NEWS

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

Dream Come True: More White Bread for School Lunch

December 9, 2018 — The plan to “make school lunches great again” is complete. The USDA has announced its final plans to lower the nutrition standards for school cafeterias. That means more sodium, more white bread, and more sugar-sweetened milk will be A-OK with the USDA. Completely Unsurprising Anyone who’s surprised by this needs to get out from under […]

One Gene Cures Obesity? Nope

December 8, 2018 — The award for the most annoying obesity story of the week goes to the Flinders University communications office. They win for issuing a press release to hype some genuinely interesting research. But the angle they chose made a joke of the research, spawning headlines about a new gene to cure obesity. Their headline: Gene that lets […]

More Heat Than Light: Carbs and Insulin

December 7, 2018 — We have not heard the last of an intense and seemingly bitter debate about the role carbs and insulin play in promoting obesity. At ObesityWeek, David Ludwig and Kevin Hall sparred about a new publication by Ludwig and colleagues. Letters to the editor of the BMJ are keeping that hot debate going. At the core […]

Blowing Up the Internet with “Starch Bombs”

December 6, 2018 — Bless his heart. No doubt Harvard epidemiology professor Eric Rimm meant well. But his casual comments about potatoes being “starch bombs” have blown up the internet. The New York Times published his starch bomb comment and quoted him as saying: I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French […]

Not All Plant-Based Diets Are Created Equal

December 5, 2018 — While many guidelines recommend plant-based diets to reduce the risk of heart disease, some are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. So says a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Comparing Three Variations The Harvard researchers created three versions of a plant-based diet: an overall plant-based diet which emphasized […]

Obesity and Other Diseases Too Dangerous to Normalize

December 4, 2018 — No doubt, the intentions behind this headline were good. “Obesity is too dangerous to normalize,” said a letter to the editor on Sunday in the Washington Post. That letter came in response to a commentary about plus-size fashion that pleaded for clothes that will let bigger women simply be themselves. And feel good about it, […]

The Real Story of Declining U.S. Life Expectancy

December 3, 2018 — The headlines are full of it. “Drug overdoses and suicides are causing American life expectancy to drop,” says the Atlantic, for example. But the real story is much more complex. Heart disease and obesity are playing a significant role, too. Big Increases, Small Numbers Without a doubt, big increases in drug overdoses and suicide are […]

NHS: Waistlines and Wallets vs Hoops and Hurdles

December 2, 2018 — In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is coming to terms with the impact of obesity and diabetes. Chief executive Simon Stevens says: The NHS is now going to be ramping up practical action to support hundreds of thousands people and avoid obesity-induced heart attacks, strokes, cancers and type 2 diabetes. Because what’s good […]

Plus Fashion Statement: Let Us Be

December 1, 2018 — Plus fashion is growing up and perhaps moving into the mainstream. It’s inevitable. In a world where roughly 75 percent of the population is living at a high BMI, fashion that focuses only on stick-thin models can’t survive. But growing up is hard. So plus fashion is in its awkward phase, as Washington Post fashion […]

Getting a Handle on the Social Environment for Obesity

November 30, 2018 — The idea that obesity is contagious is a “brilliant analogy,” says a distinguished professor of pediatrics, Leonard Epstein. More and more research supports this view. But the ideas about contagion require careful thinking in this context. Thinking about transmitting obesity from one person to another is not especially helpful. What’s more relevant is thinking about […]