Photography: Courtesy of NBCWhether you love to watch The Biggest Loser or you find it offensive, you have to admit the primetime TV program has been effective in showcasing health and fitness to millions of people around the world.
Researchers have established that obesity is associated with increased mortality risk. However, a new study suggests that the severity of this risk may have been underestimated.
Published in Population Health Metrics (2014; doi:10.1186/1478-7954-12-6), the study looked at mortality and body mass index in nonsmoking adults aged 50–84. Data was pulled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1988–1994 and 1999–2004) and linked to the National Death Index through 2006.
We often hear about an “epidemic” of obesity. This past year, the American Medical Association deemed obesity a disease (AMA 2013). A lot of people have a hard time associating the term “disease” with obesity because body weight is within our control . . . or is it?
Obesity has many properties of diseases, including a genetic prevalence and associations with other diseases or conditions like diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers. Obesity causes losses of certain functions and creates pathological conditions that increase morbidity.
After spending much of his young life at a healthy weight, Lee Jordan began steadily gaining mass in his 20s. He reached a top weight of 450 pounds and was living what he refers to as a “nightmare of a life.” Inspired by his friend Beth, an ACE-certified personal trainer and now his wife, Lee began his journey to health and fitness by walking 30 seconds every morning down the hallway outside his apartment. Now, more than 275 pounds lighter, Lee is an ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach who specializes in helping people who need to lose 100 pounds or more.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that people who own computers, televisions and cars tend to be less active and may be more vulnerable to obesity-related diseases than people without these possessions. Now, researchers from Simon Fraser University in Canada and more than 20 other institutions around the world have collaborated to determine the level of risk that ownership of certain devices presents.
After serving many years as director of fitness research for the YMCA, Wayne Westcott, PhD, now works as director for fitness research programs at Quincy College in Massachusetts. Westcott has been a strength training consultant for the U.S. Navy, ACE, the YMCA of the USA, and Nautilus. He has also served as an editorial advisor for numerous publications, including The Physician and Sportsmedicine, ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, Prevention and Shape, and he’s written more than 20 books on strength training.
Brian Biagioli is the executive director for the National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF) and a founding member of the Coalition on Registration for Exercise Professionals (CREP). A longtime leader in the health and fit- ness industry, Brian also serves as the graduate program director for strength and conditioning in the department of kinesiology and sport sciences at the University of Miami.
Today’s obese children aren’t just carrying around extra weight. According to researchers from Erasmus Medical Clinic, at Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, they are also carrying higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The study observed 20 obese and 20 normal-weight children aged 8–12. To determine cortisol levels, researchers took scalp hair samples from each subject. Data showed that obese children had higher levels of hair cortisol than normal-weight children.
newsletter_teaser: If you think you know obese clients, think again. We talked to obese (and formerly obese) consumers—and the fitness pros who work with them—to find out how they feel, what they think of the fitness industry and how we can better help them become healthy and vibrant.
newsletter_teaser: You want to help overweight or obese clients adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors they can maintain. But how do you do it? Begin by learning what their large goals truly mean to them; reorienting them toward smaller goals; and demystifying their many perceptions about health, fitness and diet.