient body heat,

98. NEW imagining the smell of food,

99. NEW dust components,

100. NEW living with grandparents in China,

101. NEW estrogens,

102. NEW thermogenic adipocytes,

103. NEW prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke,

104. NEW starting college.


Obesity Stigma Among Dieticians and Nutritionists

October 21st, 2015

A systematic review of obesity stigma among dieticians and nutritionists has been published. Six of eight studies showed significant levels of stigmatization although less than among the general population. The results showed dieticians and nutritionists believed in a high level of “internal” factors (read willpower) than genetics or biology.


Overselling Breastfeeding

October 21st, 2015

Courtney Jung has an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, “Overselling Breastfeeding.” The writer points out that the goals for the duration of breastfeeding are more accessible to upper and middle-class white women than other mothers. Furthermore, she decries the drift from making breastfeeding a choice for mothers to make to policy decisions which penalize non-breastfeeding mothers. She writes, “Demographic differences in breastfeeding rates also justify government interventions that punish poor women who do not breastfeed. This isn’t just the little unobtrusive little “nudge” in the right direction, designed to compel people to make better decisions. It’s more like a shove, with a kick for good measure.”

Jung notes that arguments that breastfeeding prevents childhood obesity have been largely disproved. See our analysis on this point.


Did White House Spin CDC study to show progress in childhood obesity?

October 20th, 2015

The Daily Caller reports receiving emails under the Freedom of Information Act purporting to show White House influence to spin CDC prevalence figures to support Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. This does not come as a big surprise. We have been reporting here on the over-optimistic predictions of the end of the obesity epidemic. See here, here, here, herehere and here.