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NOVEMBER 2015    A Monthly Review of Articles of Interest for the Clinical Community

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<This Month's Clinical Focus: OBESITY>

 

Belly Fat - Even If Skinny - May Be Deadlier Than Just Plain Obesity

The fat around our waists may foretell our fate more accurately than our overall body mass index (BMI). At least, that's the conclusion reached by new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Analyzing data taken from the third version of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) , the researchers found that supposedly skinny adults with elevated levels of abdominal fat had a greater risk of mortality than overweight or obese individuals whose fat was distributed normally across their body. These skinny spare tires were also considered the worst off in terms of longterm survival compared to anyone else.

The Skinny On Fat
While excess body fat is tied to a myriad of health concerns, abdominal fat is believed to be especially worrisome in part because it triggers systemic inflammation throughout the body, which then leads to greater stress on the heart and elsewhere. Too much belly fat is labeled central obesity.

Also affectionately called love handles or beer gut, central obesity is increasingly being recognized as a better indicator of health than BMI, which can occasionally mischaracterize a particularly muscular or tall person as overweight or obese. For instance, a 2014 study in BMJ Open found that central obesity was a better predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in women than BMI, validating previous research.

Solely using BMI as a health measure can also miss people who appear seemingly skinny but who carry excess white and visceral fat around their waist. As reported in Medical Daily, researchers who used a test of central obesity known as waist to height ratio (WHtR) on a sample of 3,000 adults found that a third of the normal-weight individuals had levels of belly fat that placed them at higher risk of CVD. A 2013 study, echoing the present research, found that WHtR predicted life expectancy better than BMI. This current study, however, is the first to compare the survival rates of so-called normal-weight individuals with central obesity to other BMI groups.  
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE:  RePubHub

Source: By Ed Cara with permission from Medical Daily via RePubHub


We're Still Losing The War On Obesity ó Especially Women

The battle of the bulge is still a losing one, according to a new report released this November by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), found that adult obesity rates in the US have only risen in the past three years, after having stayed relatively stable throughout the previous decade. Furthermore, women have definitively become the heavier gender, with a 38 percent rate vs 34 percent seen in men. About the only saving grace is that rates of child obesity have remained level, at 17 percent.

The Obesity Gap
In order to come to their conclusions, the report authors scoured data taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES), a representative survey of 5,000 or so Americans performed annually by the CDC. Unlike your standard online poll, the NHNES actually requires its participants, recruited from across the country, to undergo physical examinations. This allowed the current researchers to accurately calculate the subjectsí obesity rate, as judged by their Body Mass Index, or BMI. While BMI is hardly the perfect measure of an individualís health, itís an effective enough tool when used on large populations.The researchers specifically keyed in on NHNES data from 2011 to 2014.

Compared to 2011-2012, the obesity rate among all adults (20 and older) climbed to 37.7 percent, from 34.9 percent. These numbers bode especially worse for minority groups, particularly black and Hispanic women. Nearly 46 percent of Hispanic women and nearly 57 percent of black women were obese, greatly overshadowing men at 39 percent and 37.5 percent, respectively. When it came to age, those 40 to 59 were the heaviest, at just a smidge over 40 percent, but this again broke down across gender lines, with 42 percent of women aged 40-59 obese.

The figures are particularly sobering in light of encouraging research showing that some contributing factors of obesity, like soft-drink consumption, have declined among Americans in recent years. NHNES data prior to 2011-2014 also indicated that we had reached a obesity plateau since 2005. Earlier in November, Medical Daily reported on research finding that Americansí diets have become noticeably healthier since 1999. The study, however, only looked as far back as 2012, meaning that any recent trends of unhealthy eating may have gone unnoticed. As with obesity in general, the reasons behind our continuing weight gain are likely complex. 

All hope isn't lost, though. Not only has the child obesity rate has remained steady, but the rate in preschool children (2 to 5) at 8.9 percent is still below the 9.4 percent target goal set by Healthy People 2020, a 10-year-long national initiative to improve health promotion and disease prevention efforts.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE:  RePubHub

Source: By Ed Cara with permission from Medical Daily via RePubHub


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