Archive for February, 2016

Parallel Universes of Salt

February 19, 2016 — If you poke around in the scientific literature trying to understand the evidence behind policies related to cutting the salt in food, you might feel like you are wandering between parallel universes. Some systematic reviews find little empiric evidence for trying to reduce salt intake. Others find the evidence compelling. A new analysis published in the International […]

Nicotine and Obesity: Filtering the Data

February 18, 2016 — Individually, both nicotine and obesity are challenging subjects where bias creeps in from strongly held views. When they come together, the challenge is compounded. A new analysis published by the National Bureau of Economic Research reminds us that the challenge is unavoidable because significant weight gain is one of the consequences of quitting smoking — […]

Accountability or Punishment? Four Apps in Obesity

February 17, 2016 — The blurry line between accountability and punishment is quite important to long-term outcomes in obesity. The difference between the two is substantial, but easily confused. Where accountability empowers people, punishment does the opposite. Punishment is imposed. Accountability flows from engagement. Though people understand that punishment is an ineffective strategy for behavior change in obesity, the […]

The Clutter Made Me Eat It

February 16, 2016 — Perhaps we should add clutter and chaos to the list of potential causes for obesity. An entertaining new randomized, controlled study published in Environment and Behavior shows that people in a chaotic, cluttered kitchen will eat almost three times more cookies than people in an orderly kitchen. The investigators went all out. In the chaotic kitchen, […]

How Obesity Hides in Plain Sight

February 15, 2016 — The failure to acknowledge obesity is so common in so many situations that it leads people to observe that obesity hides in plain sight. That was the conclusion of Kirsten Mueller and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic who assessed the accuracy of self-reports about weight status from a series of 508 internal medicine outpatients. Only […]

A Slump for Betty Crocker and the Pillsbury Doughboy

February 14, 2016 — In an age of convenient food taken to a whole new level, Betty Crocker and the Pillsbury Doughboy find themselves in a bit of a slump. Mixes that made cakes, cookies, and sweet breads fly out of the oven like magic are not meeting consumer needs like they once did. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports […]

Most Weight Programs Flunk Five Simple Criteria

February 13, 2016 — A new study in Obesity points out how difficult it can be to find an evidence-based weight management program. In a sample of 80 weight management programs in northern Virginia, eastern Maryland, and Washington, DC, Kimberly Gudzune and colleagues found that most of those programs flunk on five simple criteria used as hallmarks for evidence-based weight management […]

The Growing Costs of Obesity in Aging

February 12, 2016 — An increasingly archaic way to think about the chronic disease of obesity in aging is to assume that excess weight is protective beyond a certain age. Such thinking has never been backed by much evidence. Now, the benefits of evidence-based obesity care are becoming evident to people concerned about the growing burden of chronic diseases in […]

Looking for the Obesity Reset Button

February 11, 2016 — The notion of a set point for body weight is a simple way of understanding what goes awry in obesity. Metabolic changes set in motion by weight gain establishes a new set point for fat storage and body weight that the body systematically defends. New evidence just published in Obesity describes how bariatric surgery might […]

Expecting Too Much from BMI

February 10, 2016 — Flogging the limitations of Body Mass Index has become an easy sport. A new study in the International Journal of Obesity provides an excellent perspective on the problems with relying on BMI in isolation as an measure of health. Tomiyama and colleagues analyzed NHANES data for height, weight, and measures of cardiometabolic health, such as blood […]