Outlook: Obesity Epidemic

Pharmacy Times
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Obesity Contributes to OvarianCancer

Obese menopausal women who havenever used hormone replacement therapyface a much higher risk of developingovarian cancer than their counterpartsof normal weight, according to theresults of a National Cancer Institutestudy reported in Cancer (February15, 2009). The findings revealed thatincreased estrogen production resultingfrom excess fat in postmenopausalwomen can fuel ovarian cell growth,thereby contributing to the developmentof ovarian cancer.

For the study, the researchers observedclose to 95,000 women aged50 to 71 during a 7-year period. Ofthe women, 303 developed ovarian cancer.The researchers found that obesewomen who had not taken hormonesafter menopause had close to an 80%higher risk of developing the disease.Conversely, the study did not find acausal relationship between body massindex and ovarian cancer risk in womenwho had used hormone therapy formenopause symptoms. Ovarian canceris the top killer among gynecologicmalignancies, with only 37% of thosewho develop it surviving for >5 years.

Green Tea Helps Burn Belly Bulge

Individuals exercising to lose weight mayenjoy a boost in burning of abdominalfat by drinking green tea, according tostudy results published in the February2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.To conduct the study, the researchersassigned 3 hours of exercise per weekto 132 participants with obesity, givinga green tea beverage containing about39 mg of caffeine and 625 mg of catechins,an antioxidant, to some, andgiving members of the control group abeverage containing only the caffeine.

Consuming the beverage resulted ingreater overall weight loss for the participants,and the researchers found significantevidence that those who drankgreen tea containing catechins particularlyexperienced reductions in totalabdominal fat, subcutaneous abdominalfat, and triglycerides.

Heart Failure Risk Much Higher forObese, Inactive Men

Overweight and obese men who do notexercise are faced with a greater threat ofheart failure, according to study findings.The researchers observed >21,000 malephysicians aged 40 to 84 for 20 years toreach their findings.

The results showed that, comparedwith lean and active participants, overweightmen have a 49% higher heartfailure risk. Overweight men who do notexercise heighten their risk by 78%. Forobese men, those who exercise have a168% increased risk, and those who areinactive have the highest risk, at 293%above lean and active men. For an averageman (of about 5 ft 10 in), every 7 lbof excess body fat creates a heightenedheart failure risk of 11%, according tothe investigators.

Close to 67% of Americans haveexcess body weight, and approximately30% take part in exercise, the researchersstated. The good news is that menwho participate in vigorous physicalactivity can significantly reduce theirrisk. The study was published in theJanuary 6, 2009, issue of Circulation.

Weight Problems in YoungstersUnderdiagnosed

Although pediatric overweight and obesityare swelling, the problems often goundiagnosed. Recent study data showthat, among overweight and obesepatients, girls were more likely to bediagnosed than boys, and black andHispanic patients were more likely tobe diagnosed, compared with whitepatients.

The study, published in the January2009 issue of Pediatrics, examined medicalrecord data from >60,000 patientsaged 2 to 18. Of the group, 19% wereoverweight, 23% were obese, and 8% (or33% of the obese group) were severelyobese. The researchers found that diagnoseswere made for 10% of the overweightgroup, 54% of the obese group,and 76% of the severely obese patients.The study team stressed the importanceof diagnosing overweight and obesity inkids, saying it is critical in dealing withthis growing epidemic.

Maternal Obesity Linked to InfantDeath Risk

Babies, especially newborns, born toobese mothers have a higher death riskthan those born to mothers of normalweight, according to a new study. Theresearchers compared records for 4265babies who died during infancy withthose of 7293 who survived, using USNational Maternal and Infant HealthSurvey data from 1988.

The researchers found that obesewomen had an increased infant deathrisk, either from complications duringpregnancy, or from disorders surroundingshorter gestation periods and lowbirth weights. Overweight women whogained the most weight and those whogained the least weight during pregnancyalso faced a heightened infantdeath risk, according to the study resultspublished in the January 2009 issue ofEpidemiology.

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