People who suffer from obesity are often the subject of stereotyping from the people around them. A new study published in Obesity has described how this form of prejudice can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease amongst people with obesity. Some schools of thought support the theory that stigma can help motivate the individuals to lose weight, however this study has found that it might in fact have the opposite effect. The research involved 159 adults with obesity who completed questionnaires measuring depression, body shaming and the internalisation of this stigma.
It was found that ‘weight bias internalisation’ (which occurs when people apply negative stereotypes to themselves – such as laziness) and diagnosis of metabolic syndrome correlated. Furthermore, those who had been subject to body shaming were more likely to internalise weight bias, and therefore this exacerbated their weight problem. Dr Tom Wadden, co-author of the study, wanted to highlight that health care providers and the media play an important role in promoting weight loss and should therefore be aware that shaming people will have a negative effect on their overall health; in summary, patients with obesity need to be treated with respect and supported in order to improve their health and bring them back to a healthy weight.Read More
A recent study involving health workers in Houston hospitals has found that 78% of them are overweight or obese. 924 employees across six different hospitals took part in the research. Dr Shreela Sharma, lead author, explained that these results were above the national average and also worrying as obesity is linked to so many chronic diseases. Whilst intake of fruit and vegetables was consistent across all weight groups, it was the intake of fatty foods and sugary beverages that really separated each group.
Many of the participants in the study were classed as hospital administrators and technicians and lead sedentary lifestyles, furthermore 48% of participants reported not having any moderate physical activity during the week. Dr Sharma suggested that there is such a high number of overweight hospital workers due to the ‘nurturer effect’, where those who look after others are less likely to look after themselves. In addition to this, many of the workers were dissatisfied with their worksite wellness programs, saying that not much was being done to look after employees’ health. Overall, Dr Sharma stressed that hospital employers must also look after their own workforce whilst also caring for the public.Read More
The Endocrine Society has published a new set of guidelines to cover the prevention, treatment, and assessment for paediatric obesity. In the USA paediatric obesity costs an estimated £14.1 billion covering drugs prescriptions, emergency visits as well as outpatient appointments. Therefore there is a drive to identify those children at risk and the address these risks appropriately.
The clinical guidelines provide recommendations on how to evaluate children for medical and psychological complications. They also provide information on when to evaluate children for rare genetic causes of obesity, as well as when to consider medication and different surgical techniques for adolescents. The guidelines state that around 7% of children with severe obesity may suffer from a rare genetic mutation, and specific testing should be carried out if there is early onset obesity (before 5 years of age), an increased drive to eat food, or a family history of severe obesity.Read More
A new study conducted at the University of Texas at Dallas has found a link between impulsive personalities and the incidence of high body mass indices. The findings from this study have been published in Obesity. The study included 45 individuals and used different modalities to study their impulsivity such as self-reporting, neuropsychological testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging. By evaluating whether an individual’s decision making-style was more impulsive or cautious, using images on screens and measuring responses, the researchers were able to determine that participants with high BMI exhibited altered neural function compared to their normal weight counterparts.
The researchers originally thought that an inability to inhibit impulsive thoughts would be the driving factor behind the development of obesity, however it soon became clear that it was the inherent impulsive personality trait that is the mediating factor. Given these findings, the researchers hope that more will be done to develop treatments that provide coping skills or cognitive strategies for people to overcome impulsive behaviours. Further to this the increased self-awareness of impulsive behaviours may also help to control weight in certain individuals.Read More
Couples with obesity could take from 55 to 59% longer to conceive than their normal weight counterparts. This is the outcome of a study performed at the National Institute of Health. Many studies up until now have focused on the weight status of the potential mother, but this study looked at the impact of the father’s body composition as well. The study itself included 501 couples from across the USA and the follow-up period ran for four years.
The BMI status was measured for each couple and the probability of conception was also measured using a statistical measurement called fecunadbility odds ratio. Factors such as age, smoking status, physical activity, and cholesterol levels were accounted for and it was found that obese couples take far longer to conceive on average. The authors explain that fertility experts may want to take into account the weight status and body composition of both the male and the female when counselling about pregnancy.Read More