Archive for August, 2014

Lose Weight by Public Transit?

August 23, 2014 — Does public transit have one more benefit you can add to an already significant list? A new study in The BMJ finds that people who commute to work on public transit have a significantly lower BMI and less body fat than people who drive. This difference — a bit shy of a full BMI point — can’t be […]

Rich or Poor, Fit or Fat — Beware Generalizations

August 22, 2014 — A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine brings out some dangerous generalizations about people who are rich or poor, fit or fat. It starts with generalizations by the investigators that their data can’t really support. Then The Atlantic amplifies it with a provocative headline that straddles a line between condescending and offensive: Rich People Exercise, Poor […]

Obesity Treatment Strategy Like Putting Sunscreen on Melanoma

August 21, 2014 — The current focus of obesity treatment strategy “is like putting sunscreen on melanoma — it’s too late.” Those words came from Zafgen CEO Tom Hughes when describing the relentless insistence in relying upon diet and exercise to treat obesity, often to the exclusion of other options. He went on to say: In general over the years, people have regarded obesity […]

Three Views of Added Sugar

August 20, 2014 — Perhaps you’ve heard that FDA is moving to update the Nutrition Facts panel with information on added sugars, along with some other changes intended to make it simpler and more relevant to consumers. More than 170,000 people were moved to submit comments on this proposal before the comment period closed on August 1. FDA is still sorting […]


August 19, 2014 — Burger King’s bold experiment with low-fat French fries has left everyone unsatisfried. Burger King is pulling the plug due to poor sales. Who could have guessed? Remember the flop that was McLean? Or the debacle that was olestra in WOW branded low-fat chips? We could go on, but you get the idea. At their debut, we […]

Disgusting Advertising

August 18, 2014 — Disgusting advertising featuring “grabbable guts” and “toxic fat” will be served up to people in the state of Victoria, Australia, starting this week. There’s nothing subtle about this advertising. The call to action is simple: “eating less and moving more every day.” Australia is rapidly catching up with the U.S. in the obesity derby, so […]

Hubris, Helplessness, Compassion, and Respect

August 17, 2014 — Hubris, helplessness, compassion, and respect surface in a remarkably complete examination of the implications arising from deeming obesity to be a disease. Just published in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, this narrative symposium is required reading for anyone who wants to spout an opinion on the subject. The symposium includes 12 personal accounts (15 online) of experiences […]

Bugs, Drugs, and Obesity

August 16, 2014 — An elegant study of bugs, drugs, and obesity in mice suggests antibiotics early in life can the stage for obesity. It could be that the use of antibiotics in young children — much of which is widely acknowledged to be unnecessary — can cause considerable harm later in life. Professor Jodi Lindsay of St. George’s […]

Who Cares About FDA Tobacco Rules? 80,000+ Do

August 15, 2014 — Who knew that more than 80,000 people would care about FDA tobacco rules? Well, it seems that they do. August 8 was the cutoff date for comments on the FDA’s proposal for regulating forms of tobacco and nicotine like cigars, pipes, and e-cigarettes. The total number of comments has already surpassed 80,000. Now it’s up to […]

A False Choice: Obesity vs Fitness

August 14, 2014 — One of the most vigorous debates we encounter centers on a false choice between two big health concerns: obesity vs fitness. Folks who have pledged loyalty to the cause of Health at Every Size® (HAES) believe that concerns about obesity are exaggerated and advocate for a greater focus on fitness as opposed to arbitrary weight […]