ST.LOUIS, Mo. ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - Losing weight can dramatically reduce your risk of serious diseases, but what really happens to your organs when you put on the pounds? Researchers said finding out why weight gain affects some people's organs differently is an important step to treating obesity.
It's an epidemic of epic proportions. More than 60-percent of people in the United States are considered fat.
"It's abnormal, it's unusual to be lean in this country," Dr. Samuel Klein, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis told Ivanhoe.
For many, obesity will lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but for 25 percent of obese people there are no adverse effects. Now researchers are trying to learn why using an unlikely method.
"Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Burger King: We really are paying people to gain weight there's no question about it," Klein said.
As part of the "overfeeding" study, O.R. nurse Dawn Dreeman agreed to eat an extra 1,000 calories a day, all from fast food.
The goal is to study what happens to the body as people gain weight. Dr. Sam Klein said using fast food is a cheap and easy way to track calories. For Dawn it was the only thing that came easy.
"I couldn't climb stairs after 2 to 3 weeks. I was tired. I couldn't breathe. I gained a total of 20 pounds," Dawn told Ivanhoe.
"The information we gain from these studies will help us understand why obesity and excess body fat causes metabolic diseases and if we can understand that link better we can develop better therapies to break that link," Dr. Klein explained.
After participants gain five percent of their body weight, they're put on a 6-month weight loss program. Five months into her weight loss, Dawn dropped the pounds and gained a fondness for something else.
"I consciously put vegetables on my plate now. I feel good I have my energy back," Dawn said.
The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Participants are paid $3,500 for the study and are compensated for the food. Dr. Klein said preliminary results show some people really are resistant to having the adverse effects of weight gain. The study is still enrolling for more information on enrollment qualifications, visit Ivanhoe.com.
WHAT IS OBESITY?: Obesity is a label for ranges of weight that are greater than what is typically considered healthy for a given height as well as ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems. A person's body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether they are obese because it correlates with their amount of body fat. Adults with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese; however some athletes can have BMIs that would indicate that they are overweight when that is not the case. (Source: www.cdc.gov)
HEALTH PROBLEMS RELATED TO OBESITY: Obesity has been linked to many health issues. Here are just a few problems that can occur as a result of being obese.
Sleep apnea and respiratory problems.
Cancer: being overweight increases the risk for breast, colon, gallbladder, and uterine cancer in women and the risk of colon and prostate cancer in men.
Joint problems, including osteoarthritis because of extra stress placed on the joints from excess weight. (Source: www.stanfordhospital.org)
OBESITY AROUND THE WORLD: More than 300 million people in the entire world are considered obese and more than 750 million people are overweight. Obesity rates are the highest in some Pacific nations with a rate of 75%, and some of the lowest are found in Asian countries with an obesity rate of only 2%. 30.5% of adults in the United States are obese and health care costs attributable to obesity exceed $100 billion in the United States, which is 6% of the overall health care costs in the country. Obesity rates seem to be rising all over the world, with the percentage of overweight children in the world doubling from 1980 to 2000. (Source: www.faqs.org)
CENTER FOR HUMAN NUTRITION: Samuel Klein, M.D., from the overfeeding study is the medical director and program founder of the Weight Management Program, director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Unit, and director of the Veronica and Robert C. Atkins Center for Excellence in Obesity Medicine. The Clinical Nutrition Research Unit has received $35 million in National Institutes of Health grants to support pioneering research on obesity. The research is directed at understanding the mechanisms responsible for the subcellular changes obesity produces. Other than the aforementioned overfeeding study, NIH grants are also funding a major effort to pinpoint the relationship between obesity and the growing problem of nonalcoholic fatty-liver disease. This is all a part of Klein and his colleagues' attack on obesity. (Source: www.wustl.edu)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Judy Martin Director of Media Relations Washington University School of Medicine (314) 286-0105 firstname.lastname@example.org
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