Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Only the Lonely

October 2nd, 2012

A study of 486,599 Swedish men over 40 years found that underweight, overweight and obese men were less likely to be married than their normal weight peers. Obese men had the lowest likelihood of being married. PubMed: Weight Status at age 18 influences marriage prospects


NIH Disses Physical Activity as Cure of Childhood Obesity

November 23rd, 2011

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has issued guidelines endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They are directed to all primary pediatric care providers to address the known risk factors of cardiovascular disease, including obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco and lipids.

The report notes that longitudinal data on non-white populations are lacking and that “Clinically important differences in prevalence of risk factors exist according to race and gender, particularly with regard to tobacco-use rates, obesity prevalence, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.”

The report notes, “Obesity tracks more strongly than any other risk factor, among many reports from studies that have demonstrated this fact…Tracking data on physical data is more limited.”

Regarding overweight and obesity, the report states,

“The dramatic increases in childhood overweight and obesity in the United States since 1980 are an important public health focus. Despite efforts over the last decade to prevent and control obesity, recent reports from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show sustained high prevalence: 17% of children and adolescents have a BMI at the >95th percentile for age and gender. The presence of obesity in childhood in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased evidence of atherosclerosis at autopsy and of subclinical measures of atherosclerosis on vascular imaging. Because of its strong association with many of the other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease, obesity is even more powerfully correlated with atherosclerosis; this association has been shown for BP, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance in each of the major pediatric epidemiologic studies. Of all of the risk factors, obesity tracks most strongly from childhood into adult life.”

Given that physical activity is a primary prescription for preventing childhood and adolescent obesity, it is interesting to read what the expert panel has to say about its utility:

“A moderate number of RCTs (randomized controlled clinical trials) have evaluated the effect of interventions that addressed only physical activity and/or sedentary behavior on prevention of overweight and obesity. In a small number of these studies, the intervention was effective. It should be noted that these successful interventions often addressed reduction in sedentary behavior rather than attempts to increase physical activity. In a majority of these studies there was no significant difference in body-size measures. Sample sizes were often small and follow-up was often short (frequently < 6 months). ..Overall, the expert panel concluded that on the basis of the evidence review, increasing activity in isolation is of little benefit in preventing obesity. By contrast, the review suggests that reducing sedentary behavior might be beneficial in preventing the development of obesity.”

The report identifies populations at special risk for obesity: children with a BMI between the 85 and 95th percentiles;children in whom there is a positive family history of obesity in 1 or both parents; early onset of increasing weight; excessive weight gain during adolescence; children who have been very active and become inactive. See Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents- NHLBI, NIH

More Bad News from China

September 27th, 2011

As we have previously reported, rising rates of obesity in China are a major concern, not only to that country but globally. Now comes yet another study showing increasing rates of obesity in suburbs of Beijing. Prevalence of overweight/obesity and its associat… [Obes Facts. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI

STOP Pushes Obesity Tx as “Essential Benefit”

September 26th, 2011

As readers know, President Obama’s health care reform legislation has a critical provision for covering millions of uninsured persons for what are termed “essential benefits.” These benefits were undefined in the legislation.  Now, what will be covered and what will not be covered is becoming a major issue. In a recent Huffington Post, STOP Executive Director Christine Ferguson discusses STOP’s position on including obesity treatments as “essential benefits. Christine Ferguson: Giving Obesity Equal Weight in the Health Care System

Asian Rates of Diabetes and Obesity Set to Explode

July 7th, 2011

An analysis of over 900,000 individuals in 18 cohorts from 7 Asian nations (Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) show an overall prevalence of diabetes  of 4.3%, ranging from 0.5% TO 8.2%. The positive association between BMI and diabetes prevalence was observed in all cohorts and all subgroups, although the association was stronger for younger individuals. The results were similar no matter whether the standard or ‘Asian” cutoffs are used. The authors note that the fast rising rates of obesity in these countries, For example, in rural China, the prevalence of overweight has increased from 5.3% in men to 13.6% and from 9.8% in women to 14.4%. Rates of obesity increased from 0.5% in men to 1.8% and from 0.7% in women to 3.0%. This, the authors note, “ has profound implications for the expected number of diabetes patients who will be diagnosed in this region in future decades. PLoS ONE: Body Mass Index and Diabetes in Asia: A Cross-Sectional Pooled Analysis of 900,000 Individuals in the Asia Cohort Consortium

FDA Panel Approves Obesity Drug

December 8th, 2010

In a surprise vote, the FDA Advisory Committee voted to approve Orexigen Therapeutics obesity drug, Contrave. The vote was 13 to 7. This is the first obesity drug to win approval since 1999. The FDA will make the final decision but they usually follow the recommendations of their advisory committees. This opens the door for Vivus to obtain approval since their drug, Qnexa, had a superior efficacy finding. It probably also helps Arena’s lorcaserin to obtain a more favorable decision by the FDA. See F.D.A. Panel Backs New Diet Pill –

FDA Goes AWOL on Obesity

October 29th, 2010


October 28, 2010 Washington , D.C.

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the application of Vivus Pharmaceuticals Inc for approval of their drug, Qnexa, for the treatment of obesity.

According to Morgan Downey, Editor and Publisher of the Downey Obesity Report (, “This is the fourth drug to treat obesity the FDA has rejected since 2005. All they do is reject drugs for obesity. On the greatest health crisis of the 21st Century, the FDA has decided to thumb its nose at the White House and medical and scientific authorities. They have driven large pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotech companies out of the obesity business. The FDA is a great failure of governmental leadership to address the epidemic of obesity.”

“The FDA’s claims that they are concerned about Qnexa’s risk of birth anomalities is a smoke screen. The Qnexa studies showed no such events. The FDA says it is concerned that topirmate, at full strength as approved by the FDA, may cause birth defects. If they were really concerned about birth defects, they should take full strength topirmate (approved for prevention of migraines and seizures) off the market. Instead, they are spiking Qnexa which only a fraction of full-strength topirmate in its composition. Some women on Qnexa  became pregnant and had healthy happy babies. Evidently a woman who is obese and has a family is now an adverse event,” said Downey. (Birth defects are, unfortunately, not uncommon for women who are obese, see Birth Defects | The Downey Obesity Report)

According to Downey, “The FDA’s concern over safety of users of obesity drug are crocodile tears. They just rejected Meridia on the basis of a study establishing that those who should not take the drug, according to the label, should not take the drug. Yet, it left Avandia on the market even though two days of hearings showed it has serious and documented fatal effects. ”

Mr. Downey is the former executive director of  both the American Obesity Association and The Obesity Society. He is an advocate for obesity prevention and treatment. He works with many research and clinical organizations addressing the obesity epidemic. His full biography is available at

For additional information contact: Morgan Downey, 202-957-0085 and see

More on Costs of Obesity

October 4th, 2010

Eric Finkelstein and colleagues have published new data adding to the considerable literature about the economic costs of obesity. Using the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Health and Wellness survey, they estimated per capita medical expenditures and the value of lost productivity, including absenteeism and presenteeism. For men, the estimates  of excess costs ranged from under $322 for overweight men to $6, 087 for those with grade III (severe) obesity. For women, estimates of excess costs ranged from $979 for overweight women to $6,694 for those with grade III obesity. The aggregated annual costs attributable to obesity among full-time employees is $73.1 billion. Individuals with a body mass index of 35 or greater represented 37% of the obese population but 61% of excess costs. See The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace. [J Occup Environ Med. 2010] – PubMed result