Obesity grips Australia: research shows 40% of adults are …

The obesity crisis in Australia is far worse than experts thought, with new evidence showing 40% of adults are dangerously fat.

The new figures are based on the waist circumferences of 11,000 people who were tracked for 12 years in the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute’s AusDiab study.

Previous estimates using body mass index were 25%.

“The results surprised us,” associate professor Anna Peeters, president of the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, said.

When measured around the waist, a man should not be more than 102cm and a woman 88cm, said Peeters, who will present the findings at the society’s scientific meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.

She is pleased about growing government momentum against obesity, but says parents need more support.

“It is important to intervene early in life. We need good programmes for parents from before their children are born.”

A lot could be learnt from the US, which had decreased childhood obesity.

A minority of Australian schools adhered to dietary guidelines, she said, and workplaces should revise their catering and what was allowed in their vending machines.

Obesity was a condition of an inactive, affluent society that consumed in excess, said Peeters, who is head of obesity and population health at Baker IDI.

However, people of lower education and income living in rural areas were most at risk because energy-dense, nutrient-poor food was relatively cheap.

“People don’t need to be thinking too much about weight loss when they are a little overweight, but they do need to be thinking about preventing weight gain,” she said.

“If you are a little overweight at 30, you are likely to be quite overweight by 50.”

One way to avoid children growing up to be obese was to limit sugar intake, said associate professor Tim Gill, of the University of Sydney, who will chair a session at the conference.

“We are burning so few calories that every calorie we eat needs to come from nutritious food,” he said.

Active children should be allowed two small treats a day at most, he said.

The biggest problem was sugary drinks, which should be limited to one glass a week.

“People are not aware how much sugar they are eating. A can of soft drink has eight to ten spoons of sugar, but children and teenagers typically drink double that in a serve. Foods that contain a lot of added sugar contribute little nutrition, but a lot of calories,” he said.

Obesity among topics at physiotherapy school centennial conference

New Zealand’s obesity epidemic will be highlighted during a
major scientific conference being held in Dunedin this week
to mark the centenary of the University of Otago School of

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia, who is also Minister
of Disability Issues, will give the opening address when the
conference’s main sessions begin at the university on Friday.
About 360 people, many from the North Island, will also
attend centennial-related events this week, including a
gathering for physiotherapy graduates which will be formally
opened at a function this evening. The alumni gathering
celebrates ”100 Years of Education, Research and Practice”
and continues until Friday.

A centennial history, titled In Our Hands, will be launched,
and a film, School of Physiotherapy through the Eras, will be

Alumni from several countries, including Canada, Australia
and Malaysia, will attend. The heads of physiotherapy schools
throughout Australia and New Zealand will also meet.

Associate Prof Leigh Hale, of the physiotherapy school, who
is co-ordinating the two-day scientific conference, said
obesity-related issues were a major challenge for New Zealand
and the physiotherapy profession and would be among the many
topics discussed.

Organisers said the value of increased physical exercise in
countering obesity would also be highlighted.

Prof Hale was optimistic obesity could be successfully
countered in New Zealand, but a ”concerted effort” by
everyone involved would be required.

Prof Jeff Basford, of the Mayo Clinic, in the United States,
and Prof Steven Wolf, of Emory University, in Atlanta,
Georgia, are among the international speakers.

Dr Margot Skinner, the physiotherapy school’s deputy dean,
said the anniversary of the school’s founding in 1913 marked
an important milestone for the university and for the New
Zealand physiotherapy profession.

”New Zealand has always been a leader in physiotherapy. It’s
important to celebrate that,” she said.

The school and other members of the physiotherapy profession
were providing innovative and effective programmes for
countering obesity, and physiotherapists also had a key role
to play in associated education.


World Bank links obesity to high food prices | The Raw Story

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Worried cashier with a nearly empty cash register via Shutterstock

Food prices have dropped since peaking six months ago but remain near record levels, pushing the world’s poorest people toward “undernutrition” and obesity, the World Bank says.

“Unhealthy food tends to be cheaper than healthy ones, like junk food in developed countries,” said Otaviano Canuto, World Bank Group’s vice president for poverty reduction and economic management.

“When poor people with some disposable income in developing countries try to cope with high and increasingly volatile food prices, they also tend to choose cheap food that is high in calories but without much nutritious value.”

Between October and February, world food prices dropped by four percent overall, driven in part by wheat (minus 11 percent) and sugar (minus 10 percent), due to weaker demand for wheat feed and reduced maize consumption for ethanol as well as improved harvest conditions, according to the World Bank.

But they remain at very high levels and are just nine percent less than historic levels in August.

In February alone, prices increased one percent overall for a year-long period. The increases were especially notable for rice and corn (five percent each), two staple foods in many developing countries.

The World Bank also worried about “uncertainties” that remain in the world food supply.

Last year, global stocks of cereals dropped by three percent, mostly driven by a decline in the supply of wheat and coarse grains. Persistently dry conditions in Argentina, Australia and South Africa could also further hamper supplies in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, oil prices have been rising for three consecutive months, reaching their highest levels in February since April.

“In the ‘new normal’ of high and volatile food prices, millions will continue to suffer from poor nutrition, whether it is hunger, undernutrition or obesity which can cause premature death,” the bank stressed.

In 2008, there were 1.46 billion overweight adults, including 508 million who were obese.

That number could rise to 2.16 billion for overweight adults, and nearly double to 1.12 billion for the obese by 2030 across all regions and in fast-developing nations such as China and India, said the bank in citing “even conservative estimates.”

“Half of the world’s overweight people live in just nine countries — China, United States, Germany, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey — evidence that obesity is not an epidemic restricted only to rich countries,” added Canuto.

[image via Shutterstock.com]

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Gelesis Near Multimillion Dollar Obesity Pill Deal

Gelesis Near Multimillion Dollar Obesity Pill Deal [Globes, Tel
Aviv, Israel]

From Globes (Tel Aviv) (March 12, 2013)

March 12–Sources inform “Globes” that start up Gelesis Inc.,
which is developing a pill to treat obesity, is in advanced talks
for a multimillion deal with a big pharma company to jointly
develop the product.

Gelesis’s pill expands in the stomach to give the
sensation of being full, thereby reducing food intake and resulting
in weight loss. The company, founded in 2006, is examining the
results of its recently completed an efficacy clinical trial, and
is due to publish them soon. Although the company had the option of
presenting the product to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
as a nutritional supplement or medical device, it opted to present
it as a medication, on the assumption that, if approved, the
product’s profit margins would be higher. Even so, because
the pill does not enter the body’s cells or affect them, the
approval process should be fairly straightforward.

The sources said that, under the pending agreement, a foreign
company will provide Gelesis with a down payment and milestone
payments amounting to tens of millions of dollars. The big pharma
company will finance all of Gelesis’s future clinical trials
on the product and pay royalties on sales. The full value of the
agreement could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gelesis was founded by CEO Yishai Zohar at Boston-based
incubator PureTech Ventures, and has raised $23 million to date
from Merck Co. (NYSE: MRK), OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Israeli
advanced hybrid composite materials developer ExoTech Bio Solutions
Ltd., and Australia’s Queensland Biocapital Funds.
Headquartered in Boston, Gelesis has an Israeli development

Gelesis’s pill is made from indigestible edible fiber
taken before a meal. The pills inflate in contact with water, make
food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating
the sense of being sated. The pills gradually biodegrade, releasing
the liquids, which are excreted through the intestine, but only
after keeping the food viscous, reducing the intestine’s
ability to absorb fats and sugars from the food.

In a study on 95 people several years ago, many reported a sense
of being sated, and only 16 percent said that they felt discomfort,
such as stomach aches or nausea. It may be possible to reduce these
side effects by personalizing the dosage.

The obesity treatment market currently includes various appetite
suppressants, but the leading solution for morbid obesity is
stomach bypass or reduction surgery. Although other products for
filling the stomach are under development, Gelesis’s edge is
that its product works with food.


(c)2013 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


Posted: March 2013

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