Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Importance of Gut Bacteria in Weight Control

In a 2008 study at The Washington University St. Louis Medical School, researchers indicated that trillions of bacteria live in our gut. These bacteria perform specific activities, including the extraction of calories from food and the management of nutrients. And while the bacteria are common to all people, each individual has a unique set of the bacteria. A more recent study done at Washington University showed that the composition of the bacteria plays an important role in weight control.
Working with mice, the researchers found that obese mice had more of the bacteria called Firmicutes in their gut, and fewer of the bacteria called Bacteroidetes. Firmicutes are associated with obesity and Bacteroidetes are associated with leanness. Furthermore, diet played a significant role in the number of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the mice gut. Those mice who were fed a low-fat diet had more Bacteroidetes and less Firmicutes than the mice who were fed the high-fat diet.
Since diet plays an important role in the composition of gut bacteria in mice, there is a high probability that diet plays a significant role in the human gut bacteria composition. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes also populate the human gut. The above mentioned studies provide more evidence that diet is the significant factor in controlling weight.
Of course, more study will enable the researchers to determine exactly what diets best control these bacteria in humans. This determination could lead to the creation of of more effective diets.
Organizations that provide meal replacements should be especially interested in creating more effective diets. Therefore, these organizations should be interested in the above mentioned studies. Understanding gut bacteria that function in the body to influence obesity or leanness might enable meal replacement producers to manufacture better diet products. And bariatric or weight loss centers could offer these improved diet products as part of their weight loss services.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Governments Fight Obesity

Some experts believe that the government must play a large role in the fight against obesity. For example, the government can put pressure on neighborhood designers to get them to create plans that provide for more walking and bike paths in neighborhoods. These plans could put grocery stores, and other frequented neighborhood sites within a reasonable walking distance of residential areas. The government could also emphasize the importance of fighting obesity. And, fortunately, governments are becoming more proactive in the fight against obesity.

The U.S. federal government has indicated that it will increase funding to fight obesity. Further, the government has indicated that one of the important elements in the overhaul of the current health care system would be an initiative to boost the consumption of more nutritious food.

In addition to the federal government's increased activity in the fight against obesity, state governments are joining the fight. The Virginia state government has completed legislation to change the name of the "Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation" to the "Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth." With the name change, the organization broadens its mission to fight childhood obesity, in addition to smoking.

In Ohio, the state government is working on legislation for "healthy choices for healthy children." The legislation will promote increased physical activity, physical education, and enhance the nutritional value of the food children eat in school.

As we can see, attention is being given to childhood obesity by governments. Although the federal or a local government can take action to combat childhood obesity, the fight against childhood obesity must begin in the home. And parents have the greatest influence on a child during the child's childhood.

Since obesity can be an impediment to future success, parents should be interested in joining the obesity fight. Bariatric or weight loss centers could work with parents in the community to educate them on the best procedures to use to help children maintain a healthy weight. This collaboration could help the community, and enhance a weight loss center’s local reputation.

Indeed, collaboration between weight loss centers and governments -- federal, state and local -- might be one of the best ways to beat overweight and obesity during childhood and adulthood.

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