evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Posts Tagged ‘obesity pandemic’

That Sugar Film (2014)

In Over-nutrition on September 10, 2016 at 6:16 am

Damon Gameau embarks on an experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body.

Unexpected evidence: “Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity”

In Over-nutrition on September 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

Herman Pontzer, David A. Raichlen, Brian M. Wood,Audax Z. P. Mabulla, Susan B. Racette, Frank W. Marlowe

PLoS ONE 7(7) 2012 

(download the entire paper)


Western lifestyles differ markedly from those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and these differences in diet and activity level are often implicated in the global obesity pandemic. However, few physiological data for hunter-gatherer populations are available to test these models of obesity.

In this study, we used the doubly-labeled water method to measure total daily energy expenditure (kCal/day) in Hadza hunter-gatherers to test whether foragers expend more energy each day than their Western counterparts.

As expected, physical activity level, PAL, was greater among Hadza foragers than among Westerners. Nonetheless, average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hadza foragers was no different than that of Westerners after controlling for body size. The metabolic cost of walking (kcal kg−1 m−1) and resting (kcal kg−1 s−1) were also similar among Hadza and Western groups.

The similarity in metabolic rates across a broad range of cultures challenges current models of obesity suggesting that Western lifestyles lead to decreased energy expenditure. We hypothesize that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences.


Find more about obesity on this blog.

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Obesity in sub-Saharan Africa: development of an ecological theoretical framework

In Over-nutrition on September 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Alison ScottChinwe Stella EjikemeEmmanuel Nii Clottey and Joy Goens Thomas

Health Promot. Int. (2012) – August 29, 2012


The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There is a need for theoretical frameworks to catalyze further research and to inform the development of multi-level, context-appropriate interventions. In this commentary, we propose a preliminary ecological theoretical framework to conceptualize factors that contribute to increases in overweight and obesity in SSA. The framework is based on a Causality Continuum model [Coreil et al. Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks] that considers distant, intermediate and proximate influences. The influences incorporated in the model include globalization and urbanization as distant factors; occupationsocial relationshipsbuilt environment andcultural perceptions of weight as intermediate factors and caloric intake, physical inactivity and genetics as proximate factors. The model illustrates the interaction of factors along a continuum, from the individual to the global marketplace, in shaping trends in overweight and obesity in SSA. The framework will be presented, each influence elucidated and implications for research and intervention development discussed. There is a tremendous need for further research on obesity in SSA. An improved evidence base will serve to validate and develop the proposed framework further.

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The evolution of human adiposity and obesity: where did it all go wrong?

In Over-nutrition on August 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

by Jonathan C. K. Wells

Dis. Model. Mech.September 2012, vol. 5; no. 5; pages: 595-607

(download the entire paper)


Because obesity is associated with diverse chronic diseases, little attention has been directed to the multiple beneficial functions of adipose tissue.

Adipose tissue not only provides energy for growth, reproduction and immune function, but also secretes and receives diverse signaling molecules that coordinate energy allocation between these functions in response to ecological conditions. Importantly, many relevant ecological cues act on growth and physique, with adiposity responding as a counterbalancing risk management strategy.

The large number of individual alleles associated with adipose tissue illustrates its integration with diverse metabolic pathways. However, phenotypic variation in age, sex, ethnicity and social status is further associated with different strategies for storing and using energy. Adiposity therefore represents a key means of phenotypic flexibility within and across generations, enabling a coherent life-history strategy in the face of ecological stochasticity.

The sensitivity of numerous metabolic pathways to ecological cues makes our species vulnerable to manipulative globalized economic forces. The aim of this article is to understand how human adipose tissue biology interacts with modern environmental pressures to generate excess weight gain and obesity.

The disease component of obesity might lie not in adipose tissue itself, but in its perturbation by our modern industrialized niche.

Efforts to combat obesity could be more effective if they prioritized ‘external’ environmental change rather than attempting to manipulate ‘internal’ biology through pharmaceutical or behavioral means.

Find other posts related to obesity on this blog.


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Meditation, and weight management in women: a randomized controlled trial

In Over-nutrition on July 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm

The effect of a mindful restaurant eating intervention on weight management in women

Timmerman GMBrown A. School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78701, USA. gtimmerman@mail.utexas.edu

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jan-Feb;44(1):22-8.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a Mindful Restaurant Eating intervention on weight management.

DESIGN: Randomized control trial.

SETTING: Greater metropolitan area of Austin, Texas.

PARTICIPANTS: Women (n = 35) 40-59 years old who eat out at least 3 times per week.

INTERVENTION: The intervention, using 6 weekly 2-hour, small group sessions, focused on reducing calorie and fat intake when eating out through education, behavior change strategies, and mindful eating meditations.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weight, waist circumference, self-reported daily calorie and fat intake, self-reported calories and fat consumed when eating out, emotional eating, diet related self-efficacy, and barriers to weight management when eating out.

ANALYSIS: General linear models examined change from baseline to final endpoint to determine differences in outcomes between the intervention and control group.

RESULTS: Participants in the intervention group lost significantly more weight (P =.03), had lower average daily caloric (P = .002) and fat intake (P = .001), had increased diet-related self-efficacy (P = .02), and had fewer barriers to weight management when eating out (P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Mindful Restaurant Eating intervention was effective in promoting weight management in perimenopausal women.

Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price

In Over-nutrition on July 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm

by Andrea Carlson and Elizabeth Frazao

(reblogged from the USDA web site).

Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-96) 50 pp, May 2012

Cover image for eib96Most Americans consume diets that do not meet Federal dietary recommendations. A common explanation is that healthier foods are more expensive than less healthy foods. To investigate this assumption, the authors compare prices of healthy and less healthy foods using three different price metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), and the price of an average portion ($/average portion). They also calculate the cost of meeting the recommendations for each food group. For all metrics except the price of food energy, the authors find that healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined for this study as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).

Keywords: food prices, price metrics, NHANES, price of healthy foods

In this publication…

Charts and graphs (in .png format) from this report are available in the .zip file listed below. The .zip file also contains a document (readme.txt) that lists the name and title of each chart or graph file.

America’s Obesity Crisis: ‘The Weight of the Nation’ Films Garner Two Emmy Nominations

In Over-nutrition on July 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

from the US Institute of Medicine (IOM):

“The Weight of the Nation,” a four-part documentary film series developed as part of a national obesity prevention campaign spearheaded by HBO and the Institute of Medicine in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente, was nominated for the Emmy award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series. A companion short film titled “The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality-Competition Program

Watch the movie parts here:




IOM: obesity prevention InphoGraphic. Finally! Well done!

In Over-nutrition on June 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Under pressure because of the US obesity pandemic, the Institute of Medicine has released a large number of documents which are often hard to digest for lay public. Fortunately this is not the case for the latest product: an InphoGraphic. Disseminate as much as possible.


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