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Aug 12

The Freshman 15 Is ‘Graduation Season Click-Bait’ – NBC News –

It seems all graduating high school seniors know about the freshman 15. You may have heard about this infamous 15 pound weight gain from your friends, the media, maybe even a nutrition class in school. Its time to set the record straight and stop perpetuating this myth.

The freshman 15 is not real. Its #fakenews. Graduation season click-bait.

Heres what you need to know:

It is true that some young men and women do gain weight freshman year. Current North American studies suggest the average gain is 7.5 pounds, with only 10 percent of students gaining 15 pounds or more. Studies also suggest weight gain is not really a spike in the first year, but a slow accumulation of weight during the college experience and after graduation. Finally, the risk of weight gain seems higher in men than women.

More from Parent Toolkit: 8 Life Skills Your Teen Needs Before Moving Out

Often not discussed is that the same stress and expectations that can make one individual gain weight, can trigger the opposite effect in others. In fact, 15 percent of students actually lose weight during the first year. This timing correlates with peak disordered eating behaviors at 18-21 years of life. Strict dieting and unhealthy food relationships can lead to significant, unhealthy weight loss. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of casual college dieters will develop a full-blown eating disorder.

These studies matter because it helps us re-frame what is normal. As we head off to college, its important to know what our healthy long-term weight actually is. From that target weight range, it is easier to appreciate natural fluctuations in weight that occur as part of our life experience, and to choose healthy means of weight loss or gain if we notice a significant change to our target goal.

Although its easy to give the finger wag to high-calorie alcoholic drinks, moderate drinking in college is not associated with weight gain. Important note: Drinking alcohol in college is associated with other significant problems. Before you choose to drink, read up on your risks. It is true that many alcoholic beverages are high-calorie; but so are sodas, juices, and fancy coffee drinks. Weight gain can come from drinking too many calories, regardless of what type of drink it may be.

More from Parent Toolkit: How to Let Go

In addition to simple liquid calories, researchers have suggested many other reasons for college weight gain. Lack of parental oversight to food choices; cheap, high-calorie foods due to a limited budget; late night eating; moving away from routine athletics; side effects of drugs and alcohol (munchies, hangovers); cheap food availability; decreased quality college cafeteria foods; chronic stress; less sleep.

In short, the entire college experience.

Ultimately, there are not any tricks to maintaining your healthy goal weight. Remember that a lifetime of small decisions matter. Consistency and common sense over the long-term is what will contribute to success. Some weight-healthy habits include:

Visit Parent Toolkit to read the rest of this story.

Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP is a general pediatrician in Kansas City, MO and National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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The Freshman 15 Is 'Graduation Season Click-Bait' - NBC News -

Aug 10

Diet Doc Reminds Consumers that Gluten-Free Dieting is no ‘Golden Ticket’ for Weight Loss –

Salisbury, MD, Aug. 10, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) Gluten is a protein that is added to many pastas, cereals, breads and other processed carbs to maintain their form. It is most commonly found in grain-based products including wheat, rye and barley. Gluten-free diets have steadily risen in popularity as grocery store shelves become laden with gluten-free options, celebrities adopt the diet as a trend and the average consumer might assume that eating gluten-free will result in weight loss. However, there is no evidence that a gluten-free diet will result in weight loss for those who do not suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten is a trigger of the autoimmune disorder celiac disease, which appears to be hereditary. Diet Doc wants to remind consumers that gluten free dietings main purpose is to prevent the gastrointestinal distress and inflammatory reactions such as, fatigue, bloating, gas, migraines and others caused by gluten sensitivity. Gluten consumption for individuals without celiac disease might actually provide some health benefits. Especially since properly selected gluten-containing foods are packed with b-vitamins, fiber and minerals. Instead, Diet Doc offers practical and individualized diet plans to meet each patients weight loss, and optimal health requirements. Diet Docs team of will determine whether gluten-free dieting is necessary, and will put you on track to success.

New Diet Doc patients can call or easily and effortlessly visit to complete an initial comprehensive, yet simple, health questionnaire and schedule an immediate personal, no-cost consultation. Diet Doc Physicians all received specialized training in nutritional science and fast weight loss. Diet Doc reviews each patients health history to create a personalized diet plan geared for fast weight loss, or that addresses life-long issues causing weight loss to slow down or stop. Nutritionists work personally with each patient and use their own algorithm to craft meal and snack plans that are compatible with each patients age, gender, activity level, food preferences, nutritional needs and medical conditions. They combine these state of the art diet plans with pure, prescription diet products that enable their patients to resist the temptation to reach for sugary snacks, eliminate fatigue and curb the appetite. Over 97% of Diet Doc patients report incredible weight loss results with the majority losing 20 or more pounds per month.

At Diet Doc, all patients gain unlimited access to the best minds in the business. Their staff of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and coaches are available 6 days per week to answer questions, offer suggestions, address concerns and lend their professional guidance and support. Because of this, more and more people are turning to Diet Doc for their weight management needs. Diet plans are tailored to be specific to the needs of those of any age, gender, shape or size and for those who are struggling to lose that final 10-20 pounds to those who must lose 100 pounds or more. Call today to request a private, confidential, no-cost online consultation.

About the Company:

Diet Doc Weight Loss is the nations leader in medical, weight loss offering a full line of prescription medication, doctor, nurse and nutritional coaching support. For over a decade, Diet Doc has produced a sophisticated, doctor designed weight loss program that addresses each individual specific health need to promote fast, safe and long term weight loss.

Diet Doc Contact Information:

Providing care across the USA


San Diego, CA

(800) 581-5038







A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

GlobeNewswire, a Nasdaq company, is one of the world's largest newswire distribution networks, specializing in the delivery of corporate press releases financial disclosures and multimedia content to the media, investment community, individual investors and the general public.

Diet Doc Reminds Consumers that Gluten-Free Dieting is no 'Golden Ticket' for Weight Loss -

Aug 10

The 1 Very Clear Reason Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Skyrocketed 41% in July – Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of small-molecule drugs for the treatment of a variety of diseases, catapulted 41% during July, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The incredible surge in Arena's share price can be traced to the company's July 10 press release detailing its top-line results for a midstage study involving experimental drug ralinepag in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

As you can likely surmise by the 41% return shareholders were privy to in July, the phase 2 study involving ralinepag offered plenty of encouragement. The 61-patient phase 2 study demonstrated "a statistically significant absolute change from baseline in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) compared to placebo." It also showed a numerical improvement in six-minute walk distance.Overall, a 29.8% improvement in PVR was noted versus the placebo arm, and a 20.1% improvement relative to baseline. A statistically significant improvement in PVR was the primary efficacy endpoint of the study.

Image source: Getty Images.

Furthermore, the data showed that the safety profile of ralinepag was consistent with other prostacyclin treatments for the management of PAH, raising no warning flags with investors. The full study results are to be released at an upcoming scientific conference.

Nevertheless, the data was convincing enough that Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer Preston Klassen, M.D., had this to say: "It is exciting to see the positive nonclinical pharmacological profile translating into potentially the first oral prostacyclin therapy that may approach consistent therapeutic levels without the complexity of parenteral (IV) therapy. These data give us confidence to move expeditiously toward a Phase 3 clinical program."

Positive results from this midstage study are exactly the jolt in the arm shareholders needed after Arena threw in the towel on weight-loss drug Belviq earlier this year. Belviq was projected to verge on blockbuster sales status, but like other Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved weight-loss therapies, price and long-term use concerns worried consumers and physicians, limiting sales to just a fraction of their potential. Belviq was sold to Arena's marketing partner Eisai in January, leaving Arena looking for a fresh start.

Image source: Getty images.

The data from ralinepag in midstage studies is encouraging, and while the PAH landscape has plenty of competition, the inherent pricing power advantages offered to U.S.-based drug companies should still allow Arena plenty of opportunities to generate positive cash flow and profits from a possible FDA approval in a few years' time.

Arena also has etrasimod and APD371 in development. Two years ago, etrasimod delivered positive phase 1b results in treating various types of autoimmune disease, while APD371 is an oral drug focused on treating Crohn's disease. APD371 targets the CB2 receptors of the cannabinoid receptor system in our bodies, and it's one of a number of CB-receptor-targeting or cannabinoid-based drugs aiming to potentially replace opioids as a pain management tool.

Though Arena arguably has a lot going on clinically, it's also been consistently burning money for years. At this point, this Fool would prefer to see successful late-stage data in hand before even considering an investment in Arena.

Sean Williams has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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The 1 Very Clear Reason Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Skyrocketed 41% in July - Motley Fool

Aug 10

Exercise as a Weight-Loss Strategy – New York Times

So for the new study, which was published recently in the Journal of Endocrinology, scientists from Loughborough University in Britain and other institutions who have been studying exercise and appetite for years recruited 16 healthy, fit young men. (They did not include women because this was a small, pilot study, the authors say, and controlling for the effects of womens menstrual cycles would have been difficult.)

They separated the men into two groups, each of which would concentrate on one element of exercise.

The first group focused on intensity. To accomplish this, the scientists had the men visit the universitys performance lab on three separate occasions. During one, they sat quietly for several hours. During another, they ran on a treadmill at an easy jog, with their heart rates hovering at about 50 percent of their maximum capacity, for 55 minutes, until they had burned about 600 calories. On the final visit, they ran at a much more vigorous pace, around 75 percent of heart rate capacity, for 36 minutes, until they had again burned about 600 calories.

Throughout their workouts and for an additional few hours, the scientists drew blood to check for levels of a particular hormone, acylated ghrelin, that is thought to influence appetite. Generally, when acylated ghrelin levels rise, so does hunger. They also asked the men how hungry they felt.

Meanwhile, the scientists performed the same tasks with the second group of volunteers. But these mens workouts emphasized length. So, one day they ran for 45 minutes at a steady pace and on another, strode at the same pace, but for 90 minutes. During a final visit, they sat.

Then the scientists compared numbers. In general, exercise had lowered the mens levels of acylated ghrelin, compared to when they had sat continuously. The effects were especially pronounced when the exercise had been intense or long. Vigorous running had blunted acylated ghrelin production more than gentler jogging and longer runs more than briefer ones. The effects also had lingered longest when the exercise had been most protracted. More than an hour after their 90-minute run, most of the mens acylated ghrelin levels remained suppressed.

Interestingly, the mens subjective feelings of hunger had also been affected, but not in precisely the same fashion. After the 90-minute run, the men reported feeling less hungry than when they had sat around the lab, even an hour and a half later. But after the short, intense workout, the volunteers soon felt peckish, despite still having low levels of acylated ghrelin in their blood.

Over all, these findings reveal that our appetites certainly are strange, influenced by many factors besides exercise and acylated ghrelin levels. But the results also intimate that if we hope to have workouts reduce our appetite, we may wish to increase the intensity or, even more, the duration of each session.

Of course, this study was small and looked only at young men in good shape, says David Stensel, a professor of exercise metabolism at Loughborough University who oversaw the experiments. It also did not follow them to see whether, in the hours after their workouts, they replaced the calories they had burned.

In the future, the researchers hope to mount longer-term studies that include women, as well as older, sedentary and overweight people, to better understand how different types of exercise influence each groups hormones and hunger and to tease out the many physiological mechanisms involved.

But in the meantime, Dr. Stensel points out, we should exercise, whether or not the activity makes us thin. There are so many other reasons, irrespective of the effects on appetite, why exercise benefits health, he says.

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Exercise as a Weight-Loss Strategy - New York Times

Aug 8

Diet Soda Linked to Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss – Olive Oil Times

Millions of people drink diet sodas because of the belief that they help with weight loss. A new study has shown this conviction is a myth: the beverages actually promote weight gain. In addition, they are also linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

In the first few decades after artificial sweeteners debuted on the market, they were viewed as an easy method of reducing daily calorie intake. Products containing sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin, sold under the brand names of Splenda, Equal and Sweet N Low, were wildly popular. Diet sodas and desserts labeled sugar-free were eagerly snatched up at supermarkets because they were considered by many as a guilt-free way to indulge a sweet tooth.

While products containing artificial sweeteners continue to be widely used, in recent years, as research has indicated they may have adverse health effects, Americans are increasingly worried about their safety. A new review of studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal gives more cause for concern. It examined the chemicals long-term effects on health, and the results werent pretty.

Scientists at the University of Manitobas George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation looked at 37 studies that followed 406,000 users of artificial sweeteners for an average of 10 years. Seven of the studies were randomized clinical trials, the gold standard in research, which included 1,007 people who were followed for approximately six months.

Analysis of the data failed to prove either a short-term or a long-term benefit. The six-month trials didnt show that artificial sweeteners had a consistent weight loss effect. Moreover, the 10-year observation studies revealed links to modest gains in weight and body mass index, as well as increased waistline size, a problem associated with a heightened risk of several chronic diseases. The longer studies also showed an ominous connection to somewhat higher likelihoods of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.

Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products, said author Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management.

Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized, said lead author Meghan Azad, assistant professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products.

In an interview with Olive Oil Times, Carolyn Dean, medical doctor and naturopath, didnt mince words in giving her opinion about the research. She is a Medical Advisory Board Member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association.

This study, which exposes the false claims of synthetic sweeteners, should have the industry quaking in its boots. It was extremely comprehensive, including 11,774 citations. The results were the opposite of what the synthetic sweetener industry advertises. Every practitioner who recommends synthetic sweeteners should be informed that they are harming their patients.

We have to go back to a simple dietary restriction of sugars to achieve health rather than substituting synthetic sweeteners. These chemicals may be harmful in themselves and also give people a false sense that using them permits cheating with high caloric treats.

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Diet Soda Linked to Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss - Olive Oil Times

Aug 8

Changing view on weight loss changes results – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

I've accepted that many people don't want to meet with a dietitian. It's assumed that we're going to suggest eating bland, healthy, nutritious food, and avoiding all the tasty treats. Quite frankly, sometimes a version of that is true, causing a vicious cycle to occur. Clients are annoyed that they must give up the fun foods, and every follow-up appointment is a discussion about how they feel deprived and can't imagine another day without their drinks, sweets and fries.

This pattern leads to stress. People judge food as good and bad, are overwhelmed about food choices, feel frustrated that they can't eat treats and sweets and guilty when they eat something they're not supposed to. Everything about food, nutrition and health becomes stressful and unpleasant.

It's a tricky situation because dietitians truly don't want people to excessively eat sweets, fried foods and other goodies or drink too much alcohol or sweetened beverages. We want to support individuals in creating long-term behavior change and enjoying the experience. Typically, if people think they're on a diet, it rarely sticks for the long term.

To achieve the goal of nutrition, behavior change requires a shift in perspective.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal's TED talk, How to make stress your friend, sheds light on how one's perception of stress can be a game changer in creating sustainable behavior change.

She highlights a study in which researchers took close to 30,000 names from the 1998 National Health Interview Survey and looked at how they answered questions related to their stress levels, their perception of stress, and whether they try to reduce their stress. The researchers then used public health records to compare that information with mortality data through 2006. One finding was that neither amount of stress nor perception of stress alone was associated with a higher risk of death. But both of those factors together reporting a lot of stress and believing stress has a large effect on health did increase that risk.

Another study she describes is one in which participants were put in stressful situations and monitored on their physical response. One group was taught in advance to look at stress as positive. For example, they learned that an adrenaline rush helps them perform better. That group experienced fewer negative physical response symptoms. Their perception of stress decreased their internal stress response.

How can this support you in creating new nutrition habits?@body Living:

Here are some common stressful and unpleasant thoughts one can have while starting a healthy eating plan:

I hate being so restricted. How am I going to survive without my favorite food?

I'm not going to be able to have a social life! How am I going to fit in during social situations? What am I going to eat at that party?

I hate this. Why do I have to struggle like this? Why does this have to be so difficult?

This is terrible. I hate vegetables, eating healthy and eating like this. This is never going to work.

I'm hungry, I'm tired, I can't keep a thought. Eating like this feels uncomfortable.

What if you looked at the experience differently? What if you embraced the difficulty of changing your lifestyle and had pleasant thoughts about the new healthy body you could have? What if the stress of it all didn't have to feel so difficult? It's stressful, but that may not be a bad thing.

Some examples to strategize this new perspective:

Set a pleasant tone. You're sitting down for lunch and it's a meal in line with your new healthy lifestyle. The plate is full of vegetables, healthy fats, protein and fiber, and you tell yourself, This is going to make me feel energized, lean and healthy!

Enjoy some treats. When people start eating healthily, they often go all out and eliminate all their favorite foods, leading to deprivation and stress. Enjoy a treat from time to time. Keep it in appropriate proportion and enjoy once or twice a week.

Remember to take a breath. When you're walking into a social situation and aren't sure how to eat, stop for just a moment and take a breath. Find people you enjoy spending time with so you can laugh and have a good conversation. Make the best decisions you can and enjoy the night.

Create tools for success. Often when people go on diets, they undereat and get so hungry they feel physically and emotionally stressed. Caloric deprivation isn't necessary. Have food prepped and planned so you're always prepared. Stay consistent with your meal timing to keep you full and satisfied through the day.@body Living:

Eating better can be quite pleasant. Learning how to view the process to your advantage not only supports you in reaching your goals, but makes the experience so much more enjoyable. McGonigal says, When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. Consider eating healthier as a brave act.

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Changing view on weight loss changes results - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Aug 8

Why exercising for weight loss just doesn’t work –

Right, before we get going, a disclaimer:exercise is one of the most powerful ways to take control of your health. Not only can it prevent heart disease, strokes, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers and cancer, it has been shown to help with depression, insomnia and stress. So exercise is good for you and you should go for a run as soon as you've finished this article.

However ...when it comes to weight loss, exercise is no silver bullet.

There are two reasons why I say this.The first is physiological. Recent studies suggestthat it just isnt as simple as doing more exercise to lose weight. Both physical activity and diet are important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight,according to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health,and a co-author of an authoritative study of the topic. Diet plays more of a role in weight loss than exercise or to borrow Dr Willetts words: you cant out train a bad diet.

The advice for a long time has been to eat less, and do more; many health professionals are now calling this mantra into question. The simple fact of the matter is: if you increase your levels of exercise you will need to eat more. In the short term you may get some limited weight loss results from limiting your calorific intake, but the benefits, like the method, are completely unsustainable.

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Why exercising for weight loss just doesn't work -

Aug 7

Staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy – Centre Daily Times (blog)

The days are getting shorter, students are preparing for the fall semester and in a few weeks fans will pack Beaver Stadium for the first football weekend. August marks the unofficial beginning of the end of summer, but it also marks the start of the Physical Activity and Heart Walk Month.

About 2 in 3 American adults and 1 in 3 American children are overweight or obese, and the number continues to grow. Only about 22 percent of American adults meet the federal physical activity recommendations for aerobic and strengthening activity. About 1 in 3 adults participates in no leisure time physical activity at all. Worldwide, physical inactivity (35 percent) is now more prevalent than smoking (26 percent) and is responsible for more deaths. Those are just some of the reasons the AHA focuses on the importance of physical activity, like walking, this month.

Staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy, look and feel better and live longer. The AHA recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Doing so can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, help to better manage stress and sleep and improve overall health and well-being. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week is a simple way to achieve this weekly goal. That can even be broken down into a few sessions of 10 minutes each throughout the day.

Physical activity and a healthy diet are important factors in maintaining an ideal body weight. Gaining even a little weight over time may alter the structure and function of heart muscle, affecting long-term risk of heart failure, according to new research published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the AHA/American Stroke Association.

Researchers followed 1,262 adults (average age 44, 57 percent women, 44 percent black, 36 percent obese) who were free from heart disease and other conditions that put them at high risk for heart disease for seven years. Participants had MRI scans of their hearts and multiple body fat measurements at the start of the study and then seven years later.

Researchers found those who gained weight:

even as little as 5 percent, were more likely to have thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle, well-established indicators of future heart failure;

were more likely to exhibit subtle decreases in their hearts pumping ability; and

were more likely to exhibit changes in heart muscle appearance and function that persisted even after the researchers eliminated other factors that could affect heart muscle performance and appearance, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use.

Any weight gain may lead to detrimental changes in the heart above and beyond the effects of baseline weight so that prevention should focus on weight loss or if meaningful weight loss cannot be achieved the focus should be on weight stability, said Dr. Ian Neeland, study senior author and a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Counseling to maintain weight stability, even in the absence of weight loss, may be an important preventive strategy among high-risk individuals.

The researchers caution that their study was relatively small and their findings do not mean that every person with weight gain will necessarily develop heart failure. The results do suggest that changes in weight may affect heart muscle in ways that can change the organs function.

The Heart Walk is the AHAs biggest event for raising funds to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than a million people in more than 300 cities across the United States, including State College, are joining Heart Walks to take a stand against heart disease and stroke and help us all be Healthy For Good.

The 2017 Centre Heart Walk and 5K Run will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. with the walk/run starting at 9:30 a.m. To register in advance, visit

For additional information on local Heart Association efforts, contact Division Director Brooke Welsh at 717-730-1713.

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Staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy - Centre Daily Times (blog)

Aug 4

Wall Street rallies behind Oprah Winfrey as Weight Watchers’ stock soars after earnings beat – CNBC

Call it the Oprah Winfrey effect.

Shares of Weight Watchers were climbing more than 15 percent in premarket trading Friday, after the New York-based company reported earnings that topped Wall Street expectations and raised its outlook for the full year.

Ever since Winfrey associated herself with the brand back in 2015, Weight Watchers has been going up and up, following years of declines.

"There's no doubt that the Weight Watchers' long-term collaboration with Oprah Winfrey has certainly accelerated the company's progress since October 2015 with high awareness of her success and happiness with the program sparking interest and excitement," CEO Mindy Grossman said on Thursday's earnings conference call.

"I'm personally looking forward to partnering with her as we transform the brand and business."

The diet program's subscribers climbed 20 percent in the second quarter, helping drive sales 12 percent higher, to $342 million, from a year ago.

Earnings came in at 67 cents per share, adjusted, topping analysts' estimates of 51 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. And Weight Watchers now anticipates earnings per share to fall within $1.57 to $1.67 for the full year, "reflecting continued momentum."

Grossman just began leading the company in July, coming over from an 11-year stint at shopping network HSN. On Thursday, she told analysts and investors that more and more of Weight Watchers' customers are viewing the company as a "lifestyle-oriented, more modern and relevant brand."

Notably, Grossman has experience working with other big-name brands Nike, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

Now Weight Watchers' biggest cheerleader, Winfrey bought a 10 percent stake in the diet company back in 2015, when the stock was trading around $6 apiece. Shares closed Thursday at $33.08.

As of Thursday's close, shares of Weight Watchers have climbed a whopping 189 percent since the start of the year. The stock is up about 51 percent over the past three months.

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Wall Street rallies behind Oprah Winfrey as Weight Watchers' stock soars after earnings beat - CNBC

Aug 4

The obesity paradox: Why being fit may be more important than losing weight – Genetic Literacy Project

Its one of the paradoxes of the health community: slightly overweight people can be healthier than those with trim bodies. And being skinny can be just as dangerous, or worse, than being fat.

How could that be?

Harvard Medical School estimates that more than300 million people worldwide are obese (defined as having a body mass index [BMI] >/= 30). And this matters because being obese presents a risk to your health and ultimately, an increased likelihood of dying early.

Except its not as simple as that. Take, for example, a study by the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit organization in Dallas, that looked at body composition and fitness levels in 22,000 men, ages 30to83. Over the course of the eight study years, 428 participants died. Whats interesting is that those who were overweight and fit were two times less likely to have died than those who were lean and fit. There was also no significant difference in the overall death rates (the all-cause mortality) between the overweight fit men and the lean fit men.

So perhaps the pursuit of health should be directed away from a singular focus on body composition toward fitness over fatness.

Mortality is a U-shaped curve

What came out of reports a few years ago was something called theobesity paradoxor sometimes reverse epidemiology. What the data show are that those who are either at the low side of the weight curve or the very high side are at increased risk of death. Those who are slightly overweight have a 6percentlower risk of death than their normal weight peers. These factors were shown to be particularly important incertain groups of people, such as very elderly individuals or those with certain chronic diseases. It further postulates that normal to low body mass index or normal values of cholesterol may be detrimental and associated with higher mortality in asymptomatic people.

A 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found similar results to the Cooper Institute data, determining that fitness, rather than body weight alone, was the stronger predictor of health. An earlier study of 2014 men followed over a 16-year period found that physical fitness appears to be a predictor of mortality from cardiovascular disease in healthy men and a high level of fitness was also associated with lower mortality from any cause. These results are further corroborated by another study that tested the prognostic capacity of exercise capacity by following 6,213 men who were referred for exercise testing, concluded that exercise capacity wasthe most powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), even among other risk factors for CVD.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Harvard researchers looking at a longitudinal study of nurses that included data on both weight and activity level also found that activity level attenuated some of the effects of being overweight. But those data also suggested that the nurses who were overweight or obese tended to have a higher mortality rate; however, this particular study wasnt designed to capture robust fitness measures or body composition, simply self-reports from the study participants of activity level and their weight.

Research published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease reported:

Overweight and obese-fit individuals had similar mortality risks as normal weight-fit individuals. Furthermore, the obesity paradox may not influence fit individuals. Researchers, clinicians, and public health officials should focus on physical activity and fitness-based interventions rather than weight-loss driven approaches to reduce mortality risk.

BMI has tended to be a rather poor measure of health or relative fitness, based on its agnosticism of muscle content and other physiological indices. While it can serve as a quick heuristic as a short-hand measure for the average of a population, it has almost no measurement precision for individual cases where it matters most. Its more like weighing your vehicle to estimate that it has enough fuel to cover a set distance there are so many other factors that could impact the result (e.g., other additional passengers, insufficient coolant level, low tire pressure). The issue is that incorporating BMI, and not more accurate body composition analyses, into research studies on weight, fitness, and longevity adds to the error rate of the results due to the imprecision of the BMI formula at measuring physiological indices.

Weight loss itself appears to not offer the same effects as improving fitness

Another study found that those who are overweight or obese in middle age have a higher risk of hospitalization and mortality from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes compared to those who are normal weight. Keep in mind that this study did not consider activity level, so weight is considered in isolation without the moderating variable of fitness.

Additionally, the NEJM reported on a long-term analysis of the effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease in those with type 2 diabetes. They concluded, An intensive lifestyle intervention focusing on weight loss did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes.

Instead of a pure focus on weight, an approach that includesand favorsfitness provides the greatest opportunity to increase survival.

Ben Locwin is a behavioral neuroscientist and astrophysicist with a masters in business, and a researcher on the genetics of human disease. BIO. Follow him on Twitter @BenLocwin.

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The obesity paradox: Why being fit may be more important than losing weight - Genetic Literacy Project

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