Posts Tagged ‘genes’

Our Genes Are Changing: New Evidence

August 23rd, 2012

As readers of these pages know, I always react when people, in discussing obesity, dismiss genetics as a cause with the statement to the effect, ‘our genes just don’t change.’ On other pages, I recite evidence that this just isn’t true. Our genes do change. I also notice that you never hear a genetics expert make this claim. And for a good reason, our knowledge of genetics changes every week.

Now comes a new study using genomic databases from Iceland. The study of 78 trios of mother, father and child, looking for mutations in the child’s genes which were not present in either parent and therefore must have arisen spontaneously in the egg, sperm or embryo. Fathers passed on nearly four times as many new mutations as mothers, 55 v. 14. The older the father, the greater the number of mutations. Most of the mutations may be harmless but some are linked to conditions like autism and schizophrenia. NatureNews:Fathers bequeath more mutations as they age

Maternal obesity and metabolic conditions have been linked to autism in their offspring PubMed: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and risk of autism. Likewise, schizophrenia has been linked to obesity, diabetes and inflammation PubMed: Schizophrenia, metabolic syndrrome and inflammation

Bottom line: while the increasing age of the father may be relevant for autism research, the point for obesity genetics may be that both mothers and fathers pass on spontaneous mutations to their child. Our genes are changing.


It’s 10 O’Clock. Do you Know Where Your Genes Are?

October 5th, 2011

There was a very important story in the New York Times on October 4, 2011 about obesity but you are forgiven if you missed it.  The piece, by Nicholas Wade, tells the story of research on the histories of childbirths on an island in the St. Lawrence River, 50 miles northeast of Quebec. What they found was that the age at which women had her first child fell to 22 years from 26 years from 1799 to 1940. What did you miss? Well, it turns out that the age at which a woman has her first child is a highly heritable trait. And what this finding means is that humans are still evolving.  Statistical tests allowed the researchers to distinguish between the effects of natural selection and changes in cultural practices. Natural Selection Leaves Fresh Footprints on Canadian Island –

(Readers may recall that the above time-frame is not unlike that employed in The Techno-Physio Revolution, which documented the rise in body weight over 350 years.)

 Not only are humans still evolving but that evolution is occurring faster than many assume.  The DNA sequence can only identify large changes sweeping through a population. But phenotypic or bodily data can provide information on more recent changes.  Wade cites a review article of 14 studies. The lead author, Stephen C. Stearns of Yale,  stated, “We had three general aims: first, to correct the still widespread misconception that natural selection is not operating on contemporary humans; second, to make quantitative predictions about future evolutionary change for specific traits with medical significance; and third, to register firmly a point of general cultural interest that follows directly from our first two aims: We are still evolving, and for some traits we can make short-term predictions about our future evolution.” In this study, the authors found that the descendants of women in the Framingham Heart Study, begun in 1948, are predicted to be on average slightly shorter and stouter, to have lower total cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure, to have their first child earlier and reach menopause later than they would in the absence of evolution. Colloquium papers: Natural selectio… [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010] – PubMed – NCBI 

Jeffrey Friedman noted in the essay I quoted yesterday, “natural selection can be observed in a single generation as nature weeds out the maladapted under changing environmental conditions, leaving the more highly adapted individuals to proliferate. Thus, rapid changes in population characteristics are generally the result of a gene/environmental interaction.” 

What does this have to do with obesity? Well, in discussions about the genetic basis of obesity, skeptics often comment is often that increases in the prevalence of obesity (basically in the last 50 years) cannot be the result of genes because the gene pool or natural selection does not change that rapidly. Yet, evidence to the contrary continues to mount. While no one may be sure just how fast the genome is changing, it is probably inaccurate to say that it cannot change quite rapidly. 

Indeed, an examination of 23 studies reporting data from 14 different countries between 1998 and 2008, indicates a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in pre-school children age 2-5 years, in middle and high income countries, among both well-off and low income segments of populations, in both rural and urban areas and among all ethnic and racial groups represented. Global prevalence of overweight and obesity in… [Anthropol Anz. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI

New Insight on Gene-Environment Interaction

July 9th, 2011

For many people, understanding obesity is a pretty straightforward proposition. Eat more you gain weight. Eat less you lose weight. The laws of thermodynamics. Energy in v. Energy out. End of story. Alas, we know it is not that simple. For one thing, we know that obesity is highly inheritable. For another, we know that changes in the environment can produce rapid changes in the prevalence of obesity in the population. But, while finding many genes and their variations (called alleles) have been identified, they account for only about 2% of the total genetic variation in BMI. Skeptics doubt a genetic explanation arguing that the gene pool cannot change as quickly as the current changes in obesity. (These folks have tended to see the obesity epidemic as a 75 year phenomenon. But see the book review on The Changing Body, for how long this change has been going on..around 350 years.)  On the other hand, the environmental approach has raised the question, “If the environment is so prone to creating obesity, why isn’t everyone obese?” This line of doubt is reinforced by high variations in obesity in small geographic areas.

So now Danish researchers have use the Danish Twin Registry to try to explain the interaction of genes and the environment. The Danish Twin Registry contains information on virtually all twins born in Denmark since 1870. Two groups were surveyed. What they found was that the environment may modify the genetic expression related to obesity. This environmental effect grows stronger, but only for some individuals and not for others. They estimate that there is a 33.3% increase in the expression of adiposity-related genes associated with a 10% increase in the prevalence of obesity. They conclude that the genetic architecture of obesity should not be considered independent from the environmental context. PLoS ONE: Increased Genetic Variance of BMI with a Higher Prevalence of Obesity

The Causes of Obesity: There’s more than you think

September 30th, 2010

September 30, 2010

Perhaps the greatest gap between science and policy-making is the understanding of the causes of obesity. For most of the public and policy-makers, it is beyond discussion that obesity is caused by poor diets and lack of physical activity. Scientists, on the other hand, know that, without diminishing the roles diet and exercise play, they are not the whole story.  Obesity is far more complex. This gap has significant implications. Billions of dollars have been spent on strategies which, to be kind, are simplistic. Not only is this wasteful, it distracts or delays our understanding and the development of more effective remedies. Probably no better description, in great detail, of the ‘putative’ causes of obesity is contained in this article by McAllister and a prestigious group of co-authors. Ten putative contributors to the obesity epidemic. [Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009] – PubMed result. Even if the article is a bit dense, it is worth it to make us all more humble in approaching this disease.

Book Reviews

October 4th, 2009

THE WORLD IS FAT by Barry Popkin (Aver, New York, 2009)

Barry Popkin is a highly respected obesity researcher and professor of Global Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In this book has given us all an insight into his life’s work – understanding the spread of obesity throughout the world.

Popkin’s work is a reader-friendly effort to tackle our persistent, modern problems of obesity: How did we get to this state? What’s the role of the food and beverage industry? What are the influences of evolution and our genes on obesity, as well as food marketing. Specifically, how did the world so quickly change its consumption patterns from long-standing local cuisines to foreign, highly-packaged, highly processed foods. Where other authors have dealt with some of these topics in great detail, Popkin’s humanizes the issues by looking at four typical families in different parts of the world and observe the change in consumption and activity.

His statistics are staggering: the average American drinks sugar-sweetened beverages about 2.5 times a day. More than 450 of a person’s daily calories come from beverages – 40% from soft drinks or fruit juices and 20% from alcohol; a slice of pecan pie, about 500 calories, would take an average adult 2.5 hours of walking or an hour of vigorous aerobics to work off.

Reading Popkin, one wishes for more international studies as countries vary in areas such as TV viewing, food advertisements. He writes, “It isn’t possible to link changes in fast-food intake in these (developing) countries with increases in obesity. However, the shift toward on-the-go eating as opposed to the slower eating of the past is a profound change. The lack of conclusive research on how Western or local fast-food chains are affecting the quantity and quality of food and the overall weight gain is a sharp contrast to the very large number of studies on this topic in the United States.”

The entire world is experiencing what is called “nutritional transition” which involved changes in occupational, lifestyle, transportation as well as nutritional factors. However, there are definite social , cultural, racial and ethnic differences. Disentangling this complex web may well be beyond any one book and it is a shame that international research organizations have not done more to explore these differences. They represent a natural laboratory which is perhaps no longer feasible within the United States because we have so many confounding factors.

This nutritional transition is of nearly unprecedented dimensions, second maybe only to the discovery of cooking or the beginning of agriculture. No wonder Gina Kolata, in her book, Rethinking Thin, The New Science of Weight Loss and the Myths and Realities of Dieting (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007) observed, “Some scientists, including obesity researchers like Jules Hirsch and Jeff Friedman, suggest an intriguing hypothesis. The origin of people’s recent weight gains may have little to do with their current environment or with their willpower or lack of it, or with today’s social customs to snack and eat on the run or with any other popular belief. Instead, they say, we may be a new, heavier human race and our weight may have been set by events that took place very early in life, maybe even prenatally.”

Popkin is active not only in research but in numerous governmental and non-governmental agencies across the globe trying to find strategies to affect global obesity. He offers numerous anecdotes on the efforts of these groups to find solutions. But one comes away with the view of our genetic preferences for sweet and salty foods combining with a vast industrial agricultural process fueled by aggressive and effective marketing creating a tsunami of obesity which is engulfing the world. In the end, one wishes Popkin will go on and explore the development of obesity around the world in even more depth to help us find a way out.

THE EVOLUTION OF OBESITY by Michael. L Power and Jay Schulkin, (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2009)

If Popkin’s book is for the general reader, this tome by Power and Schulkin is for the serious student of evolutionary biology. Popkin gives a chapter to the evolution of the modern diet; these authors give 13. They, senior researchers at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, take the long view.

Some may wonder why researchers at the home of obstetricians and gynecologists should be addressing obesity. They should not wonder. Body weight is highly regulated to be ‘just right.” Either extreme – underweight or obesity – creates problems for reproduction and survival. As a species, our bodies are interested in surviving to pass on our genes to the next generation and extreme variations in weight impede this genetic imperative.

For those confused about stories on mortality and overweight, the authors clarify that human babies are among the fattest of all mammals and this may have conferred a key support to our survival. Extra fat confers some benefits for mortality but increases other risks. But the authors definitely do not argue that obesity per se was adaptive. They argue, convincingly in my view, that “human obesity is an inappropriate adaptive response to modern living conditions.” And, “Adipose tissue is an endocrine organ whose natural function allows it to greatly increase in size; adipose tissue is meant to be variable. However, the extent of adiposity that is possible in today’s world exceeds the normal adaptive range of endocrine and immune function.”

For those who think that there is a simple answer to obesity …eat less, exercise more…this book will not provide support. The authors note, “Energy intake and energy expenditure are simple concepts in principle but very complex in actual physiology. The simple solution for weight loss, eat fewer calories and expend more, can be very difficult to achieve, for good metabolically adaptive reasons.”

But their main thesis is that fat is important both in our diets and in our bodies which likely arose in order to support the development of larger brains. “This hypothesis, “ they aver, “explains our fat babies, which explains the tendency for women to put on more fat than men do. “

The general reader may find this book too detailed but for the serious student of obesity it is a unique resource of research on every aspect of obesity in both human and animal subjects.

My only problem with the book is that they minimize the chances for drugs to treat obesity given the complexity and redundancy of the biological system to preserve body weight. They note and, given the history of obesity medications it is hard to refute them, that, “ The complexity of an evolved biological system suggests that most simple molecular interventions will have multiple unintended consequences and may trigger compensatory metabolic systems.” Fair enough. But don’t medications for blood pressure control, control of blood glucose or many other drugs have similar complexities to deal with? Why would a drug to decrease excess adiposity seem infeasible when we have several s drugs which increase adiposity? And if bariatric surgery apparently results in long term and significant weight loss without the expected unintended consequences why can’t we find the mechanism and build a drug to do the same thing?

The science is changing so fast in this area that we only hope that this is the first of a series of books allowing us to understand what is happening in our world, and our bodies.

THE END OF OVEREATING by David A. Kessler, MD (Rodale, 2009)

David Kessler’s tenure as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton), where marked by great leadership in the efforts to combat tobacco smoking.

The book should be looked at, as with Caesar’s description of Gaul, as coming in three parts. In the first part, Dr. Kessler explores the evolutionary preference humans have for sweet, fatty and salty foods.

In the second part, he deals with the food industry’s ability to take advantage of these natural likings now part of our brain patterns. The skilled, finely honed marketing machines are derided and blamed for forcing us into what Dr. Kessler calls, “conditioned hypereating” resulting in obesity.

Before you know it, the weight has piled on and your diets have all failed. Just before you throw up your hands in surrender at the nearest Cinnabon, the good Dr. Kessler has a remedy…his trademarked Food Rehab tm diet – the third phase of the book.

On page 207, the good Dr. Kessler states, “The elements of the Food Rehab tm program here have been used and tested in other contexts and still need to be rigorously evaluated for the treatment of “conditioned hypereating. “Nonetheless, I believe they can offer you some help.” The help the Food Rehab tm diet provides is “to change the way you eat.”

Let’s stop here. First, does Dr. Kessler have a reference for ‘tested in other contexts?” Well, no. Even the food companies first test a product in the lab. Shouldn’t a respected physician do the same?

For the statement “change the way you eat,” there is a citation to an abstract by Gary Foster, Ph.D, which states that, “cognitive behavioral therapy achieves about a 10 percent weight loss over twenty to twenty-four weeks with patients regaining one-third of their weight at the one-year mark.” This is left out of the main text. Isn’t this the same failed diets he just decried?

By going down the path of a “new” diet plan, Dr. Kessler has forgone the opportunity to make a real contribution to exert the kind of leadership he showed with smoking for the obesity issue. Many people feel smoking and obesity are parallel conditions and many believe that the tools which were successful in smoking cessation can work in obesity. Others note profound differences between the two problems and doubt that all of the solutions to smoking are likely to work in obesity.

Although he doesn’t know it, Dr. Kessler and I crossed paths on this topic – at least on paper. In 1999, the Internal Revenue Service reversed position and allowed the costs of smoking cessation programs to be deducible as a medical expense. In my position at American Obesity Association, I wrote a letter to the IRS asking that they also reverse their policy on not allowing the costs of weight loss to be deductible which had been issued about the same time as the smoking cessation ruling.

The IRS wrote back and said what evidence they would need to reverse their ruling. But they also said that we could not rely on their smoking cessation ruling because nicotine was addictive and cited an extremely influential study Dr. Kessler had written on the subject. (Kessler, DA, et al, The Legal and Scientific Basis for FDA’s Assertion of Jurisdiction Over Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco, JAMA, 1997;277:405-409)

In this paper, Dr. Kessler established that nicotine is a psychoactive (mood-altering) product and that nicotine “plays a role in weight regulation, with substantial evidence demonstrating that cigarette smoking lead to weight loss.” So I told the IRS that, on the basis of this argument, we were not going to argue that eating was addictive, but they could not argue it isn’t. (At the end of the day, we got the IRS to reverse its policy.)

Since then there has been a new research on the brain activity in smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption. Brain serotonin 2A receptor binding: relations to …[Neuroimage. 2009] – PubMed Result. Another study found, in rats, the nicotine exposure prenatally affected endocrine development and led to obesity. Prenatal nicotine exposure alters early pancreatic…[Endocrinology. 2008] – PubMed Result

There are so many questions relating to our understanding of smoking, nicotine addiction and obesity that it is a shame not to have Dr. Kessler’s expertise help lead us out of this quagmire.

CATCHING FIRE: HOW COOKING MADE US HUMAN by Richard Wrangham (Basic Books, New York, 2009)

This brilliant and readable book offers a new hypothesis about evolution of humans and the role of cooking and meal preparation. Wrangham is a professor of biological anthropology and this book shows his facility with the biological evolution of animals in general and primates in particular. More importantly, this book has several important insights into the evolution of obesity.

Briefly, Wrangham argues, pretty successfully in my opinion, that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. Briefly, when early man began using fire, humanity started.

The process he lays out is fascinating. Once Homo Habilis (a chimpanzee like primate) evolved in to Homo Erectus, the species could shrink its digestive system, allowing humans to grow greater brains. Getting the gut to shrink depends on moving from raw food to first pounded meat and then to cooked food which were more pleasurable and digestible. This let early humans to lose tree climbing skills but gain speed in running. Speed in running allowed these first humans to run off predators who quickly overheated because of their body fir. Humans could lose body hair because fire helped them keep warm. Cooking also brought on the division of labor between men and women but promoted male-female bonding, created the household, and even led to the development of nicer people.

There are a couple of interesting aspects of this anthropological view of obesity. Wrangham devotes a fair bit of space to taking on the raw-food advocates. This movement tries to urge people to ‘return’ to the Paleolithic diet which stresses eating raw fruits and vegetables and less grain, beans and potatoes as well are refined or processed foods. Wrangham points out that, in the three studies of raw food consumption, a significant amount of body weight was lost. But there was a price. Constant feeling of hunger was one. The other was such serious energy depletion that fully half of the women in the studies stopped menstruating. Wrangham argues that a primitive society could not have sustained such depletions of energy. Further, he points to studies showing that most animals prefer cooked over raw foods.

Another interesting aspect of the authors work is that soft foods lead to an increase in obesity because fewer calories are burned in the digestive process than is the case with harder foods. (p.77)

He also express support for a more rapid change in evolution than many believe. He notes, “ response to a major change in diet, species tend to exhibit rapid and obvious changes in their anatomy. Animals are superbly adapted to their diets, and over evolutionary time the tight fit between food and anatomy is driven by food rather than by the animal’s characteristics.” (p.89) Later, he cites the Grants studies of finches in the Galapagos to indicate that, if the ecological change is temporary, the changes in the species’ anatomy are also temporary. But if the ecological change is permanent, “the species also changes permanently, and again the transition is fast.” (p.93) (The work of the Grants was brilliantly described in the Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in our Time” by Jonathan Weiner.) He goes on to state, “The adaptive changes brought on by the adoption of cooking would surely have been rapid. “(p.94)

Further, he describes that shrinking the gut increases the size of brain and therefore intelligence. But some animals do not evolve into larger brains. Why? He answers, “Diet provides a major part of the answer…For an inactive person, every fifth meal is eaten solely to power the brain. Literally, our brains use up around 20% of our basal metabolic rate – our energy budget when we are resting – they though they make up only about 2.5 percent of our body weight. “ (p.109)

In his last chapter, Wrangham has some disquieting news for calorie-counters, the foundation of most all weight loss strategies. Wrangham goes through in some detail how Wilbur Olin Atwater came up with the caloric content of protein, fats and carbohydrates and then specific foods. And he documents the refinements in the Atwater system. The formula attributes protein with 4 calories, fats 9 and carbohydrates 4 per gram.

Wrangham spots two problems. First, the Atwater system does not recognize the energy-cost of digestion. Although humans pay less in calories for digestion than other species, it is still significant and can be reduced or increased depending on the food type: protein costs more to digest than carbohydrates and fat has the lowest digestive cost of all. He cites a 1987 study in which people eating a high-fat diet had the same weight gain as others eating almost 5 times the number of calories in carbohydrates. Also, he notes, “ Based on animal studies, we can expect that the costs of digestion are higher for tougher or harder foods than softer foods; for foods with larger rather than smaller particles; for food eaten in single large meals rather then in several small meals; and for food eaten cold rather than hot. Individuals vary too. Lean people tend to have higher costs of digestion than obese people. Whether obesity leads to a low cost of digestion or results from it is unknown. Either way, the variation is important for someone watching his or her weight. For the same number of measured calories, an obese person, having a lower digestive cost, will put on more pounds than a lean person. Life can be unfair.” (p.203) (Thanks doc, we needed that.)

Take away: nutrition scientists know the current calorie information is wrong; but it is too expensive and difficult to fix it. Net for dieters: You’re screwed – even the most rigorous calorie counter is doomed to a high error rate. Wrangham concludes, “The data in standard nutritional tables assume that particle size does not matter and that cooking does nothing to increase the energy value of foods, when abundant evidence shows the opposite to be true…We become fat from eating food that is easy to digest. Calories alone do not tell us what we need to know.”(p.205)

Overall, this is an exciting read. I know of only one other book by anthropologists on obesity (Fat, The Anthropology of an Obsession edited by Don Kulick and Anne Meneley, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2005) . These works show the valuable contributions to obesity we can look forward to from the work of many disciplines.


September 27th, 2009

APRIL 2009

April 24, 2009

After planting garden, Michelle Obama skips out to Five Guys for a burger.

First lady says she sneaks off to fun restaurants –

MARCH 2009

March 31, 2009

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius lead off her testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee stating, “Yet, at the beginning of the 21st century, we face new and equally daunting challenges.

We face an obesity epidemic that threatens to make our children the first generation of Americanchildren to face life expectancies shorter than our own.”

March 30, 2009

Review of new drugs for obesity Obesity Drug by Arena Has an Effect, but a Limited One –

March 27, 2009

New York Times reports on walking school buses in Italy fighting obesity and climate change

Students Give Up Wheels for Their Own Two Feet –

March 18, 2009

Another study shows obesity increases risk of death

Obesity Takes Years Off Your Life –

March 13, 2009

Mississippi to cover state workers’ bariatric surgery

Surgery: Long-term care is more expensive | | The Clarion-Ledger

March 9, 2009

Obama sets out Administration policy on use of science The White House – Press Office – Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies 3-9-09

March 6, 2009

Abdominal obesity adversely affects lung function Belly Fat Bad for Your Lungs?

March 6, 2009

New study finds dietician students prejudiced against persons with obesity Bias Against Obesity Is Found Among Future Dietitians –

March 1, 2009

Obesity increases worker’s comp. Obesity supersizing workers comp costs – Financial Week

March 1, 2009

South Carolina Senator criticized for trying to dump bicycle paths from stimulus bill. DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner: Sen. DeMint’s pro-obesity legislation was the real pork in the stimulus debate


February 27, 2009

Obama budget to cut farm subsidies; improve child nutrition Obama wants to cut subsidies to farmers | | The Des Moines Register

February 27, 2009

Drug maker buries data on diabetes drug causing weight gain AstraZeneca Documents Released in Seroquel Suit –

February 20, 2009

North Carolina looks to penalize persons with obesity: Smoking, obesity may cost state employees |

February 19, 2009

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announces national effort on childhood obesity Leading Research Funders Launch Collaborative To Accelerate Nation’s Progress in Reducing Childhood Obesity – RWJF

February 19, 2009

Clinton Foundation announces alliance on childhood obesity Alliance for a Healthier Generation Expands Efforts to Combat Childhood Obesity with Launch of Landmark Healthcare Initiative

February 18, 2009

Court of Appeals upholds NYC Calorie Disclosure Ordinance

Court Upholds the City’s Rule Requiring Some Restaurants to Post Calorie Counts –

CDC: Young Invincibles are obese CDC: ‘Young invincibles’ have significant health concerns –

February 16, 2009:

Home recipes increase in calories: ‘Joy of Cooking’ or ‘Joy of Obesity’? – Los Angeles Times

February 12, 2009

CMS Issues decision on using bariatric surgery to treat Type 2 Diabetes; notes effectiveness of bariatric surgery in resolving Type 2 Diabetes. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Obesity linked to Birth Defects

Obesity During Pregnancy Linked to Infant Birth Defects –

JAMA paper on birth defect risks with mothers with obesity. JAMA — Maternal Overweight and Obesity and the Risk of Congenital Anomalies: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, February 11, 2009, Stothard et al. 301 (6): 636

February 19, 2009

Fast food restaurants predict strokes

More Fast-Food Joints in Neighborhoods Mean More Strokes – US News and World Report

February 12, 2009

How evolution lead to modern obesity

AAAS: Modern obesity epidemic can be traced back two million years – Telegraph

NEJM — Expanding Coverage for Children — The Democrats’ Power and SCHIP Reauthorization


January 24, 2009

Childhood obesity influenced by genetic variations

Science Centric | News | Childhood obesity risk increased by newly-discovered genetic mutations

January 21, 2009

Obesity imperils health care reform

FEATURE-U.S. obesity epidemic shows perils to health reform –

January 20, 2009

Employers try incentives for healthier workforce Firms offer bigger incentives for healthy living –

January 13, 2009

NIH launches study of how genes and environment affect children’s development National Children’s Study Begins Recruiting Volunteers, January 13, 2009 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

January 9, 2009

Physical Activity May not be Key to Obesity After All

Physical Activity May Not Be Key To Obesity Epidemic

January 6, 2009

Obesity and Ovarian Cancer Linked

Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer


December 22, 2008

A little overweight and inactive hurts too

Even a Little Overweight, Inactivity Hurts the Heart –

December 19, 2008

Limiting snacks in schools can increase fruit, veggie consumption

Limiting School Snacks Boosts Fruit, Veggie Consumption – US News and World Report

December 18, 2008

Childhood Obesity may affect thyroid

Childhood Obesity May Cause Thyroid Problems –

December 16, 2008

New York Debates Tax on Soft Drinks

A Tax on Many Soft Drinks Sets Off a Spirited Debate –

December 12, 2008

Study looks at relationship between obesity, breast cancer and frequency of mammography

Daily Cancer News –

December 3, 2008

Visceral obesity linked to depression in elderly

Depression Linked to Increase in Abdominal Fat – US News and World Report


September 26th, 2009

Understanding the gene-environment-behavior connections Implications of gene-behavior interactions: preven…[Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008] – PubMed Result

Some see eating as an automatic behavior over which individuals have less control than they think Eating as an automatic behavior. [Prev Chronic Dis. 2008] – PubMed Result

While controversial, the view of eating or hunger as an addiction has many interesting parallels with studies of addictive behavior The neurobiology of appetite: hunger as addiction. [Int J Obes (Lond). 2009] – PubMed Result

It is generally accepted that humans have a genetic predisposition to obesity which is fueled by our modern environments. However, not everyone is becoming obese. Why? Individual differences in the neurophysiology of r…[Int J Obes (Lond). 2009] – PubMed Result Obese-resistant individuals may sense changes in their energy intake more quickly than persons who are obese. The effects of overfeeding and propensity to weigh…[Physiol Behav. 2009] – PubMed Result

Obese individuals may have evolved weak mechanism which favor overeating. Control of food intake in the obese. [Obes Res. 2001] – PubMed Result High concern over food intake may, paradoxically, lead to higher intake Determinants of food choice: relationships with ob…[Obes Res. 2001] – PubMed Result

Stringent parental controls may also disrupt a child’s development of internal cues for controlling eating. Development of eating behaviors among children and…[Pediatrics. 1998] – PubMed Result