outlook: OBESITY epidemic

Author: Susan Farley

Debunking Nutrition Myths
People trying to eat healthfully may be reading and passing on a lot of information regarding nutrition; not all of it is necessarily correct. At the American College of Sports Medicine?s 11th Annual Health and Fitness Summit and Exposition in Dallas, Tex, Wendy Repovich, PhD, FACSM, and Janet Peterson, DrPH, FACSM, addressed some common nutrition myths:

Asthma Rates Increase with Obesity
A recent study found that if the two thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese achieved a significant weight loss, then the number of new asthma cases in US adults ?might fall by as much as 250,000 per year.? These data come from a report by E. Rand Sutherland, MD, MPH, and David A. Beuther, MD, of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colo. They and their research team studied the relationship between body mass index (BMI) categories and the occurrence of asthma by pooling data from 7 studies encompassing 333,102 adults. Adults who were overweight or obese were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, compared with normal-weight adults. In fact, a higher BMI level meant a greater likelihood of developing asthma. The results were published in the April 2007 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

How Teens Achieve Successful Weight Loss
According to a University of Minnesota Medical School study, the following lifestyle alterations have been identified as factors resulting in successful weight loss among teenagers:

Lead author Kerri Boutelle, PhD, remarked, ?This study gives researchers, clinicians, and parents a better understanding that teens can lose weight, and what behaviors are associated with success.?

Atkins Wins Battle of the Diets
A recent study randomly assigned 311 overweight/obese, nondiabetic, premenopausal women to 1 of 4 diets: the very-low-carbohydrate Atkins diet; the moderately low-carb Zone diet; the high-carb Ornish diet; or the low-fat, high-carb LEARN diet, which is based on national dietary guidelines. At 12 months, the Atkins diet came out on top with a 10.4-lb average weight loss (Figure).

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.