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Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndrome(20 posts)

Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeTxTarpon
Jan 17, 2002 8:09 AM
Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndrome
By Lindsey Tanner
AP Medical Writer
Published January 15, 2002, 3:12 PM CST

At least 47 million American adults — or more than one in five — have metabolic syndrome, a disorder that often includes a beer belly, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol readings and high blood sugar, according to a disturbing new study.

Metabolic syndrome has been recognized since at least the 1920s, though it has been called different things over the years. It is not a single disease but a cluster of health problems, and despite its name, does not necessarily mean a person's metabolism is defective.

Though experts say the syndrome may be caused by a combination of genes and lifestyle factors, lifestyle — including overeating and a lack of exercise — are probably the most important factors, said Dr. Earl Ford of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study.

Experts suspected the syndrome was common but were uncertain about its prevalence. This study puts a number on the scope of the problem.

"When you consider that 50 to 60 million Americans have hypertension, about 60 percent of adults qualify as overweight or obese, and there are 16 million Americans with diabetes, I knew the number would be fairly large," Ford said.

Metabolic syndrome greatly increases the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and stroke.

The findings were published in Wednesday's Chicago-based Journal of the American Medical Association.

The disorder often features a disproportionate amount of abdominal fat — the so-called beer belly — as well as elevated blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides and low levels of HDL, the good kind of cholesterol.

The CDC reached its estimate by using the first-ever specific definition of the syndrome developed by the National Institutes of Health.

The definition could help doctors identify and treat patients by giving them blood pressure or cholesterol drugs or getting them to lose weight, eat better and get more exercise.

According to the NIH definition, metabolic disorder is present if a patient has any three or more symptoms: a waist measuring at least 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women; levels of triglycerides — fats that circulate in the blood — of at least 150 milligrams per deciliter; HDL levels of less than 40 mgs in men and less than 50 mgs in women; blood pressure of at least 135/80; and blood sugar of at least 110 mgs.

The CDC team used the definition to analyze data from a nationally representative sample of 8,814 men and women who participated in a 1988-94 health survey.

While about 22 percent of U.S. adults were calculated to have the syndrome, rates range from 6.7 percent among those in their 20s to 43.5 percent in adults in their 60s. The rates among men and women were 24 percent and 23.4 percent, respectively.

Dr. Margo Denke, a professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the report may prompt doctors to more aggressively investigate what would previously have been dismissed as isolated symptoms. The numbers suggest "you're not going to have to look that hard to find patients" who have the multiple symptoms, she said.

"This is one syndrome that is exquisitely lifestyle-sensitive — it's an area where we can get people to pay attention and if they do pay attention, there's big rewards," she said.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press
re: Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeTxTarpon
Jan 17, 2002 8:10 AM
And we can hardly get bike lanes put into new road constrution plans.
re: Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeDINOSAUR
Jan 17, 2002 8:34 AM
I read a similiar article in the newspaper after the 1st of the year. It stated that 60% of Americans are obese. I think it starts in the childhood years as children aren't as active as they were in days gone by. My teenage daugher isn't required to take P.E. her last three years of high school, P.E. after that will be an elective. Fast foods, inactive live styles make the problem. I don't see it getting any better. Maybe Hollywood should concentrate on pumping out some movies showing physically fit/drug free people, that seems the only way to get the kids attention..
Hmmmm I wonder who would play Lance Armstrong, Brad Pitt? Or maybe L.A. could play himself...
re: Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeTxTarpon
Jan 17, 2002 9:16 AM
I hear Brad smokes 2 packs a day and drinks a pot of coffee a day. Most Hollywood types have very stressful occupations, which is why many die relatively young.

I agree some more movies with fit people would be great. "Remember the Titans" was a good recent sports movie. Hell, just watching a Janet Jackson video makes you want to have abs of titanium. I just get very frustrated when reading stuff like this since I know I would love to ride my bike everywhere, but it is simply not safe to. You hear the whiners on talk radio wanting Medicare to start covering Rx drugs, but when it comes to putting in bike lanes in new roads, these same people claim it is too expensive.

Maybe science should clone the sabertooth cat? That way at least SOME humans would have to get lean and move faster.
Re-introduce the wolf to ALL of its former territory.Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 17, 2002 9:53 AM
The loss of our top predators is the root cause of American obesity ;-)

I hate these studies...mr_spin
Jan 17, 2002 9:07 AM
It seems that every month someone announces that we are all fat as a nation. And I say so what? There's too many people here anyway, so maybe more people dying a little sooner is a good thing. (I'm being facetious.)

Anyway, I still say so what? Everyone operates on their own clock. I came late to the game. I didn't start working out until I was about 25. I didn't really get serious until I was 30. Last year I was in the best shape of my life, and I'm now 37. I still don't eat right all the time, but I ride hard enough that it doesn't matter.

The only thing I've ever heard on obesity that I keep in the back of my mind is this (which I'll probably get wrong):

1. Most of the fat cells you have were created in childhood.
2. You can make fat cells smaller, but they never go away.
3. Conclusion: don't feed your children fat, and they won't be fat as adults.

How often do you see an obese mom, walking with her already obese kids? Happy Meals aren't so happy after all.
I hate these studies...DINOSAUR
Jan 17, 2002 9:46 AM
I think you don't have to read a study to conclude that most Americans are obese. Just a walk in the supermarket and take a gander.

I saw a change in the American life style. I have two grown sons in their 30's, both played outside when they were little kids when the sun came up until it set. It's a different world now. My 15 year old daugher has never know the pleasure of riding her bike around our neighborhood. We came close the having her kidnapped when she was about four years old (long story). The only exercise she gets now is at school or during her Karate lessons.

My dream is to have all the roads closed one day of the week to vehicular traffic..that would be will never happen, but that's one of my little dreams I have when I'm out riding early on the weekends...

I wonder if brain cells contain any fat? My main problem is staring me in the face...
Close roads one day a weekmr_spin
Jan 17, 2002 5:11 PM
This does happen in certain areas. You definitely couldn't close them all. Out here in the bay area there's a road off Highway 280 north of Woodside called La Canada that is closed to traffic on most Sundays. It runs next to a reservoir, so it's very scenic. Plus, it's fairly flat and almost perfectly straight, making it a great time trial course. There are always cyclists out there, even when it isn't closed, but in Spring and Summer, all kinds of people come out with bikes and roller blades and such. But then the bay area scored highly on the fat/thin cities list!
Jan 17, 2002 7:05 PM
I'm familiar with it. I was raised in the Palo Alto area. We were on a trip last summer to visit my wife's relatives in Redwood City, and I saw a lot of cyclists on La Canada Rd. We stopped off and looked at the Pulgas Water Temple. I can remember when it was not enclosed and it was a fearful sight peering over the top to look at the rushing water. Before we married (1966) my wife and I had a picnic on the lawn in front of the Temple (not there anymore). We were on the way to Half Moon bay but the traffic was unbearable (even then).
If I ever become a billionaire, I'd like to live in the Woodside Hills (fat chance).
La Canada Rd.mr_spin
Jan 18, 2002 7:58 AM
The Woodside hills are amazing, for sure. Great road riding among the redwoods, and one of the best MTB areas up at Skeggs Point.

You don't have to be a billionaire to live in Woodside, but it sure helps! If you continue straight at the end of La Canada (past the Roberts store) it turns into Mountain Home Road. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, is building a huge spread there to rival Bill Gates's place. He's spending close to $50 million building it, which is almost criminal--I'd rather build 10 or 20 really nice houses around the world than spend that much on one place. The property taxes alone will be $600K a year!

The amazing thing is that with all the phenomenal wealth there, that road hasn't been paved since the Civil War. You'd think one or more of those guys would drop $100K to repave the thing, just to save his Lamborghini.
I hate these studies...morey
Jan 17, 2002 9:54 AM
I hate these because:
According to life insurance charts I should weigh 164 Pounds. When I won a major International Bodybuilding title I weighed 1981/4 Lbs., bodyfat of 2.5%. I have not weighed 164 since early Jr. High.
My cholesterol is 125, my BP is 125/74, my resting hr is 52, I weigh about 200#, I am 59yo. I once weighed 173, my wife asked me to stop because she felt I was too skinny (I was) and would kill myself. I exercise regularly.
But I am obese!
BMI is even worsemr_spin
Jan 17, 2002 10:08 AM
For my height, BMI shows a 40 pound range that is "good." Can you imagine that? If I'm at the lower end, I can gain 40 lbs and still not be "obese."

There's a lot of useless pseudo-scientific info out there. I'm not sure why anybody bothers to do these studies, since the conclusion is so obvious to the naked eye, and they end up falling on deaf ears.
re: Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeIAM
Jan 17, 2002 9:23 AM
I hate it when they put a syndrome name on laziness.

I realize that if you read the whole article that it says that
that the causes are over eating and lack of exercise, but it seems to me that when you put a name to it, it validates people that are just too lazy to get off the couch.

Please don't think that I am some holier than thou a-hole with 2% body fat. I have my own weight issues and have my whole life. I have to fight the urge to become part of the couch daily, but when I am sedentary and eating too much I will be the first to say that it's my fault not make some excuse. ( oh I have obesity related syndrome)

Get off the couch, put down the pork rinds and go do something.

Just my .02
re: Study: 47 million adults have obesity-related syndromeTxTarpon
Jan 18, 2002 7:18 AM
You know Ted, you are right.

My dad had some business clients from Holland come over for dinner one night. These guys looked like some NFL offensive line. They were tall, trim, and broad shouldered. They said in Holland they WALK everywhere. But everything they need is located around their homes.

In the South many of the cities and towns have grown up since the invention of cars. Thus, strip centers and suburbs have created what some call "urban sprawl" and walking is just too time taxing to do when going to the grocery store, etc. Can you just imagine how much more fit we would be if we had to walk 15 minutes to the store and back once a week?
I'm overweight according to the chartsPaulCL
Jan 17, 2002 11:03 AM
I'm 6'1" 190lbs. I have a 33-34" waist and a 42-43" chest (jacket size) and I'm overweight!

I blame the food industry for obesity, not as some sort of conspiracy, but as an inadvertent fattening of America.

Why? Several reasons previously mentioned: fast food, sugar put in all foods for taste and additives, the proliferation of "easy meals" which require little cooking skills but must be loaded with sugars and fats to taste good. Add on the sedentary lifestyle, 6 hours of TV daily, video games instead of outdoor games for kids, the 'hurry--up' lifestyle that doesn't allow time for a family meal. No wonder our kids are fat.

Hormones and preservatives. Think of all of the hormones and anti-bacterials put into our food (via cow's milk, our chickens -Read this week's issue of TIME-, beef, etc..) What are those hormones doing to us and our children??? My wife pointed out a study that the onset of menses (periods) for girls has dropped from an average age of about 14 to 10. That drop has happened in the last 25 years! The average age stayed constant for a century then dropped 30% in less than a generation! Staggering!

On the good side, a similiar study linked hormones in cow's milk to an increase in the average breast size of woman today. OK there's always a trade -off. OK ladies, I'm a pig. Cheers. Gulp down that Coke, eat that bag of chips, have a pop tart. Enjoy. Paul
Why We're FatJon
Jan 17, 2002 4:47 PM
According to what I read average caloric intakes in North America over the past fifty or sixty
years have actually fallen. But physical activity has declined even more. Add on top of
that the declining quality of our foodstuffs--highly refined, low fibre foods--and you have
I think the whole story. I agree. Stop putting medical labels on everything, as if our behaviour
is beyond our control. We're collectively fat because we're lazy, not because we've been
invaded by microbes.
Fat and lazypeloton
Jan 19, 2002 8:39 AM
I think you have it exactly right, Jon.

People are fat because they are lazy. No one wants to do anything physical anymore. The answer is in a bottle of pills or some new fad diet. Highly processed, sugar laden foods with low nutrient content are also pretty bad. Carbs aren't bad, sugar is.

It always makes me laugh when a heavy, sedentary person is telling me that I am so lucky because I can eat so much. Watch what gets eaten though, and how much physical activity goes with it. Good nutrient rich food choices and physical activity are the answer. It's so simple it's funny.
hormones in food...TxTarpon
Jan 18, 2002 7:27 AM
My wife read an article to me that documented that "younger menstration" stuff once. In some places in South America, the farm raised chickens were so stuffed with hormones that 10-12 year old girls were sporting C and D cups and menstrating after consuming the chickens. After a Dr. figured out what was causing this "puberty boom" the hormone levels used in the chickens was, halfed I think, and the children went back to a more normal state.

Did you hear that story?
I have heard soy "milk" is easier for our bodies to digest as we age. Plus Lance says that it helps him stay lean and fast. Do you know anything about that?
hormones in food...morey
Jan 18, 2002 8:23 AM
We lace many of our animals with growth hormones, milk is a chemical soup(sewer). What animal after the weaning period drinks milk? None, except us and some of our pets. Penicillin is used to control Mastitis in cows, gets into our milk. Soy milk is much better!! avoids lactose intolerance. AVOID MILK!!!!
At very least...PaulCL
Jan 18, 2002 10:57 AM
...drink the "organic" milk. My wife started substiting the organic variety six months ago. It tastes the same but without hormones and chemicals. I can't give up milk: I like my wheaties too much and we use it in cooking every day. I never thought about it in the terms you mentioned: that we are the only animal that drinks milk after weaning.