There’s been an explosion in news on the scientific front over the past few weeks about new findings and possible ‘cures’ for obesity. Today, I’ll catch you up on all that, and share some observations of my own about whether any one ‘medical’ method is the best approach…
New hormone injection aids weight loss
An experimental study at Imperial College in London, UK, has demonstrated that injections of the hormone combination called ‘GOP’ for short reduces appetite, causes weight loss and improves the body’s ability to use the sugar absorbed from eating. The injection helped reduce body weight and glucose levels in patients with diabetes and obesity in four weeks.
The findings came from a small study in which patients lost on average 4.4kg and the treatment led to substantial improvements to their blood glucose, with some patients’ reducing to near-normal levels.
Obesity is a common problem in the UK where it is estimated that one in four adults are obese.
Intestinal bacteria prevent mice from becoming obese
Researchers at University of Utah Health have identified a specific class of bacteria from the gut that prevents mice from becoming obese, suggesting these same microbes may similarly control weight in people. The beneficial bacteria, called Clostridia, are a natural part of the microbiome – collectively trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit the intestine.
“Now that we’ve found the minimal bacteria responsible for this slimming effect, we have the potential to really understand what the organisms are doing and whether they have therapeutic value,” Study report CO-Senior Author Dr. June Round says.
Certain exercises aid those with genetic tendency to obesity
For people who inherited genes that increase their chance of becoming obese, there is hope for keeping the weight off. A study has identified the types of exercise that are especially effective at combating genetic effects that contribute to obesity.
The researchers looked specifically at five measures of obesity, such as body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist-to-hip ratio. They found that regular jogging was the best type of exercise for managing obesity, according to the five measures. Moreover, mountain climbing, walking, power walking, certain types of dancing, and long yoga practices also reduce BMI in individuals predisposed to obesity.
It appears that genetics are not equivalent to destiny when it comes to obesity.
Empowerment program helps kids control their own obesity
A new pilot study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers is the first to use youth-produced narratives to empower youth to reduce sugary drink consumption and obesity risk. In the study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, participants in the pilot program at the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Worcester and their parents consumed fewer sugary drinks and more water over a six-month period than children and parents at a demographically-similar BGC in a nearby city.
“Youth created their own narratives around why it was important for them – not their parents, teachers, or researchers […] – to change the types of beverages they were drinking,” says study Lead Author Dr. Monica Wang. “This type of empowerment strategy recognizes youth as experts in their own lives, and may be particularly engaging for youth of color.”
Obese people get more satisfaction from their food
A new study found no significant difference in taste perceptions between participants of normal weight and those who were overweight. However, participants with obesity had initial taste perceptions that were greater than participants who were not obese, which declined at a more gradual rate than participants who were not obese. This quantification of satisfaction from food may help explain why some people eat more than others.
“Causes of obesity are varied, but food consumption decisions play an important role, especially decisions about what foods to eat and how much to consume. Taste perceptions may lead to overeating. If people with obesity have different taste perceptions than non-obese people, it could lead to better understanding of obesity and possibly designing new approaches to prevent obesity,” explained Study Lead investigator Dr. Linnea A. Polgreen of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Iowa.
The foregoing selection of dispatches from various health and wellness science news services simply demonstrates why obesity is proving so difficult to deal with. There seems to be a huge number of contributing causes underlying the problem. And that demonstrates my point about why one approach or one ‘wonder drug’ isn’t going to bring this big, angry dog of an affliction to heel. Or is they key to ‘curing’ obesity largely the proper diagnosis of every individual’s personal reason for being overweight and applying the right ‘cure’?
At least we’re getting to the root of the causes of obesity – genes, gut bacteria, inactivity, and so on – on our way to assembling a clear picture of how the condition develops. And maybe that’s the most important thing to concentrate on at this stage of the global war on this scourge.
~ Maggie J.