Another cause?

August 22nd, 2012 No comments »

Another putative cause of obesity was just published…the use of antibiotics in children. How many does that make? PubMed: Antibiotic use in children and obesity


What’s the Cause of Obesity?

August 22nd, 2012 No comments »

A new study indicates that grilled foods may contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes. OK. I’m sure it’s a good piece of research. See Medical Daily: Grilled Foods Obesity Diabetes.  I intend to add it to my list of putative causes of obesity. How many causes can you name?

Here’s my list (so far): high fat diets, trans fats, large portion sizes, sugar-sweetened beverages, food insecurity, low socioeconomic status, high fructose corn syrup, television viewing, low levels of physical activity, maternal obesity, gestational diabetes, vending machines, competitive food sales in schools, food deserts, intrauterine influences, eating away from home, costs of eating healthy foods, endocrine disruptors, sleep deficits, assortative mating, air conditioning, air pollution, weight gain inducing drugs, living in the suburbs, international trade policies, decline in occupational physical activity, maternal smoking, no or short term breastfeeding, food marketing to  children, high-capacity beverage containers, child maltreatment, driving children to school, transportation policies, farm subsidies, food overproduction, respiratory problems, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, stress, lack of self-control, low parental education, your friends, gut microbial, a virus, television in the bedroom, home labor saving devices, skipping breakfast, snacking, lack of family meals, maternal employment, irregular working hours of mother or father or both,  having tonsils removed, ambient light at night, pre-natal exposure to natural disasters, pureed fed babies, meat-fat diets, high consumption of seaweed (in S. Korea), menopause, the market economy, economic development, depression, being a female prisoner in the United States, being born by C-section, poor emotional coping, arcea nut chewing, living with a single mother, delayed prenatal care, thyroid dysfunction, family conflict, consumption of pastries and chocolate (in Burkina Faso), and inflammation.

In India, compared to normal weight persons, obese individuals consumed more phlkas, chapatis/parathas/naan, plain dosa,mutton/chicken pulao/biryani, chicken fried and grilled, rasam , mixed vegetable sagu, vegetable raitha, honey, beetroot and bottlegourd. Consumption of plain milk was higher among normal weight than obese individuals. PubMed: Differences in consumption of food items.

To be fair, the researchers almost always note that these are observational studies, showing an association which is statistically significant. However, by the time the article gets to the university or hospital press office or out of the journal’s PR shop and into a journalist’s hands, the disclaimer that causation has not been established usually falls aside.


Comments Sought on Gestational Diabetes

June 16th, 2012 No comments »

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a draft document available for comment on screening and assessment of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes has been implicated as a factor in childhood obesity and is a serious health concern for the mother. Please take the time to review and comment. AHRQ: Draft Comments Gestational Diabetes


Is Obesity Jumping Species?

June 11th, 2012 No comments »

The Sunday Review of the New York Times had a fascinating piece “Our Animal Natures” by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. They have an upcoming book, “What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing.” They discuss how animals have many of the same diseases as humans, including cancer, addiction and cutting or self-harm. They do discuss the increase in body weight among animals. They note that animals in the wild often have cycles of gaining and losing weight. But when there is an abundance of food and access to it, weight gain will follow. This applies not only to household pets but to wild animals as well. They state, “Remarkably, it is the landscape around an animal that determines whether its weight stays steady or rises.” They speculate that it may be a interruption in circadian rhythms caused by light pollution which has brightened our planet. Or, gut microbes. NYT: Our Animal Natures

One thing their excerpt did not address was whether the increase in human obesity was also seen in animal obesity.  YC Klimentidis et al did address this in an article published in the Proceedings,Biological Science of the Royal Society last June. They examined samples consisting of over 20,000 animals from 24 populations (12 divided separately into males and females) representing 8 species living with or around human populations in industrialized societies. In all populations, the trend of body weight over time was increasing.      They calculate the probability of all trends being in the same direction by chance is 1.2 x 10-7 . They found the average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. The authors conclude, “The consistency of these findings among animals living in varying environments, suggests the intriguing possibility that the aetiology of increasing body weight may involve several as-of-yet unidentified and/or poorly understood factors (e.g. viral pathogens, epigenetic factors). PubMed: Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics

This phenomenon has implications beyond the obesity epidemic. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have observed that many standard control rats and mice used in biomedical research are sedentary, obese, glucose intolerant and on a trajectory to premature death. This, they state, may confound data interpretation and outcomes of human studies. Fundamental aspects of cellular physiology, vulnerability to oxidative stress, inflammation and associated diseases are affected by changes in dietary intake and expenditure. PubMed: “Control” laboratory rodents ‘metabolically dead’


Does Air Pollution Cause Obesity?

May 19th, 2012 No comments »

An interesting new study is out showing a link between pregnant mothers exposure to common air pollutants and the development of their child. Read more…

Could obesity be contributing to rise in Autism?

May 19th, 2012 No comments »

Obesity is known to contribute to birth defects. Now comes a new study linking obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension to autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays. More

Obesity and Blood, Urothelial Cancers

May 17th, 2012 No comments »

Last week I provided my prepared statement on the relationship on obesity and cancer. Now comes a study of blood cancers among 578,000 adults showing body mass index (BMI) was associated with blood cancer risk, lymphoid neoplasms and Hodgkin’s lymphoma in women, and  B-cell lymphoma and chronic lymphatic leukemia in men. BMI was the most consistent risk factor compared to other metabolic factors, especially for women. PubMed: Metabolic factors and blood cancer

Another study, out of Israel, has found that overweight in adolescence is related to increased risk of future urothelial cancer. PubMed:Overweight in adolescence and Urothelial


Powerful New Study Underscores Obesity-Pain Relationship

January 28th, 2012 No comments »

A new survey of one million Americans found a high association between obesity and pain. Obesity and Pain Are Associated in t… [Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012] – PubMed – NCBIThey found the association was “robust” among both men and women. This survey involved an unusually high number of subjects and confirmed earlier studies.