NEWS

Follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health policy and obesity

Alcohol Adding to the Health Burden of COVID-19

October 18, 2020 — New research from Rand and the Indiana University School of Public Health at Bloomington offers a vivid picture of two major health risks colliding. Alcohol use is growing more frequent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, it’s growing heavier. This is not what we need, because alcohol use is already the number one global health risk […]

How Happy Are We? Twitter Says Not Very

October 17, 2020 — We are living in uneasy times. If you want to quantify that, check out the Hedonometer at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont. According to their analyses, Twitter was a pretty happy place before 2020. Peter Dodds and colleagues on the Hedonometer project wrote in 2015 that human language has a “universal […]

Bariatric Surgery? Only if You Want a Longer Life

October 16, 2020 — We understand. Surgery is daunting. Bias against people living with obesity is rampant. Some friends and family will criticize. Some doctors will discourage. Health plans often make it hard. So many people feel reluctance about seeking bariatric surgery. But a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reminds us. This is not right. […]

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Prevented Obesity

October 15, 2020 — The list of ways we woulda, coulda, shoulda prevented obesity keeps growing. In PLOS Medicine this week, another study is spawning headlines about a really effective tool for preventing obesity. The claim is that banning ads for unhealthy food can do the trick. The headlines are promising. For example, PLOS issued  a press release that […]

Objective Numbers for Health, Nutrition, and Obesity?

October 14, 2020 — Objectivity is something that gets a lot of attention here. We prize, pursue, and advocate for it. Especially in matters of health, nutrition, and obesity. Conventional wisdom suggests that objective numbers for health outcomes are important tools for this pursuit. But are we kidding ourselves when we rely on numbers for objectivity? Professor Deborah Stone […]

Un-Fake News: Deaths Up by 20 Percent

October 13, 2020 — On a recent visit to our least favorite dentist, with a mouth full of cotton, we heard this: “People die all the time. This coronavirus thing is not such a big deal.” A new report in JAMA, tells us just how wrong she was. Deaths indeed do happen all the time. But from March to […]

Boring Critical Details in a Flashy Intermittent Fast Study

October 12, 2020 — At first glance, it’s a fascinating study. An intermittent fast, gut microbiota, and an effect on the risk for heart disease – the title of this new study in JCEM pushes all the right buttons. But a look under the surface tells a different story. The primary outcome measures for this study were BMI and […]

CDC: Possible COVID Risk with Overweight

October 11, 2020 — This week, the CDC added overweight to its list of conditions that might bring increased risk for severe symptoms with COVID-19. By that, the agency means anyone with a BMI between 25 and 30. For a BMI of 30 and above, CDC does not mince words. Your risk is higher. Think about it. This means […]

Critical Thinking: Trust and Verify

October 10, 2020 — We’re having trust issues. The world is facing a pandemic, but the solutions are not obvious. Headlines are full of reasons to mistrust governments that should be leading us through this crisis. Science offers a promising beacon for some. But others are dismissive. Make no mistake about it, all over the world, people are having […]

Weight Discrimination and Depression in the Pandemic

October 9, 2020 — “I don’t know how everyone else is coping but I’ve been up and down like a rollercoaster,” says Ricki Frost of Middlesbrough, England. His comments point to the mental health challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic. Depression and anxiety are high on that list. What’s more, weight discrimination can make it worse. New research in […]