Posts tagged with genetics

Should Doctors Prescribe Weight Loss?

Posted on March 8, 2011 by 12 Comments

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prescriptionA recent study found that when people were told by their doctor that they needed to lose weight for their health, they took the advice seriously and were willing to take action. Unfortunately, the study also found a large number of doctors didn’t mention an overweight or obese patient’s weight at all, possibly leading their patient to believe it wasn’t a health issue.

The study, published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, asked 7,790 adults between the ages of 20 and 64 who had their body mass index measured if their doctor had ever mentioned their weight. Shockingly, only 45 percent of overweight and 66 percent of obese participants reported that their doctors had ever brought up the subject.

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Could You Have The “Addiction” Gene?

Posted on February 24, 2011 by 4 Comments

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addictionA new study linking a family history of alcoholism and obesity raises the question: Are addictions to alcohol and food connected?

The study by Washington University in St. Louis researchers looked at addiction and obesity trends from a national survey conducted in 1991 and 1992 and in 2001 and 2002, and found that women with a family history of alcoholism were 49 percent more likely to be obese than those without a family history of alcoholism. Men with a family history of alcoholism were also more likely to be obese, to a lesser degree.

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Why is Obesity Increasing So Much?

Posted on December 13, 2010 by 12 Comments

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scaleIt’s no secret that as a society, Americans and other industrialized nations are getting heavier and obesity rates are skyrocketing compared to generations past. But have you ever wondered why this is happening?

It’s something I think about all of the time, and here is what I believe: Like obesity itself, there are multiple causes that together add up to create the crisis.

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Can Medicine End Obesity?

Posted on November 29, 2010 by 3 Comments

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medicationIn recent weeks, the weight loss drug sibutramine (Meridia) has been pulled from the market due to an increased risk of heart attacks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also failed to approve lorcaserin (Lorqess), because of a possible cancer connection, as well as phentermine/topiramate (Qnexa), because of possible health risks, including birth defects and heart problems. This has left some declaring that science should stop looking to medications to help with the battle of the bulge.

I strongly disagree. While I do support possibly dangerous medications being taken off the table, I by no means think we should completely abandon the search for a possible pharmaceutical solution to the obesity epidemic.

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Spice Up Your Metabolism

Posted on November 4, 2010 by 3 Comments

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Green chili peppersCall it nature’s outdated survival plan. Anytime one tries to cut calories in an attempt to lose weight, the body responds by slowing metabolism to closer match calorie intake and to prevent weight loss.

Of course, in times when humans lived as hunter-gatherers and a steady supply of food was never a guarantee, this mechanism worked very well in helping one survive until the next meal could be found or caught. In fact, at one time, being able to gain weight quickly and hold onto it was a distinct genetic advantage!

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Could Your Genes Be Affecting Your Weight?

Posted on October 28, 2010 by 5 Comments

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family exerciseTwo recent studies linking obesity, appetite, and the tendency to gain weight to certain genes support something that I have suspected for some time – that the familiar “calories-in and calories-out” mantra only tells part of the obesity story. Another part that we’re only beginning to understand is the role genetics and other factors play in body weight.

Here’s the gist of the studies, which were published in Nature Genetics: One reviewed 46 previous studies on the topic of genes and weight and found 18 new genetic regions associated with BMI (body-mass index), as well as confirmed 14 genetic regions previously linked to metabolism, appetite, and other weight gain factors. The second study reviewed 32 previous studies and found links between 13 genes and a genetic tendency to gain weight around the abdomen, which greatly increases risk of  metabolic syndrome and conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The bottom line of both studies: The more of these genes a person had, the more likely he or she was to struggle with weight.

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