Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Overweight Child Is Not Doomed for Life

Of course, we all know that there is a childhood obesity problem. In 2010, it was estimated that about "17 percent of American children ages 2-19" were overweight. Further, it is believed that if a person is overweight or obese during childhood, it will usually lead to overweight or obesity during adulthood. This in turn will lead to overweight and obesity related health problems. However, a recent study indicates that even if a person is overweight during childhood, losing the weight later can reduce obesity health-related problems.

The study was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study consisted of an analysis of four other studies combining results gathered in the U.S., Australia United States, and Finland. The researchers concluded that "Overweight or obese children who were obese as adults had increased risks of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and carotid-artery atherosclerosis. The risks of these outcomes among overweight or obese children who became nonobese by adulthood were similar to those among persons who were never obese."

So, an individual is not doomed if he or she was obese during childhood. That person can take action to lose the excess weight, and endeavor to maintain a healthy weight. This will lessen the health problems associated with overweight and obesity during adulthood.
In addition to the health concerns indicated above, some experts believe that obesity is associated with an increased number of falls, as we get older. In fact, one study concluded "that obese older adults were anywhere from 12 per cent to 50 percent more likely to suffer a fall over two years than their normal-weight peers.”

Therefore, losing excess weight in adulthood after being overweight as a child is both possible and advisable. Primary care physicians, bariatricians, bariatric surgeons and other health care providers have it in their power to persuade and enable overweight adults -- including those who were overweight or obese during childhood -- to achieve a healthy weight.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Diet and Exercise Can Cause a Decline in Harmful Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines

If a person is obese, most health experts would probably agree that losing weight might improve the individual's health. But none of these experts would suggest that they know all the reasons for the health improvement. However, experts are learning more about adipose cells and how they can do harm to the body.

Adipose cells are known to secrete substances called cytokines. Some of the cytokines are pro-inflammatory. And inflammation can be detrimental to a person's health. Therefore, because of pro-inflammatory cytokines, someone with excess adipose cells -- such as an obese individual -- is at a higher risk than normal of experiencing health related problems. A recent study was undertaken to determine if increased exercise and a healthy diet could cause a decline in pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Cytokines can be anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory. As stated above, some of the cytokines that adipose cells secrete are known to be pro-inflammatory. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) represent known pro-inflammatory substances.

The pro-inflammatory study mentioned above was done by scientists at the University of California. Study participants were breast cancer survivors with an average age of 56. The study, which lasted 16 weeks, promoted an increase in physical activity and a healthy diet. With the diet and exercise intervention, there was a lowering of the levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha, and the study participants lost weight.IL-6 and TNF-alpha are important because these cytokines are felt to be associated with cancer, insulin resistance and components of the metabolic syndrome.

Although the levels of other cytokines, including interleukin-8 (IL-8), were not drastically affected by exercise and diet, the study's results add support to the belief that diet and exercise can lead to weight loss which can reduce the production of harmful pro-inflammatory substances in the body. The study results should bolster bariatricians' and bariatric surgeons' dedication to helping their patients lose weight.

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