NEWS

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

Did Medicaid Expansion Help with Bariatric Surgery?

October 16, 2021 — A decade ago, Medicaid expansion was supposed to be a real winner for better access to care. It was a sweet deal for states adopting it. Yet our polarized politics have meant that even now, after a decade, some states are still dragging their feet. That leaves two million people from 12 states in limbo […]

Labels Change Behavior – Is That Good Enough?

October 15, 2021 — Scientia potentia est – this Latin aphorism attributed to Francis Bacon tells us that knowledge is power. This idea motivates us to seek information and turn it into wise actions. But that translation is not automatic. For instance, a new study in PLOS Medicine finds that food labels can indeed change consumer behavior to favor […]

FDA Aims to Cut Sodium in Prepared Foods by 12%

October 14, 2021 — It only took five years. But then, the U.S. government has been through a lot in those five years. Yesterday the FDA finally released voluntary guidelines aiming to cut sodium in prepared foods by 12 percent over the next two and a half years. In a joint statement, Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock and CFSAN Director […]

COVID-19 and an Epidemic of Eating Disorders

October 13, 2021 — In so many ways, COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down, and the disruption continues. Casual – and annoying – talk about pandemic weight gain continues to swirl, thought the data on this tells a very mixed story. But something more serious is getting less attention – a sharp spike in eating disorders for young […]

Anyone Can Make Errors, Wise People Correct Them

October 12, 2021 — Progress is all around us but it’s not always obvious. Explicit weight bias is getting better, but implicit bias is as bad as ever – perhaps worse. So when people catch themselves and walk back from implicit expressions of bias, we find cause for celebration. Making errors is easy, but to correct errors – especially […]

Plant-Based Rationalizations Take Root in the Pandemic

October 11, 2021 — As rationalizations go, imagining huge health benefits from eating more plant-based diets is not terrible. Trisha Pasricha writes in the Washington Post that pneumonia, diverticulitis, diabetes, and cancers are linked to regularly eating meat. She even points to a study of COVID and plant-based diets to illustrate how beneficial such diets might be: “In a […]

Doubling COVID’s Toll: Mental Health and Child Obesity

October 10, 2021 — The numbers make it crystal clear. One of the long-term effects of the COVID pandemic will be a jump in child obesity. And it’s not hard to trace that back to the mental health of children and families. Late last week a new report in Pediatrics provided a stark reminder about the impact of COVID […]

Study Says Sweeteners Prompt Food Cravings? Nope.

October 9, 2021 — Reporting on non-caloric sweeteners has more in common with reporting on religion than science reporting. We see a constant churn of reporting about studies by people who are looking for evidence to support a belief that sweeteners must be bad for you. The latest headline from NPR on this subject tells us these sweeteners “may […]

Taking the Mic to Destigmatize Obesity

October 8, 2021 — With great gifts come great responsibilities. It doesn’t really matter whether you get this message from biblical sources or Spiderman. The imperative is there. If you have a big platform, you better use it to serve a purpose bigger than yourself. It looks like Queen Latifah and Novo Nordisk might be using their platforms to […]

Bringing Clarity to the Safety of a Gastric Sleeve

October 7, 2021 — Well-controlled data for surgical procedures is hard to come by. This is especially true for bariatric surgery, where strong feelings come into play and thus, people aren’t willing to accept random assignments to a surgical procedure. So a new study in JAMA Surgery that gives us clarity about the safety of gastric sleeve operations is […]