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…)
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…)