Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sleep Guidance as Part of a Weight Loss Center's Strategy

Bariatric studies have shown that there is a link between obesity and sleep deprivation. A study reported on in the May 1, 2008 issue of the SLEEP journal was designed to get a better understanding of the link. The researchers found a strong relationship between too-little sleep and obesity in both adults and children. Indeed, too-little sleep appears to be a forerunner of obesity and other illnesses. Therefore, we believe that weight loss or bariatric centers should consider instituting programs to help clients or potential clients get enough sleep as another way to combat obesity.

Of course getting enough sleep is not a magic bullet that will make you thin. You need to watch what you eat and get enough exercise. And in some cases, weight loss medications and even surgery might be necessary. However, getting enough sleep is important and should be included as a tool in weight loss and weight maintenance.

Researchers don’t know exactly what role too-little sleep plays in causing obesity. It is believed, however, that too-little sleep might disrupt the normal processes of two hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. These two hormones are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells us that we are hungry, and leptin tells us that we are full.

So the more ghrelin in our body, the more we eat. And the more leptin in our body, the less we eat. Too-little sleep seems to cause more ghrelin to be produced than normal, and cause less leptin to be produced than normal. Thus, a person lacking sleep may eat more food than needed, possibly leading, eventually, to obesity.

Too-little sleep also produces some immediate problems. Too-little sleep interferes with the decision making process. And some studies have shown that a person who has had too-little sleep might operate an automobile in a way similar to that of someone who has drunk too much alcohol. And some children who are sleep deprived have been misdiagnosed as hyperactive.

Moreover, according to a study done in New Zealand, children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to weigh more during adulthood than children who receive enough sleep. Specifically, children who receive less than eleven hours of sleep per night are likely to weigh more as adults than children who receive more than 11 hours of sleep per night. The study researchers recommend that children between 5 and 12 get approximately 12 hours of sleep per night, and that teenagers get at least 8.5 hours of sleep per night.

Bariatric or weight loss centers, that don't already do so, should establish programs that give sleep guidance to clients and their children. These programs could include Website information, seminars, and face-to-face consultation. These programs should emphasize the importance of sleep, including its long term effects. Providing sleep guidance could be an element in a weight loss or bariatric center’s strategic plan.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Marketing Weight Loss as a Weapon to Fight Asthma

Bariatric or weight loss centers commonly emphasize the importance of a healthy weight for reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and for controlling or eliminating diabetes. However, more emphasis should be put on the importance of a healthy weight when treating asthma. Previous studies have concluded that there is a higher incidence of asthma in obese persons than in non-overweight persons.

Exactly how obesity affects asthma is still unknown. It is believed, by some, that there may be degradation in an obese person’s immune system's ability to fight the pollutant, ozone, a form of oxygen that can trigger asthma. In addition to affecting the immune system, there may be other ways that obesity is a causal factor in asthma.

At any rate, recent studies do show that obese persons who suffer from asthma are likely to spend more time in the hospital than non-overweight asthma sufferers. So, reducing weight may be a way to reduce the effects of asthma.

Therefore, bariatric or weight loss centers should discuss the benefits of a healthy weight with potential obese clients who suffer from asthma. The centers could market their weight loss services to asthma sufferers, just as some centers market their weight loss services to potential clients who deal with other metabolic problems. This could be an opportunity for those bariatric or weight loss centers who don't already market weight loss services for a possible asthma treatment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Drug, Acomplia, Is No Longer a Weight Loss Option

Lifestyle modification, bariatric surgery, and weight loss medications are the three main approaches to weight loss. However, each approach has pros and cons. The pros of weight loss medications include the ease with which they can be used. The cons are mostly the associated negative side effects. The side effects run the gamut from intestinal gas to depression to thoughts of suicide.

Acomplia, a weight loss drug sold in Europe and manufactured by the French company, Sanofi-Aventis, has been known for some time to cause negative side effects including mental problems. And last month, Europe pulled the drug from the market because of the negative side effects.

Acomplia was never sold in the US. In fact, the FDA refused to approve the drug, voting unanimously to reject the drug in 2007. Caution here paid off in our opinion. Nevertheless, the absence of the drug reduces weight loss options -- at least in Europe. This reduction in options highlights the urgency associated with the need to increase weight loss treatment choices.

The drug, tesofensine, which we wrote about in our 10/26/08 blog post, is currently being studied. And although the drug may eventually be a weight loss candidate, it also produces negative side effects.

The issues associated with weight loss drugs and other weight loss approaches should be noted when weight loss centers discuss weight loss options with clients and potential clients.

To do this, a center should keep up-to-date on weight loss studies, and other relevant weight loss happenings, so that the center can give the best advice to clients and potential clients. If those wanting to lose weight know that a center will give them the best advice, the center may gain a competitive advantage.

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