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Obesity Is Now Officially a Disease – So Will Things Get Better (or Might They Become Even Worse?)

Published on June 26, 2013,

The American Medical Association voted last week to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. Obesity is certain a spectacular issue but will this move from the AMA help make things better? Here’s how some leading commentators from the low carb community have responded, after an extract of the news as reported in the LA Times…

Picture of an Obese Teenager (146kg/322lb) wit...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The nation’s leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes.

In the end, members of the AMA’s House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.

More at:  AMA declares obesity a disease

Here’s some thoughts from the Diet Doctor…

Personally I don’t look at obesity as a disease. I see obesity as a symptom of a disturbed weight regulation, which is often due to a hormonal problem. Most commonly having way too much insulin in the blood. Obese people often have 5 – 10 times normal levels of insulin. But there are many other possible problems that can also lead to the symptom of obesity.

Thus obesity is a symptom of a disease. The underlying disease is often metabolic syndrome, resulting in too much fat-storing insulin. The cause of metabolic syndrome is often decades of eating too much sugar and other processed junk carbohydrates.

More at:  Obesity is Now a Disease, Says AMA

And then from Dr William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, who sees an even more worrying possibility…

Obesity advocacy groups hailed the decision as a major victory. AMA Board Member, Dr. Patrice Harris, said, “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.” Joseph Nadglowski, president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, a non-profit obesity advocacy group, felt that identifying obesity as a disease may also help in reducing the stigma often associated with being overweight.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? Let unstigmatize obesity. Let’s not blame the victim. Let’s get these people help when and where they need it.

Step back a second. How and why did this happen?

Well, it’s hard to know how the internal discussions at the AMA went until we get a look at the transcripts. But let’s take a look at the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). I believe it tells the whole story.

The OAC Board of Directors is filled with bariatric surgeons, such as Drs. Titus Duncan and Lloyd Stegemann, people who make a living from procedures and surgeries like gastric bypass and lap-band. The largest contributors to the OAC? Eisai Pharmaceuticals, maker of BELVIQ, the new drug for weight loss; Ethicon EndoSurgery, makers of laparoscopic operating room supplies; Vivus, Inc., another obesity drug maker; the American Society for Bariatric Surgeons; and Orexigen, developer of the combination drug naltrexone-buproprion for weight loss, now in FDA application stage. (Recall that naltrexone is the opiate blocking drug taken by heroin addicts but now being proposed to be gain approval for weight loss.)

In other words, while it is being cast as something being done for the public good, the motivation is more likely to be . . . money: Bariatric surgeons gain by expanding the market for their procedures to patients who previously did not have insurance coverage for this “non-disease”; operating room supply manufacturers will sell more equipment for the dramatically increased number of surgical procedures; obesity drug manufacturers will have the clout to pressure health insurers to cover the drugs for this new disease.

More at:  The monetization of obesity

I’ve Backed ‘Cereal Killers – The Movie’ – What About You?

Published on June 18, 2013,

A new film is being put together following 41 year old Irish man on his quest to avoid the heart disease and diabetes that has afflicted his family. The film features some noted personalities who have appeared on this site including Professor Tim Noakes and Dr John Briffa. It sets out to show that everything we have been taught about nutrition is the wrong way round and looks into the vested interests behind the myths that suggest carbohydrates are good and fats are bad. The film has been made and now there is a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the final touches and launch. I’ve backed the project – have a look at this and see if you fancy ‘starting a storm’ too…

(please refresh page if video does not appear…)

See more about the project at the Kickstarter page - you can help by pledging less than the cost of your morning coffee!

Cereal Killers backer

Twelve Minutes’ Exercise Per Week ‘Enough To Improve Health’ If You Do It The Right Way…

Published on June 7, 2013,

A new study into high intensity exercise suggests just 12 minutes of intensive exercise per week is enough to improve your health if you are overweight. This is from the Telegraph…

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Four-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise such as running on a treadmill, three times a week are enough to increase fitness, researchers found.

Overweight volunteers who undertook the regime for 10 weeks increased their body’s oxygen uptake – a measure of fitness – by 10 per cent and saw small decreases in their blood pressure and glucose levels.

Health guidelines generally state that we should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in order to stay healthy.

But the new study suggests that just 12 minutes of high-intensity exercise, spread out across three sessions, could be enough to keep us fit and healthy, researchers said.

The team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim studied the effects of different exercise regimes on 24 men who were overweight but otherwise healthy.

Three times a week for 10 weeks, the men undertook bouts of “vigorous” exercise, which involved running on a treadmill at a speed which raised their heart rate to 90 per cent of its maximum capacity.

For half of the men the regime involved simple four-minute sessions, three times a week, while the other half completed three sixteen-minute sessions, each of which was divided into four-minute segments.

Despite carrying out different amounts of exercise, the results for the two groups were strikingly similar.

Oxygen uptake – the amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise – increased by 10 per cent in the four-minute group, and by 13 per cent in the sixteen-minute group.

Blood pressure and glucose levels lowered by similar amounts in both groups, but the more intensive sixteen-minute sessions was more effective at lowering cholesterol and body fat.

Writing in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, the researchers said that such improvements could lower the risk of death from conditions like heart disease and stroke.

“These data suggest that it may be possible to reduce cardiovascular mortality with substantially less exercise than is generally recommended, provided it is performed in a vigorous manner,” they wrote.

The researchers said the exercises could easily be incorporated into a daily regime, for example by walking quickly up six to ten flights of stairs or by walking up a hill with an eight to 10 per cent gradient.

More at:  Twelve minutes’ exercise per week ‘enough to stay fit’

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