Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

UK Obesity barometer launched — we’re getting fatter

February 7, 2011
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The UK Obesity Barometer shows that around 1.2 million people in the UK moved into the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ category over the festive season* pushing levels to a new high. The LighterLife UK Obesity Barometer shows that although overweight or obese averages decreased in some regions, overall, the nation has piled on the pounds over the last few weeks.

Whilst over one third of people questioned before the holidays in the UK were worried about putting on a few pounds over the festive season, the LighterLife UK Obesity Barometer shows that, in reality, over a million people have piled on enough weight to slip into the overweight or obese categories (Overweight Body Mass Index (BMI) = 25–29.9, Obese BMI = 30+).

The LighterLife UK Obesity Barometer has been developed with the National Obesity Forum to track the changing rates of obesity by region across the UK throughout 2011.

Dr David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said: “We all know obesity rates are rising so we are pleased to support the LighterLife UK Obesity Barometer as a way of tracking obesity levels and raising awareness in the UK.  People often put on weight at Christmas time, however it will be interesting to see how many can shift the excess pounds in the next few weeks and months. For those who have a BMI of 25 or more, they are at increased risk of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, so it’s important that the weight gained is lost. The barometer will prove invaluable to track the weight of the nation at both a regional and national level.”

The barometer will highlight weight across the regions in the UK and people will be able to see how this fluctuates over this coming year.  Tips and advice for those worried about their weight are also provided with links to helpful advice on the LighterLife website.


Intestinal Bacteria May Contribute to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

April 27, 2010
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Intestinal bacteria helps increase appetite? Its just put me off my lunch…!

According to researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, obesity and metabolic syndrome may be partially brought on by intestinal bacteria that increase appetite and insulin resistance. The two can lead to overeating and high blood sugar levels – both important factors in the eventual onset of type 2 diabetes. Perhaps even more interesting, the scientists found that the bacteria can be transferred from one mouse to another, creating increased appetite and insulin resistance in an animal that had previously experienced neither.

As a result, the researchers believe that excessive consumption of calories may be more than simply a matter of undisciplined eating. If scientists can duplicate the results with human test subjects, they might find additional ways to treat or forestall obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Both animals and people acquire intestinal bacteria from their family members soon after birth. If bacteria that can predispose individuals to overeating and eventual insulin resistance are so easily transferred, it means that the environment, not just genetics, can lead to those outcomes.

The Emory researchers think, however, that there may be a genetic component to the altered bacteria. They are now looking into a gene called toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), which plays a role in controlling intestinal bacteria, to see if a deficiency in TLR5 in humans and mice is a key to increased appetite.

The Emory findings were published online in the March 4 issue of Science.

via: Intestinal Bacteria May Contribute to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

The more you weigh the more likely you are to underestimate your true size, according to new research

April 15, 2010
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They say the camera adds ten pounds… perhaps the mirror does too?

The more you weigh, the more likely you are to underestimate your true size, according to new research that reveals fascinating insights into the way severely overweight patients undergoing assessment for weight loss surgery see themselves.

According to the study, carried out by leading bariatric (weight loss) surgeon David Kerrigan and his team at Gravitas, 50% of patients surveyed had a distorted perception of their body image, making them unable to identify their correct body shape when shown a selection of images ranging from underweight to massively obese.

Yet while one in three patients with a body mass index (BMI) under 50 in this group overestimated their size, over three quarters of those who had a BMI over 50, ie the super-obese, thought they were actually lighter than they were.

As Mr Kerrigan points out, the findings may explain why certain patients allow themselves to go on gaining weight when they are already clearly massively obese.

“What is particularly interesting about these findings is that having a BMI of over 50 seems to represent a threshold that once crossed is associated with denial, underestimation of weight gain and thus progression to ever-more severe degrees of obesity,” says Mr Kerrigan, who advised the government on the NICE obesity guidelines used today.

“It is perhaps not surprising to discover that some lighter patients with a weight problem think they look bigger than they do. This may be because they feel guilty, embarrassed and dogged by low self-esteem and depression, and therefore have a tendency to an exaggerated perception as to how large their body is.

“But there seems to come a point at which patients start to bury their heads in the sand and go into denial about the true extent of their weight problem, which may lead them to abandon on-going attempts at weight control,” adds Mr Kerrigan, who is medical director at Gravitas.

For the study, Gravitas researchers asked 112 patients undergoing assessment for weight loss surgery to identify their correct body shape from a selection of standardised silhouettes ranging from underweight through to massive obesity.

The survey revealed:

• Half (50%) of all obese patients surveyed could not correctly identify their current body shape
• This distorted self-perception was most marked in the super-obese (BMI >50), over three quarters (77%) of whom were unable to identify their true body shape with any degree of accuracy
• All super obese patients who were unable to identify their body image correctly underestimated their size
• Of the one in three obese patients with a BMI under 50 who incorrectly identified their body shape almost all overestimated their size

Mr Kerrigan added that a reassuring finding from the study was that most patients had realistic expectations of what weight loss surgery can deliver, although a third wanted to end up with a normal body mass, something weight loss surgery rarely delivers. However, a worrying 5% chose a silhouette that was underweight when asked to identify the body shape they felt represented an ideal outcome from surgery.

“This simple screening technique may prove useful in identifying the small number of patients with significant mental health issues manifesting themselves as a desire for extreme degrees of post-operative weight loss, who should be guided towards psychological support rather than surgery in the first instance,” said Mr Kerrigan.

The findings of the study were presented recently at the inaugural Scientific Meeting of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS), which awarded Gravitas the BOMSS Council Prize for the best research presentation. ENDS

Notes to editors:
A person is classified as obese if they have a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30 and morbidly obese if it is more than 40. A person with a BMI over 50 is classified as super obese. Surgical candidates should have a BMI of at least 35 (if they have other medical problems) or 40 (if they do not). A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A person’s BMI is calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared.

About Gravitas (
Gravitas is a network of doctors and surgeons in the UK and Ireland committed to working to the highest ethical and professional standards in bariatric surgery. Awarded the prestigious ‘team of the year’ accolade for innovative surgical practice by the independent Association for the Study of Obesity in 2009, Gravitas treats both private and NHS patients and has helped train many bariatric surgeons in the UK through its fellowship programme for senior surgical trainees.

About Mr David Kerrigan
MD with Distinction (1992), FRCS, FRCSEd (1986), MBChB (1982)
Honorary senior lecturer in surgery at the University of Liverpool, Mr Kerrigan practises at the Spire Murrayfield Hospital, Wirral and is amongst the elite of UK bariatric surgeons. He is also medical director of Gravitas. Widely respected by both the public and his surgical peers for his technical skill and commitment to uncompromisingly high standards of bariatric care and aftercare, David Kerrigan is a pioneer of laparoscopic (keyhole) bariatric surgery in the UK and has lectured widely on this subject both here and abroad. His work has been featured in numerous television and newspaper reports.

For further information, please contact:
Tracey Williams, PR Consultant
Tel: 01225 723237


Study Explains How Weight-Loss Surgery May Impact Type 2 Diabetes

April 10, 2010
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Some information about how obesity contributes to Type 2 diabetes and the potential benefits of weight loss surgery.

While the exact cause of diabetes is not yet known, researchers do believe there is a link with obesity. In recent years, several news reports have claimed that bariatric, or lap-band surgery can reverse or “cure” Type 2 diabetes. While it sometimes resurfaces among those having the surgery, most had attributed the positive results to the weight loss.

However, researchers say weight-loss surgery in rats, which is similar to bariatric surgery in humans, causes biochemical changes in the body, according to an article from UC Davis. The surgery has shown to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. These findings should help researchers identify strategies for fighting and preventing the disease and its complications in humans.

The findings show that changes in the hormones made by the gastrointestinal tract may be as important to fighting the disease as the ultimate weight loss. The surgery ends up moving unabsorbed nutrients further along in the small intestines. This triggers the increase secretion of the hormones GLP-1 and PYY, which are known to have a role in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.

Forget surgery. That much information is more than enough to put you off your lunch!

via: Study Explains How Weight-Loss Surgery May Impact Type 2 Diabetes

‘Fat Hormone’ May Hold Key to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes | Diabetes News Hound

January 18, 2010
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Leptin, commonly referred to as the fat hormone, may hold the key to reversing Type 2 diabetes, according to a recent article on WebMD.

New research suggests that just a small amount of the hormone can control a gene in the liver that has shown to help diabetic mice. However, unlike other studies, which conclude that this hormone may help diabetics by promoting weight loss, the researchers in the current study suggests that the amount of the hormone used in this study is too small to promote weight loss. They say these results show that the benefits of this hormone on diabetes and on weight loss are independent of each other.

via ‘Fat Hormone’ May Hold Key to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes | Diabetes News Hound.

SpringerLink – Journal Article

January 15, 2010
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A report in Diabetologia asserts stress leads to inflammation leads to Type 2 diabetes:

“The recent major increase in the global incidence of type 2 diabetes suggests that most cases of this disease are caused by changes in environment and lifestyle. All major risk factors for type 2 diabetes (overnutrition, low dietary fibre, sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation and depression) have been found to induce local or systemic low-grade inflammation that is usually transient or milder in individuals not at risk for type 2 diabetes. By contrast, inflammatory responses to lifestyle factors are more pronounced and prolonged in individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes and appear to occur also in the pancreatic islets. Chronic low-grade inflammation will eventually lead to overt diabetes if counter-regulatory circuits to inflammation and metabolic stress are compromised because of a genetic and/or epigenetic predisposition. Hence, it is not the lifestyle change per se but a deficient counter-regulatory response in predisposed individuals which is crucial to disease pathogenesis. Novel approaches of intervention may target these deficient defence mechanisms.”

via SpringerLink – Journal Article.

Big Fat America –

January 11, 2010
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This is just a part of a very good article by Michael Maiello — editor of Markets and Intelligent Investing at Forbes: “What we really need, and the food industry hates this, is more disclosure. By all means use pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetic modifications, just tell me you’re doing it and I’ll decide on a case-by-case basis what I think is appropriate. The food industry has fought labeling at every turn, arguing, oddly, that if it is forced to say that a product is the result of genetic modifications that people will think there’s something wrong with it. But some people already think there’s something wrong, and it’s not right to slip them products they don’t want to eat.”

via Big Fat America –

Type 2 diabetes gene predisposes children to obesity – Diabetes Health

January 11, 2010
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A gene named HHEX/IDE, which has already been implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes (see research article), may also contribute to childhood obesity. While the gene does not appear to affect birth weight and does not necessarily predispose an adult to become obese, it may set the stage for obesity in some children.

via Type 2 diabetes gene predisposes children to obesity – Diabetes Health.

Body mass index – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

December 15, 2009
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Because the BMI is dependent only upon weight and height, it makes simplistic assumptions about distribution of muscle and bone mass, and thus may overestimate adiposity on those with more lean body mass (e.g. athletes) while underestimating adiposity on those with less lean body mass (e.g. the elderly).

A 2005 study in America showed that overweight people actually had a lower death rate than normal weight people as defined by BMI.

via Body mass index – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Editorial: Fat policy is a big loser | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/07/2009

December 11, 2009
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Officials at historically black Lincoln say its policy requiring an exercise class for graduation was adopted in 2006 in response to the growing obesity epidemic. The policy is believed to be unique among U.S. colleges. This year's seniors are the first who must complete the course.

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that African Americans have a 51 percent greater likelihood than whites of becoming obese.

via Editorial: Fat policy is a big loser | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/07/2009.

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