CDC Reports Obesity Rates Increasing Among U.S. Adults

According to a recent article in JAMA (JAMA 2018:320(16)1632. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.15094),  7 states now have Obesity rates topping 35%.  According to data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all had obesity rates of more than 35% in 2017.

Researchers also uncovered disparities in rates of obesity by education, race and ethnicity. Individuals with higher levels of education had lower rates of obesity, with a rate of 22.7% among college graduates compared with 35.6% among those with a high school degree or the equivalent.

 According to the CDCthere is no single or simple solution to the obesity epidemic. It’s a complex problem and there has to be a multifaceted approach. Policy makers, state and local organizations, business and community leaders, school, childcare and health care professionals, and individuals must work together to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle.

I wholeheartedly support the CDC’s conclusion.



Bariatric Surgery May Lower Danger of Heart Attack in Diabetics

A recent study tracked 20,000 severely obese patients with Type 2 Diabetes and found that those who had weight loss surgery had a 40% lower chance of developing a heart attack or stroke in the five years following surgery compared to those who were managed medically.  They patients who had surgery had gastric sleeve, gastric band or gastric bypass.  These surgeries cost $20,000 to $25,000 and are generally covered by insurance.   Surgery is thought to help by affecting hormones, gut bacteria and other substances that affect how the body handles insulin and blood sugar.

The improved lipid profile, the decrease in inflammatory cytokines and the resistin which antagonizes insulin secreted by visceral fat are likely behind the improvement.  The new findings suggest insurance coverage be expanded for the right patients to result in substantial cost savings and improved patient outcomes.


Obesity May Play a Role in Influenza Transmission

Obesity is associated with an increase in the duration of influenza A shedding in adults, according to a recently published study  funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) [JAMA. 2018;320(12):1230. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13078].

Their findings add to existing evidence linking obesity , rates of which are increasing everywhere, to infectious diseases.  The authors postulate that the chronic inflammatory state which accompanies obesity may be the underlying cause.

As we are well aware of the secretion of inflammatory cytokines from the visceral or “belly” fat which accompanies Obesity and causes metabolic syndrome, we can now add one more adverse consequence to the output of this noxious hormone factory,  increased susceptibility to common infections. This is but one more addition to the lengthening list of Obesity’s economic costs.