Weight

Healthy Weight Loss May Bring Better Sleep, Brighter Mood

Body.WeightLoss.TipsDropping excess pounds may not only improve your physical health, it might also help you feel more awake and happy, a new study shows.

The research, presented this week at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago, included 390 obese women and men who were assigned to one of three programs meant to help them lose weight through diet and exercise.

One group received usual care, in which they were given printed educational materials during visits every three months with their primary care provider. The second group saw their primary care provider every three months, and also had brief meetings with lifestyle coaches. The third group met with their primary care providers and lifestyle coaches, and also received meal replacements and weight-loss medications.

Changes in the participants’ weight, amount and quality of sleep and mood were assessed after six and 24 months. The average weight loss in the usual care group was 4.4 pounds, compared with about 8 pounds in the second group and close to 15 pounds in the third group.

However, no matter which group they were in, participants who lost at least 5 percent of their weight after six months slept an average of nearly 22 minutes more each night than they had before, the study found.

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Source: MedicineNet.


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Weight-Loss Efforts Start Well, But Lapse Over Time

Body.WeightLoss.TipsLearning of an obesity-related disease motivates many to start a weight loss program, but troubling health news is often not enough to sustain weight loss efforts, finds new research. “Many of us will respond with good intentions when faced with a health crisis and challenge, but it is easy to put this behind us once the shock has passed and the reality that it is not easy or fun to lose weight becomes clear,” one expert said. “Patients need to keep the reasons they want to change fresh in their minds, set attainable goals, and get ongoing support for their efforts.”

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Source: Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. “Weight loss efforts start well, but lapse over time.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2014.

Researchers Discover a Gene That Controls Fat Metabolism

Body.Overweight.Obese2The long-term consumption of too much high-energy and high-fat food leads to overweight. Behind this trivial statement lies the extremely complex regulation of lipid metabolism. Together with colleagues from Japan, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim have now discovered that the Sirt7 gene plays a central role in energy metabolism. Despite consuming high-fat food, genetically modified mice that lack the gene maintain their normal weight.

Food was not always available to such excess as it is in western societies today. On the contrary, our metabolism was tailored to the optimum exploitation of energy, as humans, for millennia, had to budget their calories carefully. Thus, the formation and depletion of fat depots as energy stores is subject to complex regulation. A series of regulators is involved in lipid metabolism in the liver for the purpose of storing excess energy and making it available again when required.

The researchers hope that their study will provide the basis for new therapeutic approaches. “We would now like to examine substances with which the function of Sirt7 can be deliberately inhibited. We want to examine whether the same effects arise as observed in the mice that lack the Sirt7 gene,” explains one of the researchers. The long-term objective is the development of a drug that would reduce the efficiency of lipid metabolism. This would enable the avoidance of overweight.

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Source: Medical News Today.

Information Technology Can Simplify Weight-Loss Efforts; Social Support Still Important for Success

Body.WeightLoss.TipsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of adults in the United States are currently overweight or obese, which puts these individuals at increased risk for chronic health problems. Although weight loss decreases this risk, statistics show that dieters often fail multiple times before meeting their goals. Now, researchers have found that information technology, such as smartphone applications, can help dieters integrate healthy behavior changes into their daily lives.

“When people use information technology to support their weight-loss efforts, they tend to access features that streamline the tracking of daily health behaviors, such as caloric intake and exercise, or that provide visual feedback on their overall progress, like graphs showing weight lost over time,” said Cheryl Shigaki, an associate professor in the MU School of Health Professions. “Self-monitoring is key to successful weight loss, and information technology can make these tasks more convenient. We also found that people really liked getting feedback on their progress, which motivated them and helped them better evaluate their health behaviors and plan for future success.”

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Source: University of Missouri-Columbia. “Information technology can simplify weight-loss efforts; social support still important for success.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014.

Like Obesity, Being Underweight is Also Tied to Earlier Death

Body.Overweight.Obese2A new Canadian review of research on the relationship between weight and risk of premature death finds that having a body mass index in the underweight range is linked to an even higher risk of death than having a body mass index in the obese range.

Led by Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, the review is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In their review, Dr. Ray and colleagues found that adults with a BMI classed as underweight (under 18.50 or less) had a 1.8 times higher risk of dying from any cause than adults with a BMI classed as normal. This was even higher than for people classed as obese.

For people with a BMI in the range 30.00 to 34.99 (obese), the risk of dying was 1.2 times higher than that of people with BMI classed as normal, and for those with a BMI higher than 35.00 (severely obese), the risk was 1.3 times higher.

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Source: Medical News Today.

Now This is Interesting: Being Overweight may Benefit Older People

Body.WeightLoss.TipsA new study from Australia finds that people aged 65 and over with a body mass index in the overweight range live longer and suggests perhaps the World Health Organization guidelines on BMI may not be suitable for older people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25, and a BMI of 30 or over as obese. BMI is equal to a person’s weight in kilos divided by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2).

Caryl Nowson, professor of nutrition and aging at Deakin University in Melbourne, and colleagues looked at links BMI and risk of death in people aged 65 and over, and found those with the lowest risk of death had a BMI of around 27.5.

They also found those with a BMI between 22 and 23 – considered to be the normal weight range – had a significantly higher risk of death.

“Our results showed that those over the age of 65 with a BMI of between 23 and 33 lived longer, indicating that the ideal body weight for older people is significantly higher than the recommended 18.5-25 ‘normal’ healthy weight range.”

Prof. Nowson says for people aged 65 and over, by the WHO standards, being overweight is not associated with an increased risk of death, and that “it is those sitting at the lower end of the normal range that need to be monitored, as older people with BMIs less than 23 are at increased risk of dying.”

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Source: Medical News Today.

Tip to dieters: Beware of friends and late night cravings

Food.Diet.ListThere’s more to dieting than just sheer willpower and self-control. The presence of friends, late night cravings or the temptation of alcohol can often simply be too strong to resist. Research in the UK monitored the social and environmental factors that make people, who are following weight management programs, cheat. Eighty people who were either part of a weight-loss group or were dieting on their own participated in the one-week study. They were given mobile phones on which they kept an electronic diary of all the temptations that came their way, and the situations during which they gave in to these temptations. This helped the researchers to make a complete real-time record, known as ‘ecological momentary assessment,’ of participants’ dietary temptations and lapses.

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Source: Springer Science+Business Media. “Tip to dieters: Beware of friends and late night cravings.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014.