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Obesity: Children and teens who become or stay obese may quickly face up to three times the risk of developing high blood pressure compared to their slimmer peers, a new study says.

These findings are of particular concern because the high blood pressure in kids who went from overweight to obese, or those who stayed obese, developed in a short time — the study only lasted three years.

“These findings underscore the importance of developing and implementing early and effective clinical and public health strategies for obesity prevention,” said lead researcher Emily Parker. She is a research investigator at the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Bloomington, Minn.

For the study, Parker and her colleagues collected data on more than 100,000 children and teens listed in the records of three major health systems in California, Colorado and Minnesota between 2007 and 2011. The children ranged in age from 3 and 17 years old.

During the three-year study, 0.3 percent of the children and teens developed high blood pressure.

“Having high blood pressure in children and adolescents is pretty rare, and we still need to know more about whether or not high blood pressure leads to greater risk of cardiovascular events later in life for these kids,” Parker said.

The researchers found that kids between 3 and 11 years old who went from overweight to obese had more than twice the odds of developing high blood pressure during the short study period. For older kids — those from 12 to 17 — the odds of high blood pressure were more than tripled, the research revealed.

When the researchers looked at the difference between children who were obese and severely obese throughout the study period, they found that the risk of high blood pressure was doubled for those who were obese. But for those who were severely obese, the risk more than quadrupled.

Children who were severely obese fell into the 99th percentile for higher body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) for their age and gender. Obese kids were those whose BMI fell in the 95th to 98th percentile for their age and gender, the study said.

The report was published online Feb. 19 in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. William Muinos, a pediatric gastroenterologist and director of the weight management program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said he sees these findings in his own clinic. “We see this in children as young as 8,” he said.

High blood pressure in children can damage their kidney function, and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, and fatty liver disease, which can damage the liver, he said.

“The beauty of high blood pressure in children is that it goes down as soon as they start losing weight,” Muinos said. In addition, all the other problems associated with high blood pressure also clear up, he said.

However, if kids don’t lose the weight, high blood pressure remains and increases as they gain more weight, he said.

“The risk of these problems is higher in children who gain weight and develop high blood pressure,” Muinos said. Parents have to make lifestyle changes for their children with the help of a doctor or a weight loss clinic, he said.

Changes include eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and being physically active regularly, Muinos said.

“These problems really exist and they are not going to go away when children reach their teens — that doesn’t happen anymore. They just become overweight or obese adolescents,” he said.

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Overweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory – the ability to recall past events – than their peers, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, adding to increasing evidence of a link between memory and overeating.

In a preliminary study published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers from the Department of Psychology at Cambridge found an association between high body mass index (BMI) and poorer performance on a test of episodic memory.

Although only a small study, its results support existing findings that excess bodyweight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally. In particular, obesity has been linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision making, problem solving and emotions, suggesting that it might also affect memory; however, evidence for memory impairment in obesity is currently limited.

Around 60% of UK adults are overweight or obese: this number is predicted to rise to approximately 70% by 2034. Obesity increases the risk of physical health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as psychological health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

“Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behaviour is becoming more and more important given the rise of obesity in society,” says Dr Lucy Cheke. “We know that to some extent hunger and satiety are driven by the balance of hormones in our bodies and brains, but psychological factors also play an important role – we tend to eat more when distracted by television or working, and perhaps to ‘comfort eat’ when we are sad, for example.

“Increasingly, we’re beginning to see that memory – especially episodic memory, the kind where you mentally relive a past event – is also important. How vividly we remember a recent meal, for example today’s lunch, can make a difference to how hungry we feel and how much we are likely to reach out for that tasty chocolate bar later on.”

The researchers tested 50 participants aged 18-35, with body mass indexes (BMIs) ranging from 18 through to 51 – a BMI of 18-25 is considered healthy, 25-30 overweight, and over 30 obese. The participants took part in a memory test known as the ‘Treasure-Hunt Task’, where they were asked to hide items around complex scenes (for example, a desert with palm trees) across two ‘days’. They were then asked to remember which items they had hidden, where they had hidden them, and when they were hidden. Overall, the team found an association between higher BMI and poorer performance on the tasks.

The researchers say that the results could suggest that the structural and functional changes in the brain previously found in those with higher BMI may be accompanied by a reduced ability to form and/or retrieve episodic memories. As the effect was shown in young adults, it adds to growing evidence that the cognitive impairments that accompany obesity may be present early in adult life.

This was a small, preliminary study and so the researchers caution that further research will be necessary to establish whether the results of this study can be generalised to overweight individuals in general, and to episodic memory in everyday life rather than in experimental conditions.

“We’re not saying that overweight people are necessarily more forgetful,” cautions Dr Cheke, “but if these results are generalizable to memory in everyday life, then it could be that overweight people are less able to vividly relive details of past events – such as their past meals. Research on the role of memory in eating suggests that this might impair their ability to use memory to help regulate consumption.

“In other words, it is possible that becoming overweight may make it harder to keep track of what and how much you have eaten, potentially making you more likely to overeat.”

Dr Cheke believes that this work is an important step in understanding the role of psychological factors in obesity. “The possibility that there may be episodic memory deficits in overweight individuals is of concern, especially given the growing evidence that episodic memory may have a considerable influence on feeding behaviour and appetite regulation,” she says.

Co-author Dr Jon Simons adds: “By recognising and addressing these psychological factors head-on, not only can we come to understand obesity better, but we may enable the creation of interventions that can make a real difference to health and wellbeing.”

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and Girton College, University of Cambridge, and the James S McDonnell Foundation.

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It is no surprise that where we live affects our health, but this is the first major study to use online street views to assess the exercise and dietary habits of neighborhoods.

The study took 4 years to complete and involved data from nearly 6,000 people living in major cities across Europe.

It looked at the nature of local neighborhoods, tallying self-reported perceptions of the environment by residents with objective measures based on Google Street View.

It also involved estimates of individual health behaviors, social integration and community support.

Your neighborhood impacts your health

Many measures related to the local environment appear to be linked to health behavior and the risk of developing obesity, according to the study results.

Levels of physical activity, self-rated health, happiness and neighborhood preference were closely associated with residents’ perception and use of their neighborhood.

People living in socioeconomically deprived areas were less likely to see their area as conducive to healthy behaviors, compared with residents of wealthier areas.

The researchers noted a significant variation in the presence of food outlets, outdoor recreation facilities and green spaces between the cities surveyed.

Residents who reported higher levels of social integration also rated their health more highly, were less likely to be obese and consumed more fruit.

However, the same group also tended to spend more time sitting down and were less involved in physical activity that required transportation.

Community, gender, age and education influence perceptions of space

As part of the study, participants had to describe the boundaries of their residential neighborhood using a map and a web-based tool.

Older adults tended to define smaller neighborhoods than younger adults. Women mostly defined smaller neighborhoods than men, while higher educational levels were mostly associated with larger self-defined neighborhoods.

Prof. Jean-Michel Oppert, of Pitie-Salpetriere University Hospital, Paris, France, speculates that younger residents, men and those with a higher educational level move around more or live in places with greater access to urban opportunities such as services, transport and social activities. This would increase the space where activities are performed.

The space of the self-defined neighborhood also expanded the longer a person lived in an area, possibly because longer residency implies more social activities and relationships in the community and greater awareness of local facilities.

The researchers point out that the findings have implications for health behaviors and outcomes such as obesity. They urge architects and urban planners to consider such factors when designing residential areas.

Lead researcher Jeroen Lakerveld, of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, says:

“Urban planners and policy makers have a responsibility to ensure that the neighborhoods they design and the facilities and businesses that the neighborhoods contain will promote healthy behavior and is protective against unhealthy behaviors.”

He explains that focusing on “upstream determinants of healthy behaviors,” such as promoting healthy food purchases and physical exercise, could mean huge savings on health care costs.

Lakerveld adds: “The best neighborhoods are those which have the facilities to support good health and also can encourage social networking and community support.”

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Fastest Weight Loss To Conquering Cravings

When it comes to dieting, losing weight fast holds some appeal.

Perhaps that’s why U.S. News & World Report has added a Fast Weight-Loss Diet category to its annual rankings of best diet plans. And one of the diets that comes out on top is the HMR (Health Management Resources) Program.

HMR is a meal replacement diet that can be done on your own at home or under medical supervision in a clinic. In lieu of made-at-home meals, dieters can order low-calorie shakes, soups, nutrition bars and multi-grain cereal.

The U.S. News reviewers say the plus side to the HMR diet is its quick-start option and the convenience of having meals delivered to you. The down side: “The shakes could get humdrum,” and it’s tough to eat out while on this diet.

“A common misconception is that losing weight quickly is not healthy, not sustainable, and will just lead to future weight re-gain,” wrote Carol Addy, the chief medical officer at HMR, in a release. But she says, to the contrary, “numerous clinical studies demonstrate that following a lifestyle change program which promotes fast initial weight loss can result in better long-term success.”

Meal replacement diets aren’t for everyone. After all, a shake for a meal can leave you wanting more. And prepared meals turn some people off. Some experts argue that a go-slow approach is better.

In fact, several other top-ranked diets on the U.S. News list put a focus on changing everyday eating habits, rather than following a prescribed diet. The rankings are based on evaluations by a panel of doctors, nutritionists and other health experts.

For instance, the DASH diet, which was originally designed to help people control high blood pressure, focuses on a healthy pattern of eating including lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.

Worried about cognitive decline? The MIND diet — which is ranked No. 2 on the Best Diets Overall list — combines the DASH approach and the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes more fish, olive oil and nuts.

Preliminary research suggests that these heart-healthy diets (DASH and Mediterranean) may also stave off mental decline. And according to the U.S. News reviewers, the MIND diet — which was developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center — focuses on foods within these two diets that influence brain health.

Want a lower-carb approach? The Glycemic-Index Diet makes the list. The knock against it: It’s hard to follow. If you’re looking for an easier method to try this approach, well-known obesity researcher David Ludwig of Harvard Medical School has you covered.

In his new book, Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells & Lost Weigh Permanently, Ludwig argues that the body doesn’t handle all calories equally. “The type of calories we eat can affect the number of calories we burn,” he writes. He points to a weight-loss study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, that found people on a low-carb diet burned about 325 more calories a day compared to those on a low-fat diet.

He says a key problem in our diets are processed carbohydrate: breads, cereals, crackers, cookies, candy and sugary drinks. “Anything containing primarily refined grains or concentrated sugar digests rapidly, and raises insulin levels,” he writes. And this elevated insulin sends a signal to fat cells to store or hoard calories. “Fat cells take in or release calories only when instructed to do so by external signals — and the master control is insulin.” Too much insulin, Ludwig argues, causes weight gain.

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A distinct approach to weight loss

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) A new calendar year allows people to set new goals. At the top of many lists is weight loss.  Already in this short period of time, the Weight Management Program has helped people achieve incredible, life-changing results.

One of the success stories is Ron Gossman. He was denied hip replacement surgery because of the risks associated with his weight. His surgeon told him about the program at Mary Free Bed. Gossman says he was apprehensive at first, but found the program to be educational and informative. He lost 86 pounds during the program and went on to lose ten more. He is now scheduled for surgery in January.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital started the Weight Management Program after seeing an epidemic of patients whose weight played a significant role in their health including strokes, heart attacks, cancer, joint problems, and diabetic-related amputations.

The Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program is different from other weight reduction plans because it doesn’t just track a person’s weight. The distinctive approach also measures blood pressure, heart rates, and the levels of fats and sugars in the blood.

Each 20 week course includes between five and 12 participants. They work alongside a clinical team that consists of a rehabilitation physician, dietician, exercise physiologist, and psychologist.

The program begins with a liquid nutritional product that not only tastes good, but can also be used as a beverage or be baked into treats. Starting this way results in speedy initial weight loss, which is motivational. It also helps break bad eating habits. As the program progresses, it educates participants about making good nutritional choices moving forward.

Celebrating One Year Anniversary

  • 45 participants lost 1,100 pounds
  • Average weight loss was 32 pounds
  • Average Body Mass Index dropped 4.2 points
  • Most achieved a 10% weight loss at week 12 – Research shows physical benefits of weight loss begin at this level

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Weight loss may cure diabetes

Millions of people suffering from type 2 diabetes could be cured of the disease if they just lost weight, a new study suggests.

Scientists at Newcastle University have shown the disease is caused by fat accumulating in the pancreas and losing less than 1g from the organ can reverse the life-limiting illness and restore insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. In New Zealand some 257,000 people have diabetes, according to the Ministry of Health. As many as 100,000 have the disease but do not know it. It can lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation.

Eighteen obese people with type 2 diabetes who were given gastric band surgery and put on a restricted diet for eight weeks were cured of their condition. The team is now planning a two-year study involving 200 people with Glasgow University to check the findings.”For people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal,” said Professor Roy Taylor, of Newcastle University who also works within the Newcastle Hospitals.

“What is interesting is that regardless of your present body weight and how you lose weight, the critical factor in reversing your type 2 diabetes is losing that 1g of fat from the pancreas.”

Diabetes is New Zealand’s fastest growing health issue, and costs millions of dollars to treat each year. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children, and is the only type linked with obesity.

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Could Probiotics Be a New Strategy For Weight Loss?

The research is still nascent, but a new study adds to a growing awareness that our bacterial communities may influence our weight

A probiotic blended into a milkshake may help protect against weight gain, according to a small recent study published in the journal Obesity.

But first, some important caveats: the study tested a commercial product called VSL#3, and was funded by VSL Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The sample size was small. Still, the findings add to growing evidence that probiotics and the gut microbiome may play a role in weight loss.

Past research has linked obesity and diabetes to imbalances in the microbiome, which is made up of trillions of bacteria living in the gut. What we eat can shift our bacterial communities for better or for worse, and probiotics (0ften called “good bacteria”) are being investigated for their potential to support beneficial colonies.

In the new study, Virginia Tech researchers studied 20 healthy men who went on a high-fat and high calorie diet for four weeks. Some men also drank a milkshake that contained VSL#3, a probiotic with multiple strains of bacteria including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum, while others consumed a placebo milkshake. The researchers found that the men who consumed the probiotic mix had lower body mass gain and fat accumulation than those who didn’t.

The researchers suggest that the probiotic supplement might work for a number of reasons, and though they cannot determine a mechanism from their findings, they have some ideas. Overeating can quickly change microbiome communities, which makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients, they say. It’s possible that the VSL#3 helped alter the gut bacteria in way that influenced this system and led to less body fat accumulation. In addition, the researchers say that the probiotic may have reduced lipid absorption or impacted energy expenditure.

The study is not the first to suggest a connection between probiotics and slimming down. Two strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifodobacterium, have been highlighted as specifically beneficial to internal health. A small 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that overweight women consuming daily probiotics lost more weight that women taking placebo pills, though men did not experience the same benefit. (The study was sponsored by the Nestlé Research Center.)

Other studies that are not industry-funded have also found benefits from probiotics, like better blood pressure control and improved mood. The science isn’t yet definitive, and researchers are still uncertain about the best ways to consume probiotics or how to ensure they make it all the way to your gut, but plenty of research into the microbiome is ongoing.

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Survey finds 90 percent overlook key to weight loss

Orlando, Florida – Tens of millions of Americans vow each year to lose weight in the New Year, and while their intentions are good, most of the time their results are not. It’s estimated that only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

Even if weight is lost initially, it usually returns. Studies show nearly 2 out of 3 people who lose 5 percent of their total weight will gain it back, and the more weight you lose, the less your chances of keeping it off.

“That’s not surprising,” said Diane Robinson, PhD, a neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health. “Most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise. But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.”

A recent national survey of more than a thousand people commissioned by Orlando Health found that 31 percent of Americans think a lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss, followed by those who say it’s what you eat (26%) and the cost of a healthy lifestyle (17%). Another 12 percent said the biggest barrier to weight loss was the necessary time commitment.

Only 1 in 10, however, thought psychological well-being was a factor. “That may explain why so many of us struggle,” said Robinson. “In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we’re eating.”

From a very young age we’re emotionally attached to food. As children we’re often given treats, both to console us when we’re upset, and to reward us for good behavior. Most celebrations, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are food-focused, and birthdays are spent sharing cake. Even the mere smell of certain foods, like cookies in grandma’s oven, can create powerful emotional connections that last a lifetime.

“If we’re aware of it or not, we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but for comfort,” said Robinson. “That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, as long as we acknowledge it and deal with it appropriately. “?When ever the brain experiences pleasure for any reason it reacts the same way.

Whether it’s derived from drugs, a romantic encounter or a satisfying meal, the brain releases a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. “We feel good whenever that process is activated,” said Robinson, “but when we start to put food into that equation and it becomes our reward, it can have negative consequences.”

In fact, researchers have found a link between emotional issues like stress, anxiety and depression, and higher body mass indexes (BMI). Many of us can relate to the idea of overindulging at happy hour after a bad day at the office, for example, or eating a pint of ice cream to help us deal with bad news.

That was common coping mechanism for Shekyra DeCree, of Columbus, Ohio. “As a mental health therapist, my job can be very stressful, and everyday when I got home from work, the first thing I would do is go to the refrigerator,” she said. “That was my way to calm down and relax.”

After recognizing the emotional attachment she had with food, DeCree started making conscious changes. In just over one year, she’s lost more than 100 pounds.

“I’d gone on countless diets and tried to exercise before, but this was different,” she said. “You have to change the way you deal with your emotions, your stress and anxiety. Once I understood the mental aspect, I felt free.”

Robinson offers these tips to help recognize the emotional connection you may have to food:

      -Keep a daily diary logging your food and your mood, and look for unhealthy patterns.

-Identify foods that make you feel good and write down why you eat them. Do they evoke a memory or are you craving those foods out of stress?

-Before you have any snack or meal ask yourself: Am I eating this because I’m hungry? If the answer is no, look for the root of your motive.

The goal is to take emotion out of eating and see food as nourishment, not as a reward or coping mechanism. If you struggle, don’t be shy about finding help. “When we’re focused on the physical aspects of weight loss, many of us have no problem joining a gym or hiring a trainer,” said Robinson. “How about joining a support group or hiring a psychologist?” she said. “If getting your body in shape hasn’t work out yet, maybe this time start with your mind

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Safe, permanent weight loss

One of the most difficult and dangerous challenges to dieting is the yo-yo between weight loss and weight gain, but Westmount Pharmacy in Hamilton can help you achieve permanent results through the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.

Any diet that offers quick, easy results will not provide permanent or healthy weight loss. The Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method focuses on a weight loss plan that is geared to the individual while providing the support and education to help them live a healthier lifestyle for lifelong success.

One of the biggest pitfalls of many diets is the loss of muscle mass along with fat, so once you reach your ideal weight it will be difficult to keep the extra weight off if you don’t have the ability to burn calories. The Ideal protein Weight Loss program relies on stable, sensible plans that are geared to your individual body and lifestyle, including any unique challenges you may face.

More important, Ideal Protein Weight Loss provides dieters with the education they need to keep that weight off with sustainable lifestyle choices. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet greatly reduces health risks such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease as well as improves the quality of life through increased energy, self-confidence and memory carries a full line of products available through the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method, from delicious breakfast starters, gluten-free options, healthy snacks, pasta, desserts and much more.

There are four phases to the individuals who are tired of trying diet after diet, the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method is a safe and permanent solution.Ideal program. The first two focus on weight loss and helping you achieve your desired weight goal, while phase three and four concentrate on increasing your knowledge of better lifestyle choices and smarter eating habits so you can sustain a stable, balanced weight after dieting.

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Too much stored fat in body makes weight loss process harder

Researchers from the study have stated that “If you find it incredibly hard to lose weight, it is because the stored fat in the body is actively fighting against your efforts to burn it off at the molecular level”. All rodents increased their metabolic rate slightly when switched from a lower fat diet to a higher fat diet, but mice lacking the sLR11 protein showed significant increase in energy expenditure, and were able to burn calories faster, in comparison to mice that possessed the sLR11 protein-producing gene.

Body is made up of fat cells, some that store excess energy to release when required, and some called brown adipocytes, that help the body in the process of heat generation or thermogenesis.

Afterwards, it has been discovered that LR11 had a role in regulating the lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that regulates the supply of lipid to brown adipose tissue, coordinating its vesicular transport.

In their paper the authors suggest that sLR11 helps fat cells resist burning too much fat during “spikes” in other metabolic signals following large meals or short term drops in temperature. Based on this promising discovery, we look forward to the Cambridge team’s future findings.

While explaining the functioning of the fat cells, study authors said that almost all the fat cells store energy in the body and they release it when needed or at the time of crisis. It resists weight loss by inhibiting thermogenesis, or a process of creating heat that helps melt the fat away.

The presence of this protein’s amount is dependent on the amount of fat in the body.

Researcher also noted that the amount of protein a person can have depends on how much fat is stored in that particular person’s body.

This comes as a confirmation for millions of fat people all over the world who until know haven’t had any idea why it is so hard for them to lose weight, despite their tremendous efforts. The study has also indicated that once weight is gained it is important to try to lose it as fast as possible in order to prevent physiological changes from occurring in the body, changes such as the secretion of the sLR11 protein.

Unfortunately, though, Pearson added that “an effective medicine to treat obesity, which safely manages weight loss is still some way off”.