Tag Archives | Obesity

Earn Gold For Losing Weight (in Dubai)

320px-Mall_dubaiOh the irony: residents of Dubai, engorged and enlarged by the steady supply of petro-dollars, are being bribed by their government to lose weight with the promise of a gram of gold for every kilo lost. Via BBC News:

Authorities in Dubai are offering gold in return for weight loss in an scheme to encourage healthier living.

Those interested can sign up from Friday for the initiative which lasts over the next 30 days and coincides with Ramadan, a month of fasting.

For each kilogram lost, participants will receive a gram of gold, which is currently worth about $45 (£30).

Those taking part – dubbed “golden losers” – need to lose at least two kilos to receive the payout.

The three participants who lose the most weight will be entered into a draw to win a gold coin worth $5,400.

Called Your Weight in Gold the scheme was announced by Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

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Obesity Is Bigger Health Crisis Globally Than Hunger

At the beach - male abdominal obesityIt’s not just America y’all. Via CNN:

Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according to a new report published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries compared health data from 1990 through 2010 for the Global Burden of Disease report, revealing what they call a massive shift in global health trends.

“We discovered that there’s been a huge shift in mortality. Kids who used to die from infectious disease are now doing extremely well with immunization,” said Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the collaborative project.

“However, the world is now obese and we’re seeing the impact of that.”

The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades.

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BPA From Plastics, Food Packaging, Linked To Obesity

Americans may be growing fat not only from the foods we eat, but from the hormone-disrupting materials in which those foods are given to us. Via the Smithsonian:

Since the 1960s, manufacturers have widely used the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics and food packaging. A study by researchers from New York University, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 children and teens across the country and found a “significant” link between the amount of BPA in their urine and the prevalence of obesity.

The researchers speculate on a possible underlying mechanism, alluding to other studies that have shown that the chemical may disrupt mechanisms of human metabolism in ways that increase body mass. They also note studies that have revealed associations between urinary levels of BPA and incidences of adult diabetes, cardiovascular disease and abnormal liver function.

The vast majority of BPA in our bodies comes from ingestion of contaminated food and water.

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Death Row Inmate Too Fat to Die

The always-charming Nancy Grace profiles Ronald Post, a death row inmate seeking a stay of execution. Post, who weighs over 400 pounds, claims that the medical difficulties posed by his condition makes it likely that his execution would be "torturous." While the AP points out that a stay of execution would also allow Post's attorneys to pursue arguments that the inmate may have not actually confessed to the crimes he is accused of, Grace sidesteps this particular nuance in favor of her usual public stoning.
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A Third Of Homeless People Are Obese

Photo: David Dennis (CC)

Photo: David Dennis (CC)

How do homeless people have enough food to become obese? It seems something of a paradox, until you look at the processed junk they eat. Via CNN:

Obesity is a widespread epidemic, even among the homeless.

While the popularized image of a homeless individual is one of skin and bones, a new study shows the reality is not so. One in three (32.3%) homeless individuals in the United States is obese, highlighting a hunger-obesity paradox.

The paradox is that hunger and obesity can exist in the same person. And although a person may be overweight or obese, he or she can lack proper nutrition.

Nutrition is a daily challenge for homeless people, as the foods they manage to get are often full of preservatives and high in sodium, fats and sugars. They may not have access to healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s the lowest socio-economic group who has the biggest obesity problem,” said Paul Montgomery, one of the authors of the study published in the Journal of Urban Health.

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Sugar Shown To Be Toxic, Causing Cancer, Heart Disease

Although food activists have been warning for years of the dangers of the massive sugar overload in the American diet, and in particular the perils to our health from the ubiquitous High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), only now has the scientific research confirming their concerns become so compelling that the mainstream media is taking what was once a minority viewpoint seriously. The most remarkable thing about this "60 Minutes" investigation by celebrity doctor Sanjay Gupta is the short shrift given to the sugar industry's right to reply. Gupta and CBS News dismiss the industry representative's protest against the research summarily, essentially calling him out for having nothing of substance to say. Bravo Dr. Gupta! You can read a transcript of the segment here.
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Do You Suffer From Nature-Deficit Disorder?

BachalpseeflowersTell me you don’t, I dare you… Timothy Egan explains why in the New York Times:

Your day breaks, your mind aches for something stimulating to match the stirrings of the season. The gate at the urban edge is open, here to the Santa Catalina Mountains, and yet you turn inward, to pixels and particle-board vistas.

Something’s amiss. A third of all American adults — check, it just went up to 35.7 percent — are obese. The French don’t even have a word for fat, Paul Rudnick mused in a mock-Parisian tone in The New Yorker last week. “If a woman is obese,” he wrote, “we simply call her American.”

And, of course, our national branding comes with a host of deadly side effects: heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer. Medical costs associated with obesity and inactivity are nearly $150 billion a year.

This grim toll is well known.

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Carbon Dioxide Makes You Fat

So sayeth some Danish scientists, as reported in Science Nordic:
No, this is not 1 April — and this is not an April Fool’s hoax. Mad as it may sound, Danish researchers have announced a theory that may not only explain why people all over the world are getting fatter and fatter, but also warn of the serious consequences for life on Earth of continued pollution of the atmosphere by CO2 emissions. In itself, the theory is quite simple: CO2 contributes to making us fat.
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How The Food Industry Eats Your Kid’s Lunch

fries ketchupLucy Komisar, who contributed the essay “Dirty Money and Global Banking Secrecy” to the disinformation anthology Everything You Know Is Wrong, contributes a major op-ed to this Sunday’s New York Times:

An increasingly cozy alliance between companies that manufacture processed foods and companies that serve the meals is making students — a captive market — fat and sick while pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. At a time of fiscal austerity, these companies are seducing school administrators with promises to cut costs through privatization. Parents who want healthier meals, meanwhile, are outgunned.

Each day, 32 million children in the United States get lunch at schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program, which uses agricultural surplus to feed children. About 21 million of these students eat free or reduced-price meals, a number that has surged since the recession. The program, which also provides breakfast, costs $13.3 billion a year.

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Denmark Becomes First Nation With Tax On Fat In Food

5e75127e132dd772d5690399b691a022Is Denmark’s new fat tax a just response to the societal problems caused by obesity? Or is it sweet, buttery tyranny? Via the BBC:

Denmark has introduced what is believed to be the world’s first fat tax – a surcharge on foods that are high in saturated fat. Butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food are now subject to the tax if they contain more than 2.3% saturated fat.

Some consumers began hoarding to beat the price rise, while some producers call the tax a bureaucratic nightmare.

Danish officials say they hope the new tax will help limit the population’s intake of fatty foods.

However, some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target. They say salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates are more detrimental to health and should be tackled instead.

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