Archive for Nutrition and obesity

An Apple A Day And Kidney Stones

Researchers have found another reason to eat well: a healthy diet helps prevent kidney stones. Loading up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains, while limiting salt, red and processed meats, and sweetened beverages is an effective way to ward off kidney stones.

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Obesity, diets, and social inequalities

The highest rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes are observed among groups with the lowest levels of education and income and in the most deprived areas. Inequitable access to healthy foods is one mechanism by which socioeconomic factors influence the diet and health of a population. As incomes drop, energy-dense foods that are nutrient poor become the best way to provide daily calories at an affordable cost. By contrast, nutrient-rich foods and high-quality diets not only cost more but are consumed by more affluent groups.

This article discusses obesity as an economic phenomenon. Obesity is the toxic consequence of economic insecurity and a failing economic environment.

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Research strategies for environmental and policy change on obesity, physical activity, and diet

Numerous authoritative reports have identified environmental and policy interventions as the most promising strategies for creating population-wide improvements in diet, physical activity, and obesity. Yet many methodologic challenges to conducting environmental and policy research must be overcome to enable this area of study to advance. A meeting titled “Study Designs and Analytic Strategies for Environmental and Policy Research on Obesity, Physical Activity, and Diet” was held April 8, 2008. The results of this conference is presented heres and can be used to improve the quality and quantity of environmental and policy research as well as the translation to action to control obesity.

Abstract or slides etc..

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Does a tax on junk food make sense?

The logic for a tax on fattening food may seem obvious. About one-third of Americans are obese, up from 15% in 1980. Fat people are more prone to heart disease, diabetes, bone disorders and cancer. An obese person’s annual medical costs are more than $700 greater than those of a comparable thin person. The total medical costs of obesity surpass $200 billion a year in America, which is higher than the bill for smoking.

But would a fat tax affect behaviour? Numerous studies have shown a relationship between the price of food, especially junk food, and body weight. As fast food has become relatively cheaper, so people have become fatter. A new paper* from the RAND Corporation, another think-tank, suggests that taxing calories could have a sizeable, if gradual, effect on people’s weight.

A new theoretical paper in the Journal of Public Economics even suggests that a tax on junk food could increase obesity, especially among physically active people. If junk food, which is quick and easy to obtain, becomes relatively dearer, people will spend more time shopping for fresh ingredients and preparing food at home. That could leave less time for exercise.

Read more in the Economist.

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Eating High Levels Of Fructose Impairs Memory In Rats

Researchers at Georgia State University have found that diets high in fructose — a type of sugar found in most processed foods and beverages — impaired the spatial memory of adult rats. They placed rats in a pool of water to test their ability to learn to find a submerged platform, which allowed them to get out of the water. They then returned them to the pool two days later with no platform present to see if the rats could remember to swim to the platform’s location. Those rats on a fructose diet can’t remember as well where the platform was when you take it away. They swam more randomly than rats fed a control diet.

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See also this story on high fat diets and memory loss.

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Addictive additives in food MAKE us eat more

According to David Kessler, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, over-eating might be due to the combination of fats, sugars and salt used by food manufactures to trigger a ‘bliss’ point in the human brain.

It’s time to stop blaming individuals for being overweight or obese,’ says Kessler. The real problem is we’ve created a world where food is always available and that it is designed to make you want more of it. For millions of us, modern food is impossible to resist.

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Soda Tax is not Fair to less fortunate people

Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, believes taxing soda fails to target obesity’s true causes — and is unfair to boot.

Drewnowski notes that soda consumption patterns in the general population correlate not just with obesity but with poverty, and that in focusing on the soda-obesity connection we fail to address other conditions associated with poverty, from sedentary lifestyles and television viewing to unemployment and “general hopelessness,” that contribute to weight gain.

“We should be looking at those things,” Drewnowski says. “That’s my complaint — why aren’t we?”

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The cost-effectiveness of removing TV advertising of high-fat and/or high-sugar food and beverages to Australian children

Although recognizing the limitations of the available evidence, restricting TV food advertising to children would be one of the most cost-effective population-based interventions available to governments today.

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Healthy free school lunch may result in weight gain in boys in 9th grade

A pilot project in Kristiansand in Norway aimed to study whether service of a free school lunch has an impact on weight development and food intake among pupils at a lower secondary school. A free healthy school lunch was served to 9th grade pupils over 4 months, from January to May 2007. Weight and height were measured before and after the intervention.

BMI did not increase among the girls at the intervention school, but increased significantly among the boys at the intervention school and among the control school groups.  Further studies are needed to clarify the impact of school meals on overweight and academic performance.

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A systematic review of weight gain prevention

Only 10 trials qualified for inclusion in this review. Existing trials varied by intensity, delivery methods, target groups and study components, and therefore provide limited opportunities for comparison of effect size. Five studies reported a significant difference in weight between intervention and control subjects of between 1.0 and 3.5 kg, due largely to an increase in weight in the control group. Further large, effective, evidence-based programmes are urgently needed in the general population as well as high-risk groups.

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