Author Interviews, Social Issues, Weight Research / 24.06.2015 Interview with: Ruopeng An, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health College of Applied Health Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 61820 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic and environmental disadvantage. One fundamental goal in the Healthy People 2020 is to “achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups”. Obesity is a leading risk factor for many adverse health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Sweeping across the nation during the past 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity increased from 15% in 1980 to 35% in 2012 among U.S. adults. The obesity epidemic is marked by salient demographic and socioeconomic disparities pertaining to gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and geographic location. In this study, we examined the annual trends in educational disparity in obesity among U.S. adults 18 years and older from 1984 to 2013 using data from a nationally-representative health survey. We found that the obesity prevalence among people with primary school or lower education increased from 17.46% or 3.41 times the prevalence among college graduates (5.12%) in 1984 to 36.16% or 1.73 times the prevalence among college graduates (20.94%) in 2013. In any given year, the obesity prevalence increased monotonically with lower education level. The obesity prevalence across education subgroups without a college degree gradually converged since early 2000s, whereas that between those subgroups and college graduates diverged since late 1980s. Absolute educational disparity in obesity widened by 60.84% to 61.14% during 1984-2013 based on the Absolute Concentration Index and the Slope Index of Inequality, respectively; meanwhile, relative educational disparity narrowed by 52.06% to 52.15% based on the Relative Index of Inequality and the Relative Concentration Index, respectively. The trends in educational disparity in obesity differed substantially by gender, race/ethnicity, age group, and obesity severity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, UCSF, Weight Research / 22.06.2015 Interview with: Leslee L. Subak, MD University of California, San Francisco Professor, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Urology and Epidemiology & Biostatistics Chief of Gynecology, SF Veterans Affairs Medical Center UCSF Women's Health Clinical Research Center MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Subak: Urinary incontinence is very common, affecting an estimated 30 million adults in the U.S., and may account for as much as $60 billion in annual medical costs. Incontinence can cause significant distress, limitations in daily functioning, and reduced quality of life. Obesity is an important risk factor, with each 5-unit increase in body mass index – a ratio of someone’s weight divided by the square of their height – above normal weight associated with far higher rates of incontinence.   The prevalence of incontinence has been reported to be as high as 70 percent among severely obese women, and 24 percent among severely obese men (BMI greater than 40, or more than about 100 pounds greater than ideal body weight). Since obesity is a risk factor for incontinence, several studies have examined whether weight loss is a treatment for incontinence among obese people with the condition.  Clinical trials have shown the low calorie diets, behavioral weight reduction, and bariatric surgery are associated with improvement in incontinence in obese women and men through one year, but evidence on the durability of this effect is lacking. We performed this study to examine changes in urinary incontinence and identify factors associated with improvement among women and men in the first 3 years following bariatric surgery. This study included 1987women and men in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 (LABS-2) study performed at 10 hospitals at 6 clinical centers in the U.S. who underwent bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2009.  The study participants ranged in age from 18 to 78 years old – the median age was 47. The analysis controlled for factors such as age, race, smoking status and recent pregnancy.  Nearly 79 percent of the participants in the study were women with 49% reporting at least weekly incontinence, compared with 2% of men reporting incontinence. Following surgery and large weight loss of 29% for women and 26% for men, substantial improvements in incontinence were observed, with a majority of women and men achieving remission at 3 years post-surgery. The more weight lost, the higher the chances of improvement. While the risk of relapse rose with each gain of about 10 pounds, overall there was substantial improvement for both women and men. People who were older, had severe walking limitations or were recently pregnant showed less improvement. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Aging, Weight Research / 21.06.2015 Interview with: Dr. Min Du Ph.D Department of Animal Sciences Washington Center for Muscle Biology Washington State University Pullman, WA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The beige fat is only recently identified and is highly inducible. we observed that polyphenolic compounds including resveratrol enhances AMPK activity, and hypothesized that resveratrol might enhance the formation of beige fat through activation of AMPK. Therefore, we used resveratrol, a very well characterized polyphenolic compound as a representative of polyphenolic compounds in fruits, to check its effects on the formation of beige fat. We found that resveratrol induced the formation of beige adipocytes both in vitro and in vivo. We further found that the lipid oxidation rate was enhanced due to the formation of beige fat, which is correlated with the anti-obesity effect of resveratrol. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Duke, Weight Research / 18.06.2015

William S. Yancy, Jr., MD, MHSc Research Associate Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care Durham, NC 27705 Associate Professor Department of Medicine Duke University Medical Interview with: William S. Yancy, Jr., MD, MHSc Research Associate Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care Durham, NC  27705 Associate Professor Department of Medicine Duke University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yancy: A number of studies have compared different diet approaches for weight management with many of these finding that several different diets can result in significant weight loss. This has led many experts to advise that we should offer a choice among these diet options to our patients who are seeking to lose weight. We know that adherence is the best predictor of weight loss during dietary interventions, so the thought is that patients will adhere better to a diet that they prefer, resulting in more successful weight loss. In addition, allowing choice enhances patient autonomy, which is patient-centered and has been shown to increase treatment adherence. However, the previous studies of various diet approaches did not let people choose a diet, so we don’t actually know if letting them choose will lead to better weight loss. Our study specifically tested this assumption. We randomized participants to a condition where they were allowed to choose between 2 common weight loss diets or to a condition where they were randomly assigned to one of the diets. The 2 diets we used were a low-carbohydrate diet without calorie restriction and a low-fat diet combined with calorie restriction. Participants received counseling about the diets, and about behavioral strategies and physical activity, in 19 group sessions over the span of 12 months. They also received 6 phone calls with motivational counseling in the latter half of the program. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 12.06.2015 Interview with: Theresa A Lawrie World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research Geneva, Switzerland MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is associated with various undesirable outcomes in pregnancy. The aim of the review was to assess data from all relevant clinical trials in the field, to determine whether diet and/or exercise interventions during pregnancy were effective in reducing the chance of excessive weight gain in pregnancy. We also wanted to know whether these interventions could reduce the chance of having large babies (macrosomia), as this is associated with difficult labor, c/section, postpartum hemorrhage, birth injuries and other complications. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: Altogether 49 trials contributed data to the review. Approximately half the trials recruited women of any pre-pregnancy weight, the other half recruited women who were overweight or obese at the start of pregnancy. Most of the trials were conducted in high income countries. Interventions varied, some involved individual counseling, others group sessions, some were counseling interventions only, other programs were actively supervised by fitness trainers. Health outcomes for women receiving the intervention programs in addition to routine antenatal care (the intervention group) were compared with those of women receiving the routine antenatal care only (the control group). We found that diet or exercise or combined interventions led to an average 20% reduction in the number of women gaining excessive weight in pregnancy. This reduction was fairly consistent across the different types of interventions, although the largest effect was observed for combined diet and supervised exercise interventions. Overall findings suggested a small reduction in caesarean section (of about 5%) and in large babies (of about 7%).  However, a bigger reduction in large babies (in the region of a 19% reduction) was noted for exercise-only interventions, which were more likely to be supervised interventions. Other findings: We also found no difference in the risk of preterm birth between groups. Fewer women in the intervention group were assessed as having high blood pressure during pregnancy (although we assessed this as low quality evidence). Low quality evidence also suggested that women in the intervention group were likely to retain less weight at six months postpartum compared with the control group. Interestingly, data from two studies suggested that women receiving diet and exercise interventions were less likely to have babies with breathing difficulties at birth. These findings will hopefully be corroborated by other studies. A limitation of the review, is that we did not include gestational diabetes as an outcome as this is partly covered in a separate Cochrane review. Our exploratory analyses, however, suggested that there may be a reduction in gestational diabetes for certain types of interventions, and we hope to include these data in future review updates. In general, we did not find differences in outcomes for women according to pre-pregnancy weight or BMI. (more…)
Author Interviews, Psychological Science, Weight Research / 10.06.2015 Interview with: Katie Becofsky Ph.D. Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center The Miriam Hospital Providence, RI Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Becofsky: Previous research has provided clear evidence of a relationship between social relations (e.g., frequency of social participation, perceived social support) and mortality risk.  We investigated two specific aspects of social relations- source of social support and size of weekly social network- in more detail.  The purpose of our study was to examine the associations between different sources of social support (relative, friend, and partner support), as well as size (and source) of weekly social network, on mortality risk in a large cohort of patients from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. We found that perceived support from one’s spouse/partner and relatives, as well as weekly social interaction with a network of 6-7 friends, was associated with lower long-term mortality risk.  When the sources were reversed, the effects did not stand- perceived social support from friends did not affect mortality risk, nor did the quantity of weekly familial contacts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 05.06.2015 Interview with: Aidan Gribbon M.Sc., CSEP-CEP From the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is that sedentary pursuits, such as video games, are omni-present in the daily lives of adolescents. Manufacturers of active video games (AVG) have been marketing them as a ‘healthy’ alternative to seated video games, with the possibility of preventing/treating obesity in this age group. Although, active video games have been shown to acutely increase energy expenditure over their seated counterparts, no study has examined their compensatory adjustments in energy expenditure or energy intake. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The main finding of this paper was that although active video games are not associated with an increased food intake, they are compensated for by a decrease in physical activity such that their benefit of a reduction in the energy gap underlying weight gain is offset within 24 hours. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 05.06.2015

Nia S. Mitchell, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Interview with: Nia S. Mitchell, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mitchell: Despite decades of obesity research two issues remain elusive in weight management: significant, long-term weight loss and weight loss maintenance and widely accessible programs. There are numerous weight loss programs out there, but there is little evidence of the long-term effectiveness of many programs. Furthermore, these programs may not be accessible to the general population because they are too expensive and may not be geographically available. I chose to evaluate the Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) program because I thought it had the potential to address these issues. TOPS is a nationally-available, nonprofit, low-cost, peer-led weight loss program. It costs only $92 per year--$32 is the annual fee plus local chapter dues that average about $5 per month--and any four people can start a TOPS chapter, so it can be implemented and disseminated widely. The main objective of this study was to determine the weight change for individuals who consecutively renewed their membership in TOPS. We looked at people who joined TOPS from 2005 to 2011, so they could have been followed for up to seven years. We found that people who join TOPS and consecutively renew their annual membership can lose a clinically significant amount of weight and maintain the weight loss for up to seven years. Clinically significant weight loss is defined as weight loss of at least 5% of initial weight, because with a 5% weight loss people with weight-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, can see an improvement in their conditions. Therefore, a diabetic who weighs 200 pounds may see an improvement in her blood sugar control if she loses 10 pounds. In our study, fifty percent of individuals had clinically significant weight loss in their first year in the program, and 62% of those renewed their annual membership consecutively for seven years had clinically significant weight loss at seven years. This was exciting because many people who lose weight tend to gain it back. I often say that the unfortunate natural history of weight loss tends to be weight re-gain. However, the majority of these individuals maintained a clinically significant weight loss. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 04.06.2015

Catarina Rendeiro Ph.D. Post-doctoral Research Associate Rhodes lab University of Illinois Urbana, Interview with: Catarina Rendeiro Ph.D. Post-doctoral Research Associate Rhodes lab University of Illinois Urbana, Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rendeiro: The motivation for this study emerges in the context of understanding the link between sugar intake, particularly fructose, and the rising obesity epidemic that we are currently facing. Overeating and lack of physical activity certainly play major roles in obesity, but the sources of calories are also important. Fructose, a simple monosaccharide found in fruit and vegetables, and composing half of sucrose (i.e., table sugar), has been on the increase in Western diets. In our rodent study, 18% of dietary calories were derived from sugar, either fructose or glucose. This level is similar to typical American diets. However, the fructose diet resulted in increased weight gain and fat deposition and reduced physical activity even though food intake was similar between the two groups. It is also important to note that our animals were consuming their regular amount of calories, not overeating. Only the source of sugar was different between experimental groups, and still calorie-for-calorie, fructose caused greater weight gain and less physical activity than glucose. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Weight Research / 31.05.2015 Interview with: Christopher X Wong MBBS MSc PhD Clinical Research Fellow | Clinical Trial Service Unit, Oxford Clinical Senior Lecturer | Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, Adelaide Clinical Trial Service Unit, University of Oxford Roosevelt Drive, Oxford Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wong: Atrial fibrillation is an increasingly common heart rhythm disorder. This study demonstrates that even small increments in obesity are associated with a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Our data suggest that for every 1 unit reduction in body mass index there may be a 3-5% reduction in atrial fibrillation; for every 5 unit reduction, there may be 10-29% reductions. It should also be noted that this is likely to be a significant underestimate of the effect of weight reduction on atrial fibrillation rates as weight control has favourable effects on other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, such as hypertension and diabetes. Given the more than 45 million people with atrial fibrillation worldwide, even small but widespread reductions in obesity would thus help contain this ‘epidemic’ of atrial fibrillation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, Weight Research / 22.05.2015 interview Dorota Kaminska, MSc Department of Clinical Nutrition University of Eastern Finland MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide, making it one of the biggest health problems currently facing both developed and developing countries. Obesity is considered a primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. While the majority of people with type 2 diabetes are obese, most of obese people do not develop diabetes, indicating that obesity is not the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Both obesity and type 2 diabetes are multifactorial complex diseases that are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Results from twin studies suggest that genetic factors explain 50% to 90% of the variance in body mass index (BMI) and from 45% to 85% of the diabetes risk. However genetic variations identified by genome wide association studies (GWAS) explain only 2-4% of the obesity risk and 5-10% of the type 2 diabetes risk. Several options have been debated to be a source of so called “missing heritability”, including, among others, structural DNA variations, gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, epigenetic modifications and RNA splicing. We used adipose tissue samples from Kuopio Obesity Surgery (KOBS), very low calorie diet (VLCD), Metabolic Syndrome in Men (METSIM) and European Network on Functional Genomics of Type 2 Diabetes (EUGENE2) studies to determine alternative splicing pattern of selected genes. The study focused on determining the effects of obesity and weight loss on alternative splicing of metabolically active genes (TCF7L2 and INSR). We showed that alternative splicing of both genes is dysregulated in obesity and type 2 diabetes, resulting in impaired insulin action in adipose tissue. Additionally we demonstrated, that obesity induced changes in splicing can be reversed by weight loss induced by gastric bypass surgery or very low calorie diet. Furthermore, the study identified alternatively spliced genes in the genomic regions associated with obesity risk, demonstrating that splicing of the MSH5 gene in subcutaneous fat is regulated by weight loss. The study also found that body mass index is a main determinant of TRA2B, BAG6 and MSH5 splicing in subcutaneous fat; however, the functional consequences of this finding require further investigation. These findings imply that the obesity-associated gene variants might act through regulation of splicing which in turn might underlie the pathogenesis of obesity in individuals carrying the risk variants. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 21.05.2015

Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-studerende Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital Interview with: Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-student Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital Hellerup Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. SchmiegelowObesity has become a worldwide epidemic, but the excess cardiovascular risk observed in obese individuals may primarily be attributable to metabolic mediators, rather than obesity per se. Several studies conducted in primarily non-Hispanic white populations suggest that obese individuals without the metabolic syndrome, defined as metabolically healthy obese, have a cardiovascular risk similar to that of normal weight metabolically healthy individuals. We used prospectively collected data from the Women’s Health Initiative studies to evaluate whether obesity unaccompanied by metabolic abnormalities was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across racial/ethnic subgroups in postmenopausal women. Additionally, we examined whether the use of the metabolic syndrome to define the metabolically healthy obese applied to the various racial/ethnic subgroups by quantifying the number and type of metabolic syndrome components. All women were classified by obesity level and metabolic health status at baseline. The women were thus categorized according to body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) into normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2) and obese (30.0 kg/m2) women. Metabolic health status was first defined by presence of the metabolic syndrome (yes/no), and second by number of metabolic syndrome components. In accordance with the International Diabetes Federation and the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute we defined the metabolic syndrome as any two of the following (criteria for women): increased waist circumference ≥80 cm; increased level of triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (≥1.7 mM); decreased level of HDL-C <50 mg/dL (<1.3 mM); increased blood pressure with either systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥85 mmHg, or treatment with antihypertensive drugs; and impaired fasting serum glucose ≥100 mg/dL (6.1 mM). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Schmiegelow: The study population comprised 14,364 women without diabetes or prior cardiovascular disease. The women had a median age of 64 years (interquartile range 57–69), and 47% were white, 36% were black and 18% were Hispanic. Over a median follow-up of 13 years (interquartile range 12–14 years), 1,101 women (7.7%) had a first cardiovascular event. The main findings of this study were that metabolic abnormalities appeared to confer more cardiovascular risk among black women than among white women. Consistent with other studies, among white women without the metabolic syndrome, obesity was not associated with increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight women. Conversely, black overweight and black obese women had increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight black women without the metabolic syndrome, even in absence of the metabolic syndrome. According to number of metabolic syndrome components, black overweight or obese women with just two metabolic abnormalities had increased risk of cardiovascular disease, although they would be considered “metabolically healthy” based on the standard definition, particularly since one of these abnormalities were abdominal obesity for 79% of overweight and 98% of obese women, irrespective of race/ethnicity. White obese women with three metabolic abnormalities did not have a statistically significantly increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight metabolically healthy women. Thus, cardiovascular disease risk appeared to be elevated in black women by the presence of only two or three metabolic abnormalities to a degree that would require four or more metabolic abnormalities among white women. These findings did not appear to be driven by any particular combination of metabolic abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Weight Research / 13.05.2015 Interview with: Martin Reinhardt, MD Postdoctoral Fellow PECRB, NIDDK, NIH Phoenix, AZ 85016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. ReinhardtIt can be very difficult for some people with obesity to lose weight despite great efforts. There is an immense deal of individual variability in weight loss success. Beyond differences in diet adherence, it is not clear what causes this variability in weight loss. Through a study conducted at our facilities at the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, Arizona, we have now shown that individual differences in biology – more precisely, differences in the amount of energy bodies use during fasting – make it difficult for certain obese people to lose weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Exercise - Fitness, Weight Research / 13.05.2015 Interview with: Edward "Ted" Weiss, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Saint Louis University Saint Louis MO Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Weiss:  Results from one of our previous study yielded a surprising result that diet-induced weight loss improved insulin sensitivity (major diabetes risk factor) by the same amount as exercise induced weight loss. We thought that the exercise-induced weight loss would have yielded benefits from the weight loss itself but also from a weight loss-independent benefit that has been reported in other studies. One explanation for dietary restriction providing the same benefit of exercise was that it also provides benefits besides those that are attributable to weight loss. Our recently completed/published study was designed to evaluate this possibility and the finding do suggest what we hypothesized... i.e. that dietary restriction provides benefits above and beyond that which are attributable to weight loss. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 12.05.2015 Interview with: Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE, FAfN, RNutr (Public Health) Ashwell Associates Ashwell, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford Brookes University

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings from this study?

Dr. Ashwell: In this study, the authors explore the differences in CVD risk factors between overweight and non-overweight people (by BMI) according to their shape (waist-to-height ratio -WHtR) Data for their analysis was taken from the Health Survey for England 2009 (HSE). They found significant differences in levels of total cholesterol (TC) and glycat­ed haemoglobin (HbA1c—a measure of blood sugar control used to diagnose diabetes). Out of 2917 people aged 16 years and over, 346 classified as ‘normal’ by BMI, have WHtR exceeding 0.5 (12% of the total,sample, or 34% of normal weight people). These could be called non-overweight ‘apples’, who have a lot of fat around the waist but not a high BMI. The researchers classified the HSE population into four groups (2×2) using standard boundary values of BMI (above or below 25kg/m2) and WHtR (above or below 0.5). The group with ‘low/normal BMI but high WHtR (non-overweight ‘ap­ples’) had significantly higher mean TC than the group with high BMI but low WHtR (overweight ‘pears’—people with a higher than normal BMI but less fat around the waist): 5.73mmol/L vs. 4.98mmol/L. Similarly, HbA1c levels were higher among non-over­weight ‘apples’ than among overweight ‘pears’ (5.62% vs. 5.33%). These differences were similar and also significant in both sexes.

MedicalResearch: Why do you say that piece so string can be used for primary screening?

Dr. Ashwell: Since a good boundary value for waist-to-height ratio is 0.5, you don't even need a tape measure to screen those at risk. It can be done with a piece of string. Measure the height of child with string, fold it in half and see if it fits around his/her waist.   If it doesn't, that child should proceed to the next stage of screening. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 12.05.2015

Matthew Interview with: Matthew Pearce NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite evidence to suggest that the prevalence of childhood obesity in the UK has stabilized in recent years, we know that approximately one in five children start their school life either overweight or obese, increasing to one in three children by the last year in primary school. Our research was the first to undertake an in-depth analysis on the UK’s National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and retrospectively track the weights of individual children over a 7-year period. Our study included a sample of 1863 children in South Gloucestershire, Bristol in the UK. Our results were found to be similar to cross sectional data with obesity prevalence approximately doubling between the first (4/5yrs old) and last year (10/11yrs old) of primary school. Our findings provide little reassurance that those children who are obese in early childhood ‘grow out of ’ excess adiposity. Including overweight, we found that 84% of obese children at Reception year went on to be either overweight or obese by Year 6. Although previous studies have failed to identify any significant differences in BMI change between boys and girls during mid-childhood, our research found that more boys than girls dropped a weight category (from overweight or obese) by the time they reached Year 6. We found that the odds ratios of being overweight (BMI ?85th percentile) or obese (?95th percentile) based on BMI at Reception were similar to published literature. Our data found children who are within the upper range of the healthy weight category (75th–85th percentile) at Reception had an increased risk of being overweight or obese by the time they reach year 6. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 08.05.2015

Dr. Dragos Petrescu Department of Public Health and Primary Care Interview with: Dr. Dragos Petrescu Department of Public Health and Primary Care Cambridge Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is a major contributor to obesity, particularly in children. Recent systematic reviews provide good evidence that reducing portion size reduces consumption. Similarly, evidence suggests that container shapes and product placement in supermarkets can influence consumption. The public acceptability of "nudging" -- altering properties such as the size, the shape, and location of sugar-sweetened beverages -- to improve public health is unknown. Here we compared the acceptability in UK and USA samples of government interventions to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages: three nudge interventions (limiting portion size, changing container shape, and changing shelf location) and two traditional interventions (increased taxation and an education campaign). We found that for the majority of UK and USA samples, the education campaign and the three nudge interventions were acceptable, with education attracting most support.  By contrast, only a minority of participants supported taxation. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Weight Research / 08.05.2015 Interview with: Claudia Sikorski Dr. rer. med. Claudia Sikorski, Dipl.-Psych. Institut für Sozialmedizin, Arbeitsmedizin und Public Health (ISAP) Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health Universität Leipzig, Medizinische Fakultät Leipzig Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity is a highly stigmatized condition. People with obesity are often regarded a lazy, slow and sloppy. One consequence of these negative attitudes may be discrimination, e.g. the unfair treatment of individuals with obesity. This study, conducted by Jenny Spahlholz, myself and colleagues reviews observational and experimental studies that investigated the occurrence and nature of discrimination in obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 08.05.2015 Interview with: Rebecca Jones, MSPH Nutrition and Health Sciences Program Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Emory University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity in children is associated with a wide range of conditions later in life including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Even prior to adulthood, children can be affected by a host of non-communicable diseases which are affected by weight status of the child. With an increase in children who are overweight or obese globally, Dr. Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, announced a new initiative to combat childhood obesity at the 2014 World Health Assembly. Within childhood obesity the pre-school (under age 5) years are a critical period for prevention due the association of adiposity rebound and obesity in later years as well as the early establishment of taste preferences and attitudes around healthy eating habits. Recent evaluation of incident obesity in the United States has demonstrated a component of the course to obesity is already established by the age of five years. Our main finding is the necessity for better surveillance and comparability of weight status, particularly overweight and obesity, in children under five across countries in the European region. 60% of countries within the region have some form of published data on this particular population however they vary based on level of national representation, cut-off criteria, age and gender. All these different factors can significantly change the prevalence estimates making it very difficult to ascertain the full nature of the problem. Based on the data which was available the European Region has reason for concern about overweight and obesity in young children. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, UCSD, Weight Research / 28.04.2015

Mark D. DeBoer, MD, MSc, MCR Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Interview with: Mark D. DeBoer, MD, MSc, MCR Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Virginia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DeBoer: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children watch no more than 2 hours of TV daily. We wanted to see if children watching shorter amounts of TV were more likely to have higher weight status. We found that children in kindergarten who watched 1-2 hours a day were more than 40% more likely to be overweight and obese and gained more unhealthy weight over the next year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 12.04.2015 Interview with: May May Leung Ph.D. Hunter College School of Urban Public Health, City University of New York School of Public Health New York, NY MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Leung: Shanghai and New York City are two urban centers that play a key role in the global economy. However, both cities are facing elevated rates and inequitable distributions of childhood obesity. Given the role that obesity plays in the etiology of chronic diseases, this epidemic calls for interurban learning to better understand some of its diet-related determinants. In turn, this paper attempts to explore how culture, history and politics have influenced the rates and distributions of childhood obesity in Shanghai and New York City, to inform public health officials as to what approaches could be taken to address the epidemic in ‘world cities’. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 10.04.2015 Interview with: Lisa J. Martin PhD Professor Division of Human Genetics Jessica G. Woo PhD Associate Professor Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity is a major public health concern. In the past 30 years, more and more children are being considered obese. Because treatment is challenging, researchers are looking toward prevention. The health benefits of breastfeeding over infant formula feeding are well recognized, including evidence that breastfeeding may protect against obesity. But, how much protection it provides and the reasons for protection are unclear. Thus, the purpose of this paper was to examine the relationship between breastfeeding and reduced risk of obesity later in life, with special emphasis on potential mechanisms. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: After reviewing more than 80 studies conducted over a period of 20 years, the authors showed that breastfeeding is associated with a 10 to 20 percent reduction in obesity prevalence in childhood. Mechanisms that connect human milk and infant physiology include maternal obesity, development of a healthy gut environment (microbiome) in the infant, and the development of taste preference and diet quality. Importantly, each of these mechanisms can be influenced by biologic and social factors which may directly and indirectly affect the child’s obesity risk. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Weight Research / 06.04.2015

Kimberly Gudzune, MD, MPH Assistant Professor; The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Core Faculty; Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research The Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Interview with: Kimberly Gudzune, MD, MPH Assistant Professor; The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Core Faculty; Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research The Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr.Gudzune: Changes in healthcare policy may encourage healthcare providers to screen their patients for obesity, so it is critical to then have a weight management plan if obesity is identified. Recent guidelines recommend that clinicians consider referring patients to high intensity weight loss programs. Commercial weight loss programs may be one of the options available, so providers need to know which programs help people lose weight and keep it off. We found that only 11 out of 32 programs that we looked at had rigorous studies reporting on weight loss, which means that we do not know whether most programs work. Several well-known commercial programs have been scientifically tested and two programs, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, achieved significant weight loss that was sustained 12 months later. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Stem Cells, Weight Research / 25.03.2015

Timothy J. Kieffer Ph.D. | Professor Laboratory of Molecular & Cellular Medicine Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences Department of Surgery | Life Sciences Institute The University of British Columbia Vancouver BC Canada Interview with: Timothy J. Kieffer Ph.D. | Professor Laboratory of Molecular & Cellular Medicine Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences Department of Surgery | Life Sciences Institute The University of British Columbia Vancouver BC Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kieffer: Previously we have examined the therapeutic potential of pancreatic precursor cells derived from human stem cells for insulin replacement in models of type 1 diabetes (PMID: 22740171 & PMID: 23771205). Here we sought to test the efficacy of cell-based insulin replacement in a model of type 2 diabetes, which is by far the most common form of diabetes. Key aspects of type 2 diabetes could be mimicked in immunodeficient mice, namely hyperglycemia and insulin resistance accompanied by excess body weight, by placing the mice on high fat diets. These diabetic mice were transplanted with human stem cell derived pancreatic precursor cells contained within macroencapsulation devices. The diabetic setting did not negatively impact the ability of the transplanted cells to mature into insulin-producing cells. Moreover, the cell transplants were able to significantly improve glucose homeostasis, particularly when combined with low doses of traditional anti-diabetic drugs. Intriguingly, the combined therapy also induced weight loss, such that treated mice were similar in weight to control mice reared on a low fat diet. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 24.03.2015

Abhishek Sharma MD (on behalf of all co-authors) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, New Interview with: Abhishek Sharma MD (on behalf of all co-authors) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, New York MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Authors: Heart failure (HF) is the second most common cause of hospitalization after child delivery in the US. In general, increasing degrees of obesity have been associated with progressively worse outcomes among individuals without known cardiovascular (CV) diseases. Therefore intentional weight loss, via structured dietary and exercise training programs or bariatric surgery, has been suggested to reverse hemodynamic and cardiac structural changes associated with obesity. However, several recent studies have reported lower mortality and morbidity among heart failure patients who were overweight or obese compared with those whose weight was normal or subnormal. This phenomenon has been commonly labeled the “obesity paradox” or “reverse epidemiology.” These findings question the prognostic significance of BMI and the practice of extrapolating findings derived from the general population to HF patients. Reasons for the association between BMI and all- cause and CV mortality and hospitalizations in HF are not fully understood. Due to contradictory results in various studies and lack of definitive data on prognostic value of BMI and its purposeful alteration in HF, the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association do not provide any firm recommendations for purposeful weight loss in heart failure. To further explore the relationship between obesity and outcome in heart failure patients, we systematically examined the association between BMI and all- cause mortality, CV mortality and hospitalizations among patients with chronic heart failure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 23.03.2015 Interview with: Tom Sanders, PhD DSc Emeritus Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division, King’s College London London, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sanders:  Controversy surrounds the effectiveness of dietary guideline for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in healthy middle-aged and older men and women. These dietary guidelines are similar in UK and other Western countries and focus on modifying the overall dietary pattern so that food and nutrient targets are met. However, surprisingly the overall impact of changing the dietary pattern has never been tested in a trial. We conducted a 12-wk controlled dietary trial in 165 healthy non-smoking men and women (aged 40-70 years) to compare a diet conforming to current dietary guidelines with a traditional nutritionally balance British diet on well established (blood pressure measured by 24-h ambulatory monitoring and blood lipids) and newer predictors of cardiovascular disease risk (measures of blood vessel functioning and stiffness, inflammation and the body’s sensitivity to insulin). The dietary guideline targets were to reduce total and saturated fat intake to provide no more than 35% and 10% of the food energy, to cut salt to below 6g/day, to meet the 5-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetables, to consume at least 1portions of oily fish a week (i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines), to obtain half of the cereal intake from wholegrains and to restrict intake of non-milk extrinsic sugar to no more than 10% energy. Subjects were counseled by a dietitian and provided with advice tailored to their individual food preferences and were provided with some foods to assist them following the dietary advice. The control diet was a nutritionally balanced traditional British diet without restriction on salt and sugar intake. It was based around refined cereals (white bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, white rice) and potatoes with meat (red meat, meat products or poultry), but with a limited intake of oily fish (less than once a month) and wholegrain cereals.  Participants allocated to control were supplied with a butter-based spread and a liquid unhydrogenated vegetable oil (palm olein) that contained 40 % saturated fatty acids. They were advised to consume three servings of full-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese), and at least one serving of fruit and two servings of vegetables each day. Both groups were given advice to limit consumption of confectionery, snack foods (chips, cake, cookies) and drink alcohol within safe limits. Food intake records showed few differences in micronutrient intakes between diets with the exception of vitamin D where the intake and plasma 25-OH-vitamin D levels were greater on the dietary guidelines diet owing to the higher intake of oily fish. The average body weight in the group who followed the modified diet fell by 1.3 kg whilst that in the control group rose by 0.6 kg after 12 weeks, resulting in an overall difference in weight of 1.9 kg between the two groups; the equivalent difference in Body Mass Index (BMI) was 0.7 kg/m2 between the groups. Waist circumference was 1.7 cm lower in the dietary guidelines group compared to the control group. The drop-out rate was low, with 80 participants completing on the dietary guidelines diet and 82 on the control. Adherence to the dietary advice was confirmed both with dietary records and by measuring specific biomarkers in the participants’ blood and urine. The latter indicated an increase in potassium and fibre intake in the dietary group along with a drop in sodium (salt) and saturated fat and added sugar intake. However, total sugar intake remained unchanged owing to the increase in sugar intake from fruit. The primary outcomes were changes in day-time systolic blood pressure, endothelial function measured using the flow mediated dilation technique and total cholesterol: HDL cholesterol ratio. All other outcomes were secondary or exploratory outcomes. Significant falls in systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure of 4.2/2.5 mm Hg for daytime and 2.9/1.9 mm Hg for night time were measured in the dietary group compared with the control group; the average heart rate was found to have lowered by 1.8 beats per minute. Causal mediated effects analysis based on urinary sodium excretion indicated that sodium reduction explained 2.4 mm Hg (95% CI 1.0, 3.9) of the fall in blood pressure There were no changes in endothelial dependent or endothelial independent vasodilation but arterial stiffness measured as carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity was 0. 29 m/sec lower on the dietary guidelines diet compared with the control diet. Total cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratio was 4% lower on the dietary guidelines diet compared to the control low density lipoprotein and triglyceride concentrations were 10% and 9% lower respectively. The reduction in LDL-C (0.30 mmol/L) was greater than that achieved in most community based studies of dietary advice where the average reduction is 0.16 mmol/L but still modest compared with what can be achieved with statins (1.0 mmol/L). Compared with the control diet, the dietary guideline diet decreased low-grade inflammation (C-reactive protein). No significant change was recorded in markers for 24-h insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity, which predicts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, University Texas, Weight Research / 22.03.2015

Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Nephrology Department of Medicine University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, Interview with: Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Nephrology Department of Medicine University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hazuda: The long-term effects of diet soda consumption on health outcomes is unclear, and studies in both humans and animals have raised concerns about their potentially harmful health effects including weight gain and increased cardiometabolic risk.  Most human studies have focused on middle-aged or younger adults, rather than focusing specifically on people 65 years and older, a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population that has a disproportionately high burden of cardiometabolic disease and associated healthcare costs.  Therefore, our study examined prospectively the association between diet soda intake and long-term change in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older (65+ years)  Mexican American and European American participants in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA). SALSA included a baseline examination (1992 – 1996) and three follow-up examinations (2000-2001, 2001-2003, and 2003-2004).  The total follow-up period averaged 9.4 years.  Diet soda intake, waist circumference (WC), height and weight were measured at each examination along with sociodemographic factors, leisure physical activity, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and length of follow-up. The main finding is that over the total 9.4-year SALSA follow-up period and after adjustment for multiple potential confounders, daily diet soda users (1+ diet sodas/day) experienced an increase in  waist circumference of 3.2 inches, while occasional diet soda users (>.05 < 1 diet soda/day) experienced a  waist circumference increase of 1.8 inches, and nonusers of diet soda experienced a WC increase of 0.8 inches.  Thus, there was a striking dose-response relationship between chronic diet soda intake and long-term increases in waist circumference. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 18.03.2015

Dr Rajeev Kumar Pathak MBBS, FRACP Cardiologist and Electrophysiology Fellow Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders | University of Adelaide Cardiovascular Investigation Unit | Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide Interview with: Dr Rajeev Kumar Pathak MBBS, FRACP Cardiologist and Electrophysiology Fellow Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders | University of Adelaide Cardiovascular Investigation Unit | Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity and atrial fibrillation (AF) are dual epidemics that frequently coexist. Weight-loss reduces atrial fibrillation burden; however, whether this is sustained, has a dose effect or is influenced by weight-fluctuation is not known. In this study we evaluated the  long-term impact of weight-loss and weight-fluctuation on rhythm control in obese individuals with atrial fibrillation. (more…)