Study of One Million Americans Shows Obesity and Pain Linked

Newswise — STONY BROOK, N.Y., January 26, 2012 – A clear association between obesity and pain – with higher rates of pain identified in the heaviest individuals – was found in a study of more than one million Americans published January 19 in the online edition of Obesity. In “Obesity and Pain Are Associated in the United States,” Stony Brook University researchers Arthur A. Stone, PhD., and Joan E. Broderick, Ph.D. report this finding based on their analysis of 1,010,762 respondents surveyed via telephone interview by the Gallop Organization between 2008 and 2010.

Previous small-scale studies have shown links between obesity and pain. The Stony Brook study took a very large sample of American men and women who answered health survey questions. The researchers calculated respondents’ body mass index (BMI) based on questions regarding height and weight. Respondents answered questions about pain, including if they “experienced pain yesterday.”

“Our findings confirm and extend earlier studies about the link between obesity and pain. These findings hold true after we accounted for several common pain conditions and across gender and age,” says Dr. Stone, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and an expert on patient reported measures of health, pain, and well-being.

Sixty three percent of the 1,010,762 people who responded to the survey were classified as overweight (38 percent) or obese (25 percent). Obese respondents were further classified into one of three obesity levels as defined by the World Health Organization. In comparison to individuals with low to normal weight, the overweight group reported 20 percent higher rates of pain. The percent increase of reported pain in comparison to the normal weight group grew rapidly in the obese groups: 68 percent higher for Obese 1 group, 136 percent higher for Obese 2 group, and 254 percent higher for Obese 3 group.

“We wanted to explore this relationship further by checking to see if it was due to painful diseases that cause reduced activity, which in turn causes increased weight,” says Joan E. Broderick, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and School of Public Health at Stony Brook University, and lead investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study on how arthritis patients manage their own pain.

“We found that ‘pain yesterday’ was definitely more common among people with diseases that cause bodily pain. Even so, when we controlled for these specific diseases, the weight-pain relationship held up. This finding suggests that obesity alone may cause pain, aside from the presence of painful diseases,” Dr. Broderick explains.

Interestingly, the pain that obese individuals reported was not driven exclusively by musculoskeletal pain, a type of pain that individuals carrying excess weight might typically experience.

Drs. Broderick and Stone also suggest that there could be several plausible explanations for the close obesity/pain relationship. These include the possibility that having excess fat in the body triggers complex physiological processes that result in inflammation and pain; depression, often experienced by obese individuals, is also linked to pain; and medical conditions that cause pain, such as arthritis, might result in reduced levels of exercise thereby resulting in weight gain. The researchers also indicated that the study showed as people get older, excess weight is associated with even more pain, which suggests a developmental process.

Drs. Broderick and Stone believe that the study findings support the importance of metabolic investigations into the causes of pain, as well as the need for further investigation of the obesity—pain link in U.S. populations.

Released: 1/26/2012

Source:  Stony Brook University Medical Center

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-of-one-million-americans-shows-obesity-and-pain-linked

Take a Big Fat Break this Mardi Gras Because Carnival Means “So long” to Meat

– Meatless Monday campaign offers delicious recipes for the lean days ahead-

Mardi Gras, also called Carnival, celebrates the last day of indulgence before the start of the Lenten season. During Lent, millions of households will cut back on meat and other rich foods. Meatless Monday offers recipes with photos to help observers through the “lean” weeks of Lent and beyond. With the simplicity of Meatless Monday, reducing meat in our diets is easier than you think and the health benefits can be huge.

Newswise — For centuries, Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday, also called Carnival – has celebrated the last day of indulgence before the start of the Lenten season. During Lent, millions of households will cut back on meat and other rich foods during this period of purification. The word Carnival itself stems from the Latin carne vale, or “farewell to flesh.”

Today, there are more reasons than ever to take the occasional break from meat. Reducing the amount of meat in our diets can benefit our personal health, the environment and even our wallets. Meatless Monday, a public health initiative produced in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, advises foregoing meat just one day a week as one way to reap these benefits. “It’s easier than you think and the payoff can be huge,” says Robert Lawrence, MD, director of the Center for a Livable Future. “Eating less meat not only helps lower cholesterol and decrease cancer risks; it reduces your carbon footprint and helps conserve water. Plus, plant-based meals cost less, an added bonus during these economically tough times.”

Many Americans are heeding the call for a healthier diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that we will be eating about 12% less meat in 2012 than we did five years ago.

The simplicity of Meatless Monday has turned the initiative into a global movement. The campaign is now flourishing in 22 countries and counts among its followers such celebrities as film director James Cameron; co-host of ABC’s The Chew, chef Mario Batali; hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons; and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

A poll conducted by FGI Research for The Monday Campaigns found that more than 50% of Americans were aware of the Meatless Monday movement, with 27% of those aware actively participating.

Meatless Monday offers hundreds of recipes in its online database to help observers through the “lean” weeks of Lent and beyond, including Smothered Mushrooms (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/smothered-mushrooms) and Spicy Rice with Kale (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/spicy-rice-with-kale).

Released: 1/25/2012          Source: The Monday Campaigns

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/take-a-big-fat-break-this-mardi-gras-because-carnival-means-so-long-to-meat

Diet and Health..Plate Size Doesn’t Help Reduce Calories

Newswise — The size of one’s dinner plate does not help to curb energy intake or control portion sizes, according to a recent study conducted at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

“Smaller plates are often recommended as a way of controlling intake, but that simply isn’t an effective strategy,” said Meena Shah, senior researcher and professor of kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth. “There was no plate size, weight status, or plate size by weight status effect on meal energy intake.”

Researchers including Meena Shah, senior researcher, Rebecca Schroeder, lead researcher, and Walker Winn from Texas Christian University, and Beverley Adams-Huet from UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas examined 10 normal weight women and 10 overweight or obese women over two different days at lunch. Subjects were randomly assigned to consume lunch using either a small (21.6 cm) or large (27.4 cm) plate. The meal, which consisted of spaghetti and tomato sauce, was served in an individual serving bowl. Each subject was asked to self-serve the food from the bowl onto the assigned plate and instructed to eat until satisfied. The meal was consumed alone and without any distractions. During the second lunch, each subject went through the same procedure but using the alternative size plate.

“It is possible that plate size does not have an impact on energy intake because people eat until they are full regardless of what utensils they are using,” said Shah.

Plate size also did not affect ratings of palatability, hunger, satiety, fullness and prospective consumption in either normal weight or overweight/obese women.

“Those who were overweight/obese reported lower levels of hunger and prospective consumptions before the meals and felt less full after the meals compared to normal weight subjects despite no difference in energy consumption between two groups,” said Shah. “This suggests that overweight/obese individuals may have a lower ability to sense hunger and fullness than normal weight adults.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in December.

Released: 1/18/2012

Source: Dick Jones Communications

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/plate-size-doesn-t-help-reduce-calories-study-says

Ring in a New Healthier You in 2012!

Newswise — BOSTON— With the start of a new year, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute experts are encouraging people to ring in new healthy habits and offer a number of free and low-cost strategies to help people maintain good health and possibly reduce various cancer risks.

Get moving!
Staying fit and healthy can be as simple as lacing up a pair of sneakers and going for a walk. Moderate to intensive aerobic exercise, according to studies, can reduce the risk of recurrence of several cancers, including colon and breast.

“You don’t have to be a marathon runner, but the more you exercise, typically the greater the beneficial effect,” says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, a Dana-Farber gastrointestinal cancer specialist.

Here are some inexpensive ways to workout, but consult a doctor first.
– Using the stairs rather than an elevator.
– Walking or riding a bike rather than driving.
– Taking an exercise break or quick walk at work.
– Using a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV.

Color Your World…and your shirt?
It doesn’t cost anything to walk by the cookie aisle and into a store’s produce section. And, taking that little detour can provide many health benefits. A diet low in processed sugars, red meat and calories, but high in fruits and vegetables and loaded with antioxidants is one of the simplest ways to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of certain cancer.
The overall key is to look for colorful produce like pomegranates, tomatoes, eggplant, grapes, cherries, and turnip. The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of nutrients.
“In the nutrition world, we like to say if it comes from the ground and it stains your shirt, you want to be eating it,” says Stephanie Meyers, MS, RD/LDN, a nutritionist at Dana-Farber.

Skip that cocktail
Limiting alcohol consumption can save money and it may lower the risk of developing some cancers. Dana-Farber researchers found that women who consume one alcoholic drink a day may increase their risk for breast cancer. “Women need to consider the possible effects of alcohol on breast cancer risk when weighing the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption,” says Wendy Chen, MD, PhD, a breast cancer expert. “Our findings indicate that in some women, even modest levels of alcohol consumption may elevate their risk of breast cancer.”

Save money and lives – quit smoking
Buying cigarettes and other tobacco products can really take a bite out of a budget. Kicking the habit can result in both a healthier lifestyle and significant financial savings.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. It also causes more than 80 percent of all cases of lung cancer and increases the risk of oral, throat, pancreatic, uterine, bladder, and kidney cancers.

“Even though there have been many recent advances in lung cancer treatments, the most effective way to eradicate lung cancer is to prevent it from ever happening,” explains Bruce Johnson, MD, director of Dana-Farber’s Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology. Johnson emphasizes that it is never too late to quit.

People who stop and remain nonsmokers for at least 10 to 20 years can cut their risk of developing lung cancer in half.
– Plan the quit day
– Follow the four D’s: Deep breaths, Drink lots of water, Do something to avoid focusing on cravings, Delay reaching for a cigarette – the urge will pass.
– Avoid triggers: Get rid of cigarettes, lighters, matches, and ashtrays.

Sunscreen ‘applies’ year round
Sunscreen shouldn’t be packed away after summer ends. Skin can be exposed to harmful rays all year long. Snow, ice and water can all reflect the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that causes sunburn, which, in turn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Some experts say winter sports enthusiasts can face just as much risk of getting sunburn as summer sunbathers. Dana-Farber experts remind to protect year round.
– Wear sunscreen, lip balm and makeup with an SPF of 15 or higher.
– Use UV-blocking eye protection, especially for skiing.
– In a tropical setting, wear a broad brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
– Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.

Don’t forget your dentist
Visiting the dentist is not just about clean and healthy teeth. Dentists also are on the front lines of detecting cancer in the mouth. Research shows more than half of all smokeless tobacco users have non-cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions in their mouth. In addition to the increased risk of cancer, smoking and chewing tobacco erodes teeth and gums. “The treatment for this type of head and neck cancer can be a radical and deforming surgery,” warns Robert Haddad, MD, disease center leader of the head and neck oncology program at Dana-Farber. He stresses, “The changes in the cells never go away once they happen. So don’t start using tobacco and if you have, get help to stop.”

Released: Released: 12/28/2011

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/ring-in-a-new-healthier-you-in-2012

Pick Up the Cell Phone, Drop the Pounds!

Photo Credit: UC San Diego School of Medicine Pictured: The team from CalIT2's Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems.

Newswise — Cell phones aren’t just for talking any more. Surfing the web, storing music and posting to Facebook have all contributed to the near-mandatory use of a cell phone. How about using that cell phone to lose weight? Researchers with Calit2’s Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at University of California, San Diego are expanding a previous study aimed at finding out if cell phone technology can help with weight loss.

For one year, researchers with the “ConTxt” study will evaluate the use of cell phone text messages to remind participants to make wise nutritional choices throughout the day. Participants randomized to the intervention conditions will also be given tailored messages for weight loss and lifestyle changes as well as a pedometer to monitor their daily activity.

“ConTxt is an innovative, yet straightforward approach to getting people to monitor their diet and physical activity,” says CWPHS project principal investigator Kevin Patrick, MD, MS, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We are trying to make this as pain free as possible. People won’t stick to something that’s too difficult and they’re all multi-tasking anyway. We’re doing this study to increase what we know about using the cell phone to get messages to busy people on the go.”

Who Can Participate?

ConTxt is recruiting more than 300 participants who meet these criteria:

*Men and women
*21 to 60 years of age
*Overweight or moderately obese with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27-39.9
*Own a cell phone capable of sending and receiving picture and text messages
*English and Spanish speaking participants that reside in San Diego county

Strategy

As a part of tailoring of the program, surveys completed during baseline visit will help assess the participant’s lifestyle, for example, assessing nearby grocery stores, finding opportunities for physical activity and possibly enlisting the support of friends or family.

The intervention is designed to send “prompts,” text or picture messages, with specific suggestions or tips regarding diet and improving lifestyle habits. “It seems like everybody has a cell phone. Those who do usually carry it with them at all times,” explained ConTxt study coordinator Lindsay W. Dillon, MPH, CHES. “We want to see if we can use that same technology to get people to think differently.”

About CWPHS

CWPHS research focuses on how the health of individuals, families, communities, social networks, and populations can be improved through the creative use of wireless and networked technologies. CWPHS is Housed within the UCSD Division of Calit2: The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Collaborators include physicians and scientists with backgrounds in clinical and preventive medicine, computer science and engineering, social networks, political science, clinical and experimental psychology, electrical engineering, health behavior, behavioral exercise and nutrition science and public health. Center research is supported through public and private sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and Nokia Research.

To learn more about enrolling in the ConTxt study, call in USA        858-534-8412       or email us at contxtcoach@ucsd.edu.

Via Newswise

Source: University of California, San Diego Health Sciences

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/pick-up-the-cell-phone-drop-the-pounds2

Supersized Market Economy, Supersized Belly: Wealthier Nations Have More Fast Food and More Obesity

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich.—New research from the University of Michigan suggests obesity can be seen as one of the unintended side effects of free market policies.

A study of 26 wealthy nations shows that countries with a higher density of fast food restaurants per capita had much higher obesity rates compared to countries with a lower density of fast food restaurants per capita.

“It’s not by chance that countries with the highest obesity rates and fast food restaurants are those in the forefront of market liberalization, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, versus countries like Japan and Norway, with more regulated and restrictive trade policies,” said Roberto De Vogli, associate professor in the U-M School of Public Health, and lead researcher of the study.

For example, in the United States, researchers reported 7.52 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people, and in Canada they reported 7.43 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people. The paper reported the obesity rates among US men and women were 31.3 percent and 33.2 percent, respectively. The obesity rates for Canadian men and women were 23.2 percent and 22.9 percent, respectively.

Compare that to Japan, with 0.13 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people, and Norway, with 0.19 restaurants per capita. Obesity rates for men and women in Japan were 2.9 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. In Norway, obesity rates for men and women were 6.4 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. The relationships remain consistent even when researchers controlled for variables such as income, income inequality, urban areas, motor vehicles and internet use per capita.

Obesity research largely overlooks the global market forces behind the epidemic, De Vogli said.

“In my opinion the public debate is too much focused on individual genetics and other individual factors, and overlooks the global forces in society that are shaping behaviors worldwide. If you look at trends overtime for obesity, it’s shocking,” De Vogli said.

“Since the 1980s, since the advent of trade liberalization policies that have indirectly…promoted transnational food companies…we see rates that have tripled or quadrupled. There is no biological, genetic, psychological or community level factor that can explain this. Only a global type of change can explain this.”

Researchers chose one fast food restaurant to use as a proxy measure for how many fast food restaurants were present per 100,000. The study is in no way an indictment of that restaurant, De Vogli said, but rather an indicator of fast food density in a particular area.

Fast food refers to food sold in restaurants or stores with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form. A typical fast food meal includes a hamburger, fries and a soft drink, the paper said. Fast food is usually high in fat and calories, and several studies have found associations between fast food intake and increased body mass index, weight gain and obesity. Obesity accounts for approximately 400,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Fast food consumption is also related to insulin resistance and type II diabetes, another major worldwide public health threat.

The paper, “Globesization: ecological evidence on the relationship between fast food outlets and obesity among 26 advanced economies,” will be published in the December print issue of Critical Public Health. The study was funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council.

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: University of Michigan

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/supersized-market-economy-supersized-belly-wealthier-nations-have-more-fast-food-and-more-obesity

Fast-Food…..What The Doctor Orders

Order what the doctor orders at your favorite fast food place - Loyola physician and nutrition specialist helps you navigate the menu to order smart.

Newswise — Counting calories doesn’t have to end when facing a fast-food menu. Between shopping excursions to the mall, juggling school activities or taking long car trips, swinging into a convenient burger or taco joint doesn’t have to mean you are entering a nutritional wasteland. “The average american consumes close to 50% of his or her meals outside of the home and fast- food restaurants are abundant,” said Dr. Jessica Bartfield, internal medicine who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System. “By following a few rules, you can keep any fast food meal in calorie check.”

Dr. Bartfield likes sandwich shops that allow customers to load up on vegetable toppings, which adds nutritional value, and also pass on higher-calorie ingredients like cheese and dressings. “I am also a fan of fast-food places that offer soup or even chili as soup can be a terrific option, particularly ones loaded with veggies, lean meats and beans,” she said. “Be careful to avoid the cream- or cheese-based soups and beware the bread bowl, which can increase the calories by up to 1,000.”

Dr. Bartfield’s Fast-Food Favorite Five:

1 – “Select grilled rather than fried. A fast-food grilled chicken sandwich has 470 calories and 18 grams of fat while the fried version has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat.”

2 – “Hold off on cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings unless low-fat options are available. Cheese can add an additional 100 calories or more per serving, as does mayonnaise and, often, you won’t miss the taste when ordering the plainer versions.”

3 – “Order the smallest size available. Go for the single burger rather than the double and for the small fry rather than bonus-size.”

4 – “Skip sugar-sweetened drinks, which are usually absent in nutritional value and don’t make you feel more satisfied. These calories quickly add up leading to excessive calorie consumption, especially at restaurants offering free refills on drinks.”

“5 – Save half of your order for your next meal. You save calories, save time and also save money.”

Released: 12/14/2011

Source: Loyola University Health System

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/fast-food-picks-that-won-t-wreck-your-waistline

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