Archive for May, 2013

Employer Wellness Rules Bar Health Discrimination

May 31, 2013 — Final employer wellness rules issued this week by the Obama administration make one thing very clear: wellness programs must not be “a subterfuge for discriminating based on a health status factor.” Under these rules, the maximum penalty an employer can impose for not meeting wellness goals rises from 20% to 30% of an employee’s medical […]

Here’s Why Obesity Treatment and Prevention Are Inseparable

May 30, 2013 — New data published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences adds yet more evidence that obesity treatment and prevention go hand in hand. A team of researchers at Laval University showed that genes associated with obesity are suppressed in children born to a mother after she had obesity surgery. The result: […]

Paying for Obesity but Not Its Treatment

May 29, 2013 — Some health officials are so busy paying for obesity — in the form of diseases it causes — that they have no money to pay for treating obesity. Here’s how one put it in a recent interview on National Public Radio: Most of the discussion in our state is how do we provide the kind […]

Obesity: Free Will, Biology, and Community

May 28, 2013 — Philosophers and theologians have debated free will throughout human history. These debates creep into dialog about obesity, bringing bias to obesity-related research and policy. It’s pretty clear individual choices play a role in obesity. But perhaps equally important are biological factors that vary from person to person. Likewise community (or environmental) factors govern our choices […]

Obesity in the Emergency Department

May 27, 2013 — The emergency department is where two broken pieces of healthcare meet: obesity and poor access to care. Two recent studies illustrate the results of a phenomenon that weight bias researchers have documented for some time. People with obesity face an attitude from some healthcare professionals that verges on contempt. As a result, they avoid seeking […]

Another New Obesity Drug in 2014?

May 26, 2013 — The Danish maker of diabetes drugs, Novo Nordisk, said this week that their new obesity drug, liraglutide, could be ready by the end of 2014. Some business analysts are skeptical about the commercial potential of liraglutide in obesity because of modest efficacy — a view that the company rejects. In new clinical trial results from […]

A First Peek at Obamacare Costs in California

May 25, 2013 — As we prepare to plunge into a new world with most of Obamacare taking hold in 2014, lots of hand-wringing about Obamacare costs is coming from all quarters. For months now, headlines have been filled with dire predictions like this one from Forbes: “A Temporary Insurance Program Foretells Exploding Obamacare Costs.” But this week, we got […]

Obesity Matches Alcohol For Liver Disease

May 24, 2013 — A large new study presented at the International Liver Conference shows that the absolute risk for liver disease from obesity is similar to heavy alcohol consumption and that the two together are deadly. William Rosenberg, senior researcher on the study, said that with obesity, “the damage that you do to yourself by drinking is much […]

Whose Fault Is Obesity?

May 23, 2013 — News about obesity is filled with speculation about what causes obesity, who is at fault for the problem, and often personal responsibility. Dialogue about obesity is stuck between seeking a  perfect villain at fault for spiraling obesity rates and personal responsibility as a total solution to obesity. Martin Binks recently published an excellent reflection on the quest […]

Sugar vs Obesity: Looking for the Culprit in Diabetes

May 22, 2013 — A study published recently in PLoS One suggests the availability of sugar at the population level is a significant statistical determinant of type 2 diabetes prevalence rates, independent of its role in obesity. In looking at obesity levels and sugar availability levels in different countries around the world and controlling for other factors, the study’s […]