Category: Weight Loss & Obesity News
Only One in 210 Obese Men Reach Healthy Weight

An obese man has a one in 210 chance of achieving a normal body weight, and a woman a one in 124 chance, according to a large population-based cohort study of obese adults in the United Kingdom.

The study, published online July 16 in the American Journal of Public Health, is one of the first to quantify the chance of an obese person attaining a normal body weight or even a 5% reduction in body weight.

“The findings show just how difficult it is for people with obesity to lose weight and keep it off,” first author Alison Fildes, PhD, from University College London, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News. (Dr Fildes conducted the research while at King’s College London, United Kingdom.)

The study findings make clear that current strategies to tackle obesity are not effective and do not help the majority of obese patients lose weight and maintain that weight loss. “Most important, there is a need for effective public-health policies aimed at obesity prevention,” Dr Fildes added.

Obesity is a growing global health concern and, in the United Kingdom, if not elsewhere, the main treatment option available for obese patients is to follow a weight-management program accessed through primary care. Against this background, Dr Fildes explained their motivation for the study: “This framework envisages that patients may transition from obesity to a healthier body weight. We therefore saw a need to understand and quantify the frequency with which weight loss and weight-loss maintenance occurs in a large population.”

Large, Population-Based Study

Dr Fildes and colleagues calculated the probability of an obese individual attaining a normal or 5% reduction in body weight using data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which includes information from electronic primary-care health records. The authors tracked the weight of 278,982 participants aged 20 years or older from 2004 to 2014. Weight changes were estimated using a minimum of three records of body mass index (BMI) per patient. Patients who had received bariatric surgery were excluded.

Over 9 years of follow-up data, the annual probability of obese patients achieving 5% weight loss was one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women with simple obesity (BMI 30–35 kg/m2), but the probability increased for people in higher categories of obesity. In patients with morbid obesity (BMI 40.0–44.9 kg/m2), the probability was one in 8 for men and one in 7 for women.

However, many fewer individuals were able to achieve a normal body weight. Overall, only 1283 of 27,966 men and 2245 of 27,251 women with a BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m2 reached their normal body weight, equating to an annual probability of attaining normal weight of one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women. Among those with morbid obesity at baseline, the frequency increased to one in 1290 for men and one in 677 for women.

In addition, maintaining weight loss also proved difficult for these patients. “For those who achieved 5% weight loss, 53% regained at least some of this weight within 2 years, and 78% had regained weight within 5 years,” Dr Fildes remarked.

“For people with a BMI above 35 kg/m2, the probability of achieving a normal BMI was even lower,” reported Dr Fildes. “Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients.”

Reflecting on the results, she added that although previous research indicated the difficulty of achieving and maintaining weight loss for people with obesity, “I was still surprised by how low the numbers actually were.”

Effectiveness of Weight-Management Programs

The authors write that, “These findings raise questions concerning whether current obesity treatment frameworks, grounded in weight-management programs accessed through primary care, may be expected to achieve clinically relevant and sustained reductions in BMI for the vast majority of obese patients and whether they could be expected to do so in the future.”

A target of 5% to 10% body weight loss is often recommended for obese patients receiving weight-management interventions. “It may be unrealistic to expect people with severe obesity to achieve a normal BMI,” Dr Fildes pointed out, “but as our findings suggest, a target of 5% weight loss is more achievable, and even this small reduction in weight has been shown to have important benefits for health.”

The research did not explore the efficacy of current weight-management programs or measure how many participants were pursuing weight-management interventions. However, previous work has found that weight-management interventions may be difficult to access with small and poorly maintained effects on body weight, acknowledged Dr Fildes. “When people lose weight, they often regain this weight quite quickly, and this study highlights how difficult it is for people to maintain even small amounts of weight loss.”

She noted that obesity treatment programs should prioritize preventing further weight gain and support maintenance of weight loss.

“It is also important to remember that there are small and achievable lifestyle changes, in terms of increasing physical activity, reducing sedentary behavior, and making adjustments to diet, which can have a beneficial impact on health regardless of weight.”

Body talk: ‘Every fourth person in Pakistan is obese’

KARACHI: As consumption of oily foods and lack of exercise prevail in Pakistan, every fourth person in the country is obese, said Aga Khan University (AKU) gastroenterology associate professor Dr Rustam Khan.

He was speaking at a session on nutrition awareness at the varsity. According to him, obesity is on the rise in Pakistan as consumption of oily foods and lack of exercise are the norm.

Talking about the body mass index (BMI) cut-off for Asians, he said a BMI greater than 27 indicates obesity while one less than 18.5 hints at malnourishment. He added that BMI between 18.5 and 22.9 is the healthy range for individuals in Asian countries.

According to AKU medicine associate professor Dr Romaina Iqbal, one should be concerned about weight as it is often the root cause of vascular and arthritis diseases. Explaining the relationship of age and weight, she said that the common perception in society is that it is acceptable for an elderly person to be overweight. “Weight has nothing to do with age,” she said, adding that it is never appropriate to transgress your ideal BMI range. According to her, one should make it a habit to weigh herself/himself at least once a month.

Iqbal also shared her findings of 2010 on Karachi. “Up to 58 per cent of the men in urban settings in Karachi are obese,” she said. “Likewise, the strength of women in the same category is 66 per cent.”

Talking about child obesity, AKU Hospital clinical dietician Sidra Raza shared some studies on obese children. “More than 155 million children worldwide are overweight and obese,” she said. She stressed the importance of controlling obesity in children as it has a direct impact on their achievement in school. “Children who are obese lack self-esteem and confidence as society tends to reject them,” she said.

Nutritionist Dr Mozamila Mughal was of the view that a good diet is essential for good health. According to Mughal, the best diet is one that accommodates all food groups such as bread, fruits, meat, milk and vegetables. “The largest portion of your plate should be vegetables and fruits for maximum vitamins and minerals intake,” she said. “The other two small portions should be of meat and carbohydrates which can be taken in the form of rice, grains and lentils.” She further said that seasonal fruits should always be taken as their composition of nutrients is such that they are best suited to a particular season.

Paper Clip: Slim chance that obese will return to normal weight

The chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, according to a study of UK health records led by King’s College, London. The findings suggest that current weight management programmes focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at the population level. The research, funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788) women using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014. The study looked at the probability of obese patients attaining normal weight or a 5% reduction in body weight. Patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study. A minimum of three body mass index records per patient was used to estimate weight changes. The annual chance of obese patients achieving 5% weight loss was 1 in 12 for men and 1 in 10 for women. For those people who achieved 5% weight loss, 53% regained this weight within 2 years and 78% within 5 years. Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women with a BMI of 30-35 reached their normal body weight — equivalent to an annual probability of 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women. For those with a BMI above 40, the odds increased to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women. Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients. The study concludes that current obesity treatments are failing to achieve sustained weight loss for the majority of obese patients. Dr Alison Fildes, first author, said: “Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight has been shown to have meaningful health benefits and is often recommended as a weight loss target. These findings highlight how difficult it is for people with obesity to achieve and maintain even small amounts of weight loss. “Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight. Obesity treatments should focus on preventing overweight and obese patients gaining further weight, while also helping those that do lose weight to keep it off. Priority needs to be placed on preventing weight gain in the first place.” – See more at:

How Are Overweight and Obesity Treated?

Successful weight-loss treatments include setting goals and making lifestyle changes, such as eating fewer calories and being physically active. Medicines and weight-loss surgery also are options for some people if lifestyle changes aren’t enough.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic weight-loss goals is an important first step to losing weight.

For Adults

  • Try to lose 5 to 10 percent of your current weight over 6 months. This will lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and other conditions.
  • The best way to lose weight is slowly. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is do-able, safe, and will help you keep off the weight. It also will give you the time to make new, healthy lifestyle changes.
  • If you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, have kept it off for 6 months, and are still overweight or obese, you may want to consider further weight loss.

For Children and Teens

  • If your child is overweight or at risk for overweight or obesity, the goal is to maintain his or her current weight and to focus on eating healthy and being physically active. This should be part of a family effort to make lifestyle changes.
  • If your child is overweight or obese and has a health condition related to overweight or obesity, your doctor may refer you to a pediatric obesity treatment center.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help you and your family achieve long-term weight-loss success. Example of lifestyle changes include:

  • Focusing on balancing energy IN (calories from food and drinks) with energy OUT (physical activity)
  • Following a healthy eating plan
  • Learning how to adopt healthy lifestyle habits

Over time, these changes will become part of your everyday life.


Cutting back on calories (energy IN) will help you lose weight. To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, adults should cut back their calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day.

  • In general, having 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day will help most women lose weight safely.
  • In general, having 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day will help most men lose weight safely. This calorie range also is suitable for women who weigh 165 pounds or more or who exercise routinely.

These calorie levels are a guide and may need to be adjusted. If you eat 1,600 calories a day but don’t lose weight, then you may want to cut back to 1,200 calories. If you’re hungry on either diet, then you may want to add 100 to 200 calories a day.

Very low-calorie diets with fewer than 800 calories a day shouldn’t be used unless your doctor is monitoring you.

For overweight children and teens, it’s important to slow the rate of weight gain. However, reduced-calorie diets aren’t advised unless you talk with a health care provider.

Healthy Eating Plan

A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day. It has enough calories for good health, but not so many that you gain weight.

A healthy eating plan is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar. Following a healthy eating plan will lower your risk for heart disease and other conditions.

Healthy foods include:

  • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, and milk.
  • Protein foods, such as lean meat, fish, poultry without skin, beans, and peas.
  • Whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. Other grain foods include pasta, cereal, bagels, bread, tortillas, couscous, and crackers.
  • Fruits, which can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried.
  • Vegetables, which can be fresh, canned (without salt), frozen, or dried.

Canola and olive oils, and soft margarines made from these oils, are heart healthy. However, you should use them in small amounts because they’re high in calories.

You also can include unsalted nuts, like walnuts and almonds, in your diet as long as you limit the amount you eat (nuts also are high in calories).

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Aim for a Healthy Weight” patient booklet provides more information about following a healthy eating plan.

Foods to limit. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol raise blood cholesterol levels and also might be high in calories. Fats and cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease, so they should be limited.

Saturated fat is found mainly in:

  • Fatty cuts of meat, such as ground beef, sausage, and processed meats (for example, bologna, hot dogs, and deli meats)
  • Poultry with the skin
  • High-fat dairy products like whole-milk cheeses, whole milk, cream, butter, and ice cream
  • Lard, coconut, and palm oils, which are found in many processed foods

Trans fat is found mainly in:

  • Foods with partially hydrogenated oils, such as many hard margarines and shortening
  • Baked products and snack foods, such as crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and breads
  • Foods fried in hydrogenated shortening, such as french fries and chicken

Cholesterol mainly is found in:

  • Egg yolks
  • Organ meats, such as liver
  • Shrimp
  • Whole milk or whole-milk products, such as butter, cream, and cheese

Limiting foods and drinks with added sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup, is important. Added sugars will give you extra calories without nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Added sugars are found in many desserts, canned fruit packed in syrup, fruit drinks, and nondiet drinks.

Check the list of ingredients on food packages for added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup. Drinks that contain alcohol also will add calories, so it’s a good idea to limit your alcohol intake.

Portion size. A portion is the amount of food that you choose to eat for a meal or snack. It’s different from a serving, which is a measured amount of food and is noted on the Nutrition Facts label on food packages.

Anyone who has eaten out lately is likely to notice how big the portions are. In fact, over the past 40 years, portion sizes have grown significantly. These growing portion sizes have changed what we think of as a normal portion.

Cutting back on portion size is a good way to eat fewer calories and balance your energy IN. Learn how today’s portions compare with those from 20 years ago at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Portion Distortion Web pages

Food weight. Studies have shown that we all tend to eat a constant “weight” of food. Ounce for ounce, our food intake is fairly consistent. Knowing this, you can lose weight if you eat foods that are lower in calories and fat for a given amount of food.

For example, replacing a full-fat food product that weighs 2 ounces with a low-fat product that weighs the same helps you cut back on calories. Another helpful practice is to eat foods that contain a lot of water, such as vegetables, fruits, and soups.

Physical Activity

Being physically active and eating fewer calories will help you lose weight and keep weight off over time. Physical activity also will benefit you in other ways. It will:

  • Lower your risk for heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, and cancers (such as breast, uterine, and colon cancers)
  • Strengthen your heart and help your lungs work better
  • Strengthen your muscles and keep your joints in good condition
  • Slow bone loss
  • Give you more energy
  • Help you relax and better cope with stress
  • Allow you to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly
  • Give you an enjoyable way to share time with friends and family

The four main types of physical activity are aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone strengthening, and stretching. You can do physical activity with light, moderate, or vigorous intensity. The level of intensity depends on how hard you have to work to do the activity.

People vary in the amount of physical activity they need to control their weight. Many people can maintain their weight by doing 150 to 300 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity activity per week, such as brisk walking.

People who want to lose a large amount of weight (more than 5 percent of their body weight) may need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. This also may be true for people who want to keep off weight that they’ve lost.

You don’t have to do the activity all at once. You can break it up into short periods of at least 10 minutes each.

If you have a heart problem or chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about what types of physical activity are safe for you. You also should talk with your doctor about safe physical activities if you have symptoms such as chest pain or dizziness.

Children should get at least 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Most physical activity should be moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Activity should vary and be a good fit for the child’s age and physical development.

Many people lead inactive lives and might not be motivated to do more physical activity. When starting a physical activity program, some people may need help and supervision to avoid injury.

If you’re obese, or if you haven’t been active in the past, start physical activity slowly and build up the intensity a little at a time.

When starting out, one way to be active is to do more everyday activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and doing household chores and yard work. The next step is to start walking, biking, or swimming at a slow pace, and then build up the amount of time you exercise or the intensity level of the activity.

To lose weight and gain better health, it’s important to get moderate-intensity physical activity. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your daily life.

A daily, brisk walk is an easy way to be more active and improve your health. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps and keep track of how much you’re walking. Try to increase the number of steps you take each day. Other examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include dancing, gardening, and water aerobics.

For greater health benefits, try to step up your level of activity or the length of time you’re active. For example, start walking for 10 to 15 minutes three times a week, and then build up to brisk walking for 60 minutes, 5 days a week.

For more information about physical activity, go to the Department of Health and Human Services “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” and the Health Topics Physical Activity and Your Heart article.

Behavioral Changes

Changing your behaviors or habits related to food and physical activity is important for losing weight. The first step is to understand which habits lead you to overeat or have an inactive lifestyle. The next step is to change these habits.

Below are some simple tips to help you adopt healthier habits.

Change your surroundings. You might be more likely to overeat when watching TV, when treats are available at work, or when you’re with a certain friend. You also might find it hard to motivate yourself to be physically active. However, you can change these habits.

  • Instead of watching TV, dance to music in your living room or go for a walk.
  • Leave the office break room right after you get a cup of coffee.
  • Bring a change of clothes to work. Head straight to an exercise class on the way home from work.
  • Put a note on your calendar to remind yourself to take a walk or go to your exercise class.

Keep a record. A record of your food intake and the amount of physical activity that you do each day will help inspire you. You also can keep track of your weight. For example, when the record shows that you’ve been meeting your physical activity goals, you’ll want to keep it up. A record also is an easy way to track how you’re doing, especially if you’re working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

Seek support. Ask for help or encouragement from your friends, family, and health care provider. You can get support in person, through e-mail, or by talking on the phone. You also can join a support group.

Reward success. Reward your success for meeting your weight-loss goals or other achievements with something you would like to do, not with food. Choose rewards that you’ll enjoy, such as a movie, music CD, an afternoon off from work, a massage, or personal time.

Weight-Loss Medicines

Weight-loss medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might be an option for some people.

If you’re not successful at losing 1 pound a week after 6 months of using lifestyle changes, medicines may help. You should only use medicines as part of a program that includes diet, physical activity, and behavioral changes.

Weight-loss medicines might be suitable for adults who are obese (a BMI of 30 or greater). People who have BMIs of 27 or greater, and who are at risk for heart disease and other health conditions, also may benefit from weight-loss medicines.

Sibutramine (Meridia®)

As of October 2010, the weight-loss medicine sibutramine (Meridia®) was taken off the market in the United States. Research showed that the medicine may raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Orlistat (Xenical® and Alli®)

Orlistat (Xenical®) causes a weight loss between 5 and 10 pounds, although some people lose more weight. Most of the weight loss occurs within the first 6 months of taking the medicine.

People taking Xenical need regular checkups with their doctors, especially during the first year of taking the medicine. During checkups, your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, and pulse and may recommend other tests. He or she also will talk with you about any medicine side effects and answer your questions.

The FDA also has approved Alli®, an over-the-counter (OTC) weight-loss aid for adults. Alli is the lower dose form of orlistat. Alli is meant to be used along with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and physical activity. In studies, most people taking Alli lost 5 to 10 pounds over 6 months.

Both Xenical and Alli reduce the absorption of fats, fat calories, and vitamins A, D, E, and K to promote weight loss. Both medicines also can cause mild side effects, such as oily and loose stools.

Although rare, some reports of liver disease have occurred with the use of orlistat. More research is needed to find out whether the medicine plays a role in causing liver disease. Talk with your doctor if you’re considering using Xenical or Alli to lose weight. He or she can discuss the risks and benefits with you.

You also should talk with your doctor before starting orlistat if you’re taking blood-thinning medicines or being treated for diabetes or thyroid disease. Also, ask your doctor whether you should take a multivitamin due to the possible loss of some vitamins.

Lorcaserin Hydrochloride (Belviq®) and Qsymia™

In July 2012, the FDA approved two new medicines for chronic (ongoing) weight management. Lorcaserin hydrochloride (Belviq®) and Qsymia™ are approved for adults who have a BMI of 30 or greater. (Qsymia is a combination of two FDA-approved medicines: phentermine and topiramate.)

These medicines also are approved for adults with a BMI of 27 or greater who have at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high blood cholesterol.

Both medicines are meant to be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity.

Other Medicines

Some prescription medicines are used for weight loss, but aren’t FDA-approved for treating obesity. They include:

  • Medicines to treat depression. Some medicines for depression cause an initial weight loss and then a regain of weight while taking the medicine.
  • Medicines to treat seizures. Two medicines used for seizures, topiramate and zonisamide, have been shown to cause weight loss. These medicines are being studied to see whether they will be useful in treating obesity.
  • Medicines to treat diabetes. Metformin may cause small amounts of weight loss in people who have obesity and diabetes. It’s not known how this medicine causes weight loss, but it has been shown to reduce hunger and food intake.

Over-the-Counter Products

Some OTC products claim to promote weight loss. The FDA doesn’t regulate these products because they’re considered dietary supplements, not medicines.

However, many of these products have serious side effects and generally aren’t recommended. Some of these OTC products include:

  • Ephedra (also called ma huang). Ephedra comes from plants and has been sold as a dietary supplement. The active ingredient in the plant is called ephedrine. Ephedra can cause short-term weight loss, but it also has serious side effects. It causes high blood pressure and stresses the heart. In 2004, the FDA banned the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra in the United States.
  • Chromium. This is a mineral that’s sold as a dietary supplement to reduce body fat. While studies haven’t found any weight-loss benefit from chromium, there are few serious side effects from taking it.
  • Diuretics and herbal laxatives. These products cause you to lose water weight, not fat. They also can lower your body’s potassium levels, which may cause heart and muscle problems.
  • Hoodia. Hoodia is a cactus that’s native to Africa. It’s sold in pill form as an appetite suppressant. However, no firm evidence shows that hoodia works. No large-scale research has been done on humans to show whether hoodia is effective or safe.

Weight-Loss Surgery

Weight-loss surgery might be an option for people who have extreme obesity (BMI of 40 or more) when other treatments have failed.

Weight-loss surgery also is an option for people who have a BMI of 35 or more and life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • Severe sleep apnea (a condition in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep)
  • Obesity-related cardiomyopathy (KAR-de-o-mi-OP-ah-thee; diseases of the heart muscle)
  • Severe type 2 diabetes

Types of Weight-Loss Surgery

Two common weight-loss surgeries include banded gastroplasty and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. For gastroplasty, a band or staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of your stomach. This surgery limits the amount of food and liquids the stomach can hold.

For gastric bypass, a small stomach pouch is created with a bypass around part of the small intestine where most of the calories you eat are absorbed. This surgery limits food intake and reduces the calories your body absorbs.

Weight-loss surgery can improve your health and weight. However, the surgery can be risky, depending on your overall health. Gastroplasty has few long-term side effects, but you must limit your food intake dramatically.

Gastric bypass has more side effects. They include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), bloating, diarrhea, and faintness. These side effects are all part of a condition called dumping syndrome. After gastric bypass, you may need multivitamins and minerals to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Lifelong medical followup is needed after both surgeries. Your doctor also may recommend a program both before and after surgery to help you with diet, physical activity, and coping skills.

If you think you would benefit from weight-loss surgery, talk with your doctor. Ask whether you’re a candidate for the surgery and discuss the risks, benefits, and what to expect.

Weight-Loss Maintenance

Maintaining your weight loss over time can be a challenge. For adults, weight loss is a success if you lose at least 10 percent of your initial weight and you don’t regain more than 6 or 7 pounds in 2 years. You also must keep a lower waist circumference (at least 2 inches lower than your waist circumference before you lost weight).

After 6 months of keeping off the weight, you can think about losing more if:

  • You’ve already lost 5 to 10 percent of your body weight
  • You’re still overweight or obese

The key to losing more weight or maintaining your weight loss is to continue with lifestyle changes. Adopt these changes as a new way of life.

If you want to lose more weight, you may need to eat fewer calories and increase your activity level. For example, if you eat 1,600 calories a day but don’t lose weight, you may want to cut back to 1,200 calories. It’s also important to make physical activity part of your normal daily routine.


Mum-of-three Kelly Collis tells LIAM BARNES how she dropped from a size 14 to a healthy size 10 just 14 weeks after joining a Weight Watchers class…

DETERMINED Kelly Collis took issues with her weight into her own hands – with spectacular results in just a matter of months.

The mother-of-three, from Lyme Road, Meir, had seen her weight steadily increase over the past six years. Bit by bit it became more of an issue.

After finally feeling fed up when she went up another dress size, she resolved to tackle the problem once and for all.

“It was one of those things where I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something about it,” she said.

“Over the years I ended up gaining two stone, so I’d try to lose some weight, but every time I did it would come back after a while.

“It got to the point where none of my old clothes were fitting me any more, and as I went up another dress size, I realized I couldn’t keep on this way.”

To help her lose the crucial pounds, Kelly joined her local Weight Watchers group, based at St Mary and St Chad’s on Anchor Road in Longton, and immediately began reaping the benefits.

Despite only being a member of the group for the last 14 weeks, the slimming group has already had tremendous results, seeing Kelly drop 19 lbs and go from a size 14 to a 10.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant since I joined,” she said.

“The support from the team and the leaders here has been fantastic, and it’s really helpful being able to talk to other slimmers at the meetings.

“The results have been amazing – I didn’t expect to lose so much weight so quickly.”

As well as bringing her back to a weight where she feels more comfortable, the group has also provided a new lease of life for Kelly.

As well as losing weight together, the class members have become good friends, and frequently go out for walks together to help encourage them to do more exercise and keep up the good work.

Last weekend a group of slimmers even took part in the MINI Moonlight walk to raise money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, and Kelly said she was delighted with the camaraderie in the class.

The 38-year-old said: “As a group, we do a lot to support each other.

“We’ve all started going out as a group walking together to lose some weight, and doing the MINI Moonlight walk was really good.

“There was a fantastic atmosphere that night, and it was nice to raise some money for charity while helping us to lose weight.

“It’s amazing how quickly the group has helped me lose weight.

“It’s not been that difficult sticking to the plan, it’s all come naturally, and it’s great how we all help each other.

“I’m definitely going to carry on coming to the group – it’s become a big part of my life now. I’ve met some lovely people and we all help each other, it’s a very social thing.”

Rachael Smith, team leader for Weight Watchers, said she was proud of the way Kelly had taken to the plan and thrown herself into the social side of the group.

She said: “She’s been absolutely fabulous. I’ve known her a long time anyway, she’s a fantastic lady, and it’s great for everyone to see how well she’s done.

“Kelly really enjoys coming, and she’s such a bubbly personality.

“She really helps the group and encourages them to lose weight.”

Is Weight Loss Surgery the Answer for Diabetes?

Is weight-loss surgery better than nutrition and physical activity alone for reversing type 2 diabetes? That controversial question has occupied researchers, doctors, insurers and people with diabetes for more than a decade. Now, a small yet well-designed study seems to have the answer: Surgery.

University of Pittsburgh researchers randomly assigned 61 obese women and men with type 2 diabetes to receive gastric bypass surgery, an adjustable gastric band or an intensive lifestyle change program. Study volunteers were tracked closely for three years, as scientists monitored their weight, fasting blood sugar, A1c levels (a test of long-term blood sugar control) and use of insulin and other diabetes medications. The results:

More weight (and fat) lost: Gastric bypass recipients lost an average of 25% of their body weight (and nearly 11% of their body fat), gastric band wearers dropped 15% of their weight (and 5.6% of their body fat) and lifestyle group members lost 5.7% of their weight and 3% of their body fat. People in the gastric bypass also saw their waist size shrink the most, an indicator that they’d lost the most visceral fat – the kind that packs around internal organs and contributes to blood sugar processing problems.

Lower blood sugar:  People in the gastric bypass group saw fasting blood sugar drop 66 mg/dL and their A1c levels fall 1.4%. In comparison, gastric band recipients got a 35-point reduction in fasting blood sugar and a 0.8% reduction in A1c levels. For the lifestyle-only group, fasting blood sugar fell an average of about 28 mg/dL but A1c levels rose slightly.

Less diabetes medication: After three years, 65% of the gastric bypass group and 33% of the gastric band group no longer needed blood sugar-lowering drugs, but no one in the lifestyle change group stopped using diabetes medications.

Diabetes remission: Diabetes was in partial or complete remission for 40% of the gastric-bypass group, 29% of the gastric band group and nobody in the lifestyle intervention group. Partial remission was defined as an A1c level below 6.5% and a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dL after one year without medication. Complete remission meant an A1c below 5.7% and a fasting blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL or lower after a year without medication.

Better cholesterol and blood pressure levels, too. People in the gastric bypass group also saw their blood pressure fall by 5.7 to 13 mm Hg, their triglycerides (a blood fat) drop 95 mg/dL and levels of “good” HDL cholesterol rise 16 mg/dL. Gastric band recipients got smaller improvements in triglycerides and HDLs, but blood pressure increased very slightly. Lifestyle-change group members got very small improvements in all three.

“Our study shows that gastric band is better than intensive lifestyle treatment alone for diabetes remission and glycemic control, but is not as effective as gastric bypass, at least at three years,” notes lead researcher Anita P. Courcoulas MD, MPH, FACS, professor of surgery and director of minimally invasive bariatric & general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Of note: People with stage 1 obesity (a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 35) improved just as much as those with  stages 2 or 3 obesity. While gastric band surgery is FDA-approved for people with stage 1 obesity and related health problems such as diabetes, more invasive weight loss surgeries like gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are not.  So far, the American Diabetes Association and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s position is that weight-loss surgery may be an option for people with a BMI over 35 with a health problem like diabetes.  A growing number of research studies are looking at the procedure in people with stage 1 obesity.

Courcoulas says this new study provides information about long-term results that could help lead more insurers to cover weight-loss procedures for people with a BMI of 30-35. “Forty-three percent of our participants had a BMI below 35, the group for whom data is lacking,” she notes. “Our results do show that gastric bypass and gastric banding are superior to intensive lifestyle treatment alone for type 2 diabetes remission for people in this lower BMI group. Our study is small, but rigorous and does add data supporting the utility of bariatric surgery in this lower BMI population. I do believe that the growing body of data [and] evidence, including this current study, may effect change in health care coverage.”

Jane Chiang, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs and community information for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), told EndocrineWeb that while the ADA does not think there’s enough evidence to suggest surgery for people with mild obesity, the “ADA’s Professional Practice Committee (who write the ADA Standards of Medical Care) will carefully evaluate this study and will consider its impact on our clinical practice recommendations.

The Pros and Cons of Gastric Bypass Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery (also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) involves stomach-stapling that reduces it to a pouch about the size of a small lemon. The stomach is then re-routed to bypass the upper portion of the small intestine. Gastric bypass surgery reduces the amount of food the stomach can handle and calorie absorption.

Adjustable gastric band surgery involves placing a band around the upper portion of the stomach to create a small pouch, restricting food passage. This causes a decrease in food intake.

After both procedures, people must follow a reduced-calorie meal plan to lose weight. For the study, people in the intensive lifestyle change group followed a low-calorie, high-fiber meal plan and were encouraged to be physically active regularly.

Weight loss surgery may improve blood sugar control by altering levels of gut hormones, as well as by speeding up weight loss. It may also alter the balance of microbes in the digestive system in beneficial ways. Courcoulas says more research into the exact mechanisms is needed. And, she adds, so are longer studies about weight-loss surgery’s effects. She is currently at work on a seven-year study with researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Cleveland Clinic.

EndocrineWeb Medical Advisory Board member J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, FACE,  and medical director and CEO of the Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism and Endocrinology agrees that long-term outcomes are necessary to justify the risk of surgery, which include infection, stroke and heart attack. “Obesity and diabetes are chronic diseases.  Surgery may bring about better short term weight loss than lifestyle changes alone. And surgery is expected to bring remission of diabetes in most patients. But all patients need long-term follow-up.”

For now, Courcoulas suggests that people with type 2 diabetes and stage 2 or 3 obesity talk with their doctor about whether surgery is a good option. “I do think it makes sense to consider a surgical option if one’s diabetes is very difficult to control after best attempts at medical and lifestyle management,” she says.


New obesity treatment prevents bone loss during weight loss

Using the intestinal hormone GLP-1 in obesity treatment prevents the loss of bone mass otherwise frequently associated with major weight loss. This is the finding of a new study from the University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre and Glostrup Hospital. According to the researchers behind the study, the results may have a significant bearing on future obesity treatment.

Rapid weight loss leads to a loss of bone mass and an increased risk of bone fractures. New research shows that treating obesity with the GLP-1 hormone helps prevent loss of bone mass in addition to having a number of positive effects on the formation of new bone and on blood sugar levels.

“GLP-1 analogues like liraglutide are today widely used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and have been shown not to increase the risk of bone fractures, unlike other diabetes drugs. Liraglutide has just been approved for obesity treatment because of its appetite-inhibiting effects, but its effect on the bones of overweight patients who are not suffering from type 2 diabetes has so far been unknown,” says physician and PhD student Eva Winning Jepsen from the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.

The study looked at 37 women who achieved a large weight loss of 12 kg by eating a low-calorie diet. The women were divided into two groups: one which was given the GLP-1 analogue liraglutide, and a control group. Over a one-year period, the women were given frequent dietary advice to help them maintain their weight loss; and if they gained weight, they could replace up to two meals with a low-calorie powder. After a year, both groups had maintained their weight loss. The women in the control group had maintained their weight by replacing one meal a day with a low-calorie diet. The study showed that the liraglutide group had not lost any bone mass and had increased blood levels of bone formation markers as opposed to the control group which had lost bone mass.

“Menopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. If they try to lose weight and thus lose even more bone mass, they are at an even higher risk. The study shows that overweight women can now lose weight with liraglutide without increasing the risk of losing bone mass. At the same time, they also achieve a number of other positive effects on their sugar metabolism which are not achieved through a diet-induced weight loss alone,” says Associate Professor Signe Soerensen Torekov – who is heading the study – from the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.

Significant bearing on future obesity treatment

The importance of intestinal hormones on bone formation and breakdown has long been a focus area. This study now opens up for exploiting the beneficial effect of intestinal hormones on the bones.

“Overweight is a protective factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures, but it increases the risk of other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. It appears that treatment with liraglutide makes it possible to lose weight and maintain the beneficial effect on the bones, while at the same time reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. This may have a significant bearing on our future approach to obesity treatment,” says Signe Soerensen Torekov.

Mushroom supplement could be one way to tackle obesity

“A mushroom used for centuries in Chinese medicine reduces weight gain in animals,” BBC News reports.

A supplement from the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom (more commonly known as “reishi”) slowed the pace of weight gain by apparently altering bacteria inside the digestive system of mice.

In this study, the researchers aimed to see if reishi was effective in preventing obesity. They gave mice different amounts of reishi or placebo and either a normal diet or a high-fat diet for eight weeks. All mice on the high-fat diet gained a lot of weight and body fat, but those given reishi did not gain as much weight or body fat. The reishi supplement did not have an effect on mice fed a normal diet. The supplement appeared to work by improving the number of “good” bacteria in the gut and through reducing inflammation. Some studies have suggested that chronic inflammation and an increased number of “bad” bacteria in the gut are linked to obesity in humans.

Randomised controlled trials in humans would be required to see if it is safe and effective.

Even if it is, it is unlikely to be useful in tackling obesity by itself; you would still need to eat a balanced diet and take plenty of exercise. Sadly, as far as we know, there is no such thing as a single superfood that will magically enable you to lose weight.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Chang Gung University and other institutes in Taiwan, and the University of the Pacific and Rockefeller University in the US. It was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Two of the authors have financial interests in Chang Gung Biotechnology, a company that produces Ganoderma lucidum products. The other authors declared no conflict of interest.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications.

The BBC and Mail Online reported the study accurately and included expert commentary from microbiologist Professor Colin Hill.

What kind of research was this?

This was a laboratory study on mice. The researchers aimed to see if reishi has any effect on body weight and obesity.

Chinese medicine has used a number of different mushrooms to treat a variety of conditions over thousands of years. One of these is called reishi, or Ganoderma lucidum, which is believed to improve health and lifespan. It has also been tested as a possible cancer treatment as some research has suggested it is beneficial to the immune system. However, the effect against cancer remains uncertain, as a recent Cochrane systematic review highlighted the lack of large and high-quality randomised controlled trials in this area.

A similar lack of robust studies was found in a Cochrane review of Ganoderma lucidum to improve cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure or cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.

Some studies have suggested that obesity is linked to chronic inflammation, and Ganoderma lucidum is linked to an improvement in the immune system, so the researchers wanted to assess whether Ganoderma lucidum has an effect on obesity in mice.

This type of animal study is useful in determining whether a particular treatment shows promise and investigates its biological effects, as there can be several different groups whose diets and living conditions are strictly controlled, allowing them to be directly compared. If a treatment does show promise at this stage and appears safe then it would usually progress to trials in primates, which would indicate whether a treatment is more likely to work in humans, as they are more similar to us than mice. Human clinical trials would then follow if the treatment appeared to be sufficiently safe and effective in the animal trials.

What did the research involve?

The researchers split mice into six groups and fed them either a high-fat diet or a normal “chow” diet for eight weeks. Each group either had a supplement of different amounts of Ganoderma lucidum extract in water or just water alone (as a control). They then compared their weight, body fat and insulin resistance.

The amount of food each mouse ate was measured, as was the amount of energy they extracted from the food, by measuring the energy left in the faeces.

Finally, as the researchers thought the effects might be related to bacteria in the gut, they transplanted faeces from mice given Ganoderma lucidum supplement into mice without the supplement to work out if the effects could be passed on this way (!horizontally transmitted”).

What were the basic results?

The Ganoderma lucidum supplement reduced the amount of weight gain and fat deposits in mice fed a high-fat diet. The most weight gain was seen in mice given the control (about 18g), and the least weight gain in mice given the highest dose of Ganoderma lucidum (about 12g). This was despite each group eating the same amount of food and extracting the same amount of energy from it (by measuring the energy left in the faeces).

The Ganoderma lucidum supplement did not have any effect on mice fed a normal diet, with both groups gaining around 4g.

Markers of inflammation were increased in the mice fed a high-fat diet, but this was reduced by Ganoderma lucidum.

Ganoderma lucidum also reduced insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet.

Ganoderma lucidum reversed an imbalance in gut bacteria in the mice fed a high-fat diet, increasing the number of “good” bacteria. This effect was also achieved by transferring the faeces of mice fed Ganoderma lucidum to mice not given the supplement. This supported the possibility that the effect could be due to gut bacteria.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that the water extract of Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity and inflammation in mice fed a high-fat diet. They say that this may be due to changes in the gut bacteria, evidenced by the fact that the effects were replicated when they transplanted these gut bacteria (through faeces samples) into other mice.


This study of Ganoderma lucidum in mice eating a high-fat diet found that it may help to reduce weight and fat gain, reduce inflammation and improve the levels of “good” gut bacteria in the gut. It also appeared to reduce the risk of insulin resistance. Ganoderma lucidum was not seen to have a significant effect for mice fed a normal diet.

The results of this study suggest a possible use for the extract, but randomised controlled trials in humans are required to determine safety and effectiveness for preventing weight gain. The same is true for any other conditions that Ganoderma lucidum is currently believed to improve.

High school obesity screenings may not help teens lose weight

Weight screenings in high school were not enough to get overweight and obese kids on track toward a healthier weight, a recent U.S. study found.

With obesity rates soaring among Arkansas teenagers, the state implemented a screening program in schools in 2003, with alerts sent to parents of kids with weight problems. But kids screened by the program in early high school and again in their junior and senior years did not seem to benefit compared to kids exempt from screening, the study found.

While the screening and reporting measures in Arkansas have been both popular and controversial, there is no evidence to support their use, said study author Kevin Gee of the University of California, Davis School of Education, in email to Reuters Health.

Rates of teenage obesity have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years and now more than one in five teens is obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Schools play an increasingly important role in addressing child health issues because of their control over what kids eat and their activities throughout the day, Gee writes in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

But it isn’t clear which parts of school-based interventions are most helpful and cost-effective, he notes. Gee wanted to assess the effects weight screenings intended to alert parents that their child has a problem, in the hope that will lead to changes in behavior.

The data came from nearly 1,100 students who participated in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which was administered annually between 2003 and 2009. The students answered questions and estimated their own height and weight, allowing for calculation of their body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height.

The survey also asked students about their exercise habits and their diets.

Gee analyzed how students’ weight and health habits changed between 10th grade and 12th grade, among kids who had BMI screenings in 10th, 11th and 12th grades. He compared this change to the pattern of weight changes among students who opted out of the screening over the same period.

More than half of all teens were a healthy weight in both groups. The percentage of obese teens decreased and the percentage of overweight teens increased over the two years.

The changes in the two groups were not significantly different for weight gain, exercise level or dietary habits.

Overall, most teens did not eat one or more servings of fruits or vegetables per day.

Dominique Ruggieri, a faculty fellow for the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, noted that childhood obesity is a serious health condition that can cause many other health problems.

“Moreover, children who suffer from weight health issues are significantly more likely to suffer from obesity in adulthood,” Ruggieri said in an email.

Although screenings did not have a significant effect on weight in this study, Gee said that they may be useful to parents who do not have access to health checkups for their children.

Ruggieri also said that BMI screenings can be useful because most parents tend to underestimate their child’s weight status. She added that the screenings could be improved by telling parents, “why and how the measurements were taken, what parents can do to help their children, and what the schools are doing to help their children.”

Gee noted, however, that BMI information alone may not be enough to help parents in high poverty areas where fresh produce and safe playgrounds to encourage exercise may not be available.

Helpful tips to control obesity

Obesity is explained as an abnormal amount of body fat; being 20 to 30 percent over the ideal weight for age, sex and height. Obesity is leading factor for serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, kidney troubles, arthritis, prostate enlargement, female infertility. 

Nowadays we are more worried about our health so we should take action to control body fat .Control of obesity means burn excess body fat. But control of obesity is not easy task as well as it is not magic which will happen overnight. 

Some useful tips to control obesity 

Exercise is more useful to burn fat as it speeds up metabolism. Exercise in any form like walking , swimming, cycling, playing football ,workout with machines or yoga just for 30-35 minutes per day will not only helpful to control weight but also reduces risk of serious cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis etc. 

Diet Some people go on dieting or very strict diet regime to control obesity but that is not safe solution because after some days the person get bored and don’t want to be on control regime . Maintain regular meal times and have balanced meals. Uncontrolled eating habits also contribute to weight gain. 

Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products in daily diet. 

Drink lots of water Whenever hungry in between main meal prefer to have fruits especially juicy fruits or fruit juice preferably lemon, orange, carrot etc. Green salad is also healthier and makes filling of fullness to stomach. 

Avoid or minimize sugar intake, avoid sweets, chocolates, pudding, cakes as all these leads to extra calorie to body. In spite of sugar low calorie sweetener can be used. Honey can be used in juice or water which will help in speed up metabolism. Avoid high fat milk products like cheese and butter. 

Always prefer to have white meat like fish, instead of red meat as they are low in fat content. Some herbs available at home kitchen are also useful in controlling weights like fennel, fenugreek, mint, black pepper, ginger. These herbs help in digestion as well as raising metabolism. 

Last but not least always try to be happy,be strong mentally and continue positive efforts which will give positive result and good health.