Noom competitor OurPath rebrands as Second nature, creates $10 M Series A

Back in 2018, OurPath emerged as a startup in the U.K. tackling the problem of diabetes. The company helped clients fight the disease, and raised a$ 3 million round of funding by combining advice from health experts with tracking technology via a smartphone app to help people build healthy habits and lose weight.

Now rebranded as Second Nature, it has raised a fresh $10 million in Series A funding.

New investors include Uniqa Ventures, the venture capital fund of Uniqa, a European insurance group, and the founders of mySugr, the digital diabetes management platform, which was acquired by health giant Roche.

The round also procured the backing of existing investors including Connect and Speedinvest, two European seed funds, and Bethnal Green Ventures, the early-stage Impact investor, as well as angels including Taavet Hinrikus, founder of TransferWise.

This new injection takes the total investment in the company to $ 13 million.

Competitors to the company include Weight Watchers and Noom, which provides a similar program and has raised $ 114.7 million.

Second Nature claims to have a different, more intensive and personalized approach to create habit change. The startup claims 10,000 of its participants exposed an average weight loss of 5.9 kg at the 12 -week mark. Separate peer-reviewed scientific data published by the company showed that much of this weight-loss is sustained at the six-month and 12 -month mark.

Under its former guise as OurPath, the startup was the first” lifestyle change program” to be commissioned by the NHS for diabetes management.

Second Nature was founded in 2015 by Chris Edson and Mike Gibbs, former healthcare strategy consultants, who designed the program to provide people with personalized support in order to construct lifestyle changes.

Participants receive a situate of “smart” scales and an activity tracker that links with the app, allowing them to track their weight loss progress and daily step count. They are placed in a peer supporting group of 15 people starting simultaneously. Each group is coached by a qualified dietitian or nutritionist, who offer participants with daily 1:1 advice, subsistence and motive via the app. Throughout the 12 -week program, people have access to healthy recipes and daily articles encompassing topics like dinner planning, how to sleep better and overcoming emotional eating.

Gibbs said: “Our goal at Second Nature is to solve obesity. We need to rise above the confusing health misinformation to provide clarity about what’s really important: altering habits. Our new brand and investment will help us realize that.”

Philip Edmondson-Jones, investment administrator at Beringea, who led the investment and joins the board of directors of Second Nature, said: “Healthcare systems are struggling to cope with spiraling rates of obesity and associated maladies, which are projected to cost the global economy $ 1.2 trillion annually by 2025. Second Nature’s pioneering approach to lifestyle alter empowers people to address these conditions.”

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Men are putting on weight- and the diagnosis is grim | Neil Boom

More men are developing form 2 diabetes. I knew I was at risk, but I required a nudge, writes Neil Boom, managing director of Gresham PR

Men, be advised. It seems we are not taking very good care of ourselves. Many of us are overweight and we are paying the price with poorer health. Research by charity the Men’s Health Forum detected humen were over 25% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than females. Shockingly, virtually one in 10 humen are now suffering from this disease.

The research also found that men were more than twice as likely to have a major amputation. Almost 70% of people presenting with a foot ulcer caused by type 2 diabetes are humen. It get grimmer. Untreated, type 2 diabetes kills, and it is now killing proportionately more humen than ever, according to the study.

We can’t ignore the facts that health messages are not getting through to many humen. We are developing problems such as type 2 diabetes through a combination of obesity- apparently the UK is the sixth fattest nation in the world- and a woeful absence of exercising. In March, the NHS’s annual review of obesity said one in four adults in England took less than 30 minutes of moderate exercising a week, compared to the recommended 150 minutes.

Is being overweight abruptly socially acceptable for men? Without the social stigma, is it now OK to be obese? Worryingly, Men’s Health Forum says that more than half of overweight men think their weight is fine.

We are all too familiar with the social pressures on girls and women to be slim( and beautiful ), and how this causes crippling anxiety leading to terrible eating disorder and self-harm. Surely, men can choose a healthy menu that avoids obesity, leading to poor health, without a diet of weight preoccupation leading to sickness?

What the report didn’t reveal was datum relating to men’s ages or social backgrounds. It strikes me the vital missing ingredient is the extent to which our stances to health and weight depend on our friendship groups, ages and jobs. A friend I train with at the gym plays weekly five-a-side football with his mates and says they’re all fit and take their health and fitness seriously. None are overweight.

Most of my friends are middle aged like me. As we have got older, we’ve become much more concerned about our weight and general health and fitness. Still, there’s usually some sort of catalyst before embarking on a weight loss and exercising regime. We all knew and understood the health messages, but needed a spur to action before taking them seriously.

For one, for whom diabetes runs in his family, it was coming last in the daddies’ race at his son’s school athletics day that spurred him to taken any steps. Another friend was prescribed drug for high blood pressure and started to lose weight to help better manage his condition. A friend who freelances for a living said his spur was the need to look youthful and in good physical shape when pitching for projects, in order to radiate vitality and demonstrate capacity to cope with the slog. For another mate, it was simply the approach of a significant birthday, and with it a bit of taking stock.

My catalyst was the kindness of male friends, by which I mean they took the mickey out me for being fat and unfit. In my late 30 s and early 40 s my weight had increased slowly. By my mid-4 0s it had jumped from a lithe 12 stone to a porky 15.5, and was proving no signs of stopping there. Long hours at my desk and client networking concentrated around eating and drinking, combined with little routine exert had caught up with me. A health check at the doctor’s told me I was at risk of kind 2 diabetes.

It was truly the comments from friends that forced me ultimately into to action. One of my more kindly mates remarked that I was a little portly. Others were frankly blunter. Bluster and jokes are fairly typical ways that men get serious phases over, but behind it I could see some genuine concern for my welfare.

I received pleasure in a drastic life change. For eight months, out went all booze, bread, pasta, rice and sugary treats such as chocolate, biscuits and cake. In came working, regular trip-ups to the gym with a personal trainer, smaller food portions and lots more fruit and salads. The weight fell off.

We all agree that media messages promoting us to eat healthily and exert on the whole have gone in. Yet a catalyst is often needed to turn guessed into action.

* Neil Boom is managing director of Gresham PR

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Diabetes occurrences have quadrupled in merely over 3 decades

( CNN) It’s a potentially fatal illnes whose hazards can in many cases be prevented through lifestyle measures. So why has diabetes ensure a massive increase in sufferers?

The number of people living with the potentially fatal cancer has quadrupled since 1980, to more than 400 million, according to the World Health Organization( WHO ).

The dark truth about chocolate

Grand health claims have been made about chocolate, but while it dedicates us pleasure, can it really be good for us?

Chocolate has been touted as a treatment for agitation, anaemia, angina and asthma. It has been said to awaken craving and act as an aphrodisiac. You may have noticed we’re still on the letter A.

More accurately, and to avoid adding to considerable existing embarrassment, it is the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree that have, over hundreds of years, been linked to remedies and therapies for more than 100 diseases and conditions. Their status as a cure-all dates back over 2,000 years, having spread from the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, via the Spanish conquistadors, into Europe from the 16 th century.

The 19 th century ensure chocolate drinking become cheap enough to spread beyond the wealthy, the invention of solid chocolate and the development of milk chocolate. Afterward came the added sugar and fat content of today’s snack bar and Easter eggs, which time-travelling Aztecs would probably struggle to associate with what they called the food of the gods.

Recent years have watched chocolate undergo another transformation, this time at the hands of branding experts. Sales of milk chocolate are stagnating as consumers become more health-conscious. Producers have responded with a growing range of premium products promoted with such terms as organic, natural, cacao-rich and single-origin. The packets don’t say so, but the message we’re supposed to swallow is clear: this new, improved chocolate, especially if it is darknes, is good for your health. Many people have swallowed the idea that it’s a “superfood”. Except it isn’t. So how has this magic trick-like metamorphosis been achieved?

Its foundations lie in chocolate manufacturers having poured huge sums into funding nutrition science that has been carefully framed, interpreted and selectively reported to cast their products in a positive sunlight over the last 20 years. For instance, analyses published last year observed chocolate consumers to be at reduced danger of heart flutterings, and that women who feed chocolate are less likely to suffer from strokes. Ingesting chemicals called flavanols in chocolate was also linked to reduced blood pressure. In 2016, eating chocolate was linked to reduced dangers of cognitive deterioration among those aged 65 and over, while cocoa flavanol consumption was linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles- markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.

Such examines have generated hundreds of media reports that exaggerate their findings, and omit key details and caveats. Crucially, most recent research has use much higher levels of flavanols than are available in commercial snack products. For instance, the blood pressure examine involved participants getting an average of 670 mg of flavanols. Person would need to ingest about 12 standard 100 g bars of dark chocolate or about 50 of milk chocolate per day to get that much. The European Food Safety Authority has approved one rather modest chocolate-related health claim- that some specially processed dark chocolate, cocoa extracts and drinks containing 200 mg of flavanols” contribute to normal blood circulation” by helping to maintain blood vessel elasticity.

cocoa
Cocoa pods harvested on the Millot plantation in the north-west of Madagascar. Photograph: Andia/ UIG via Getty Images

Prof Marion Nestle, a nutritional scientist at New York University, uses the word “nutrifluff” to describe ” sensational research findings about a single food or nutrient based on one, usually highly preliminary, study “. She points out that most surveys on chocolate and health get industry fund, but journalists generally fail to highlight this.” Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests ,” she says.

Research has repeatedly shown that when food companies are paying, they are more likely to get helpful outcomes. US researchers who reviewed 206 examines about soft drink, juice and milk, for example, found that those receiving industry fund were six times more likely to produce favourable or neutral findings than those that did not. Most nutrition scientists who accept fund from industry are in a state of denial, according to Nestle, whose book Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat is due to be published in October.” The researchers involved feel it doesn’t affect the integrity and quality of their work ,” she says.” But research on narcotic industry funding shows the influence is generally unconscious, unintentional and unrecognised .”

The public are also misinformed into believing chocolate is healthy through what scientists refer to as the” file drawer effect “. Two of the aforementioned surveys- those on blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular health- are meta-analyses, entailing they pool the results of previously published research. The problem is that science publications, like the popular media, are more likely to publish findings that suggest chocolate is healthy than those that conclude it is not affected, which skews meta-analyses.” It’s really hard to publish something that doesn’t find anything ,” says Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist at Coventry University who has analyzed cocoa and health.” There’s a bias in the under-reporting of negative outcomes .”

Then there’s the problem that, unlike in medication trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. Most people have positive expectations about chocolate because they like it. They are therefore primed, through the conditioning consequence- famously described by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov- to answer positively. They may, for example, become more relaxed, boosting different levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters, and triggering short-term physiological benefits.

” The responses of analyse participants can be affected by their beliefs and presumptions about chocolate ,” says Mellor.” Research has also observed people who volunteer for surveys are more likely to be affected by their beliefs about an intervention than the population as a whole .”

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So hard to defy: a chocolate store in Bruges, Belgium. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

Many of the studies that involve people being given chocolate and tracking their health over hour are short and have small numbers of participants. This adds to the difficulties nutritional scientists have in separating out the effects of eating one food or nutrient from the rest of their diet and other variables and interactions within the body.

So when and why did chocolate companies become so keen on using science as a marketing tool? The answer varies depending on whom you ask.

During the 1990 s, scientists became interested in the French paradox- the now discredited observation that heart disease rates were low in France despite their own nationals diet high in saturated fats. One proposed explain was relatively high consumption of flavanols, a group of compounds found in red wine, tea and cocoa which, at high doses, had been linked to the prevention of cellular injury. US researchers caused a stir when from around the turn of the century they concluded that Kuna people off the coast of Panama had low blood pressure and rates of cardiovascular disease since they are drank more than five cups of flavanol-rich chocolate per day.

This undoubtedly stimulated chocolate industry research. However in 2000, a Channel 4 documentary reported on the use of child labour and bondage in cocoa production operations in Ghana and Ivory Coast- the source of most of the world’s chocolate. This triggered a wave of media reports and negative publicity.

Some say the industry poured fund into science at this time to divert attention away from west Africa.” Endeavors by many of the large chocolate companies to demonstrate health effects started side by side with the outcry over the use of child labour and slavery ,” says Michael Coe, a retired anthropologist formerly of Yale University, co-author of The True History of Chocolate .” Some of it was legitimate science, but it was stimulated, at least in part, by the need to say something positive about chocolate .”

Industry figures strenuously disagree.” There was no connection between those two things ,” says Matthias Berninger, vice-president for public affairs at Mars, Inc, when asked whether Coe is correct.” The Kuna story sparked a lot of interest. The level of investment and energy and intensity of research was much more driven by that than it was by the idea of creating a halo around chocolate .”

Critics have accused Mars in particular of using nutritional science to cast its products in a good sunlight. Through its scientific arm, Mars Symbioscience, it has published more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers on cocoa flavanols and health since 2005.

The family-owned company has traditionally remained tight-lipped about its involvement in cocoa research. However, last month it published its policies on conducting and funding research. Asked whether it had previously been involved in using research to suggest chocolate was healthy, Berninger says:” I do believe that that was so tempting, Mars couldn’t resist it. If you look back 20 years, there was this idea that this could create huge opportunities for us .”

But he says this changed long ago.” As a marketing strategy, we have not engaged in that for more than a decade .” In 2007, the European Union tightened regulations on nutrition and health claims. Meanwhile, research was inducing it increasingly clear that health benefits claims for commercial darknes chocolate products were unrealistic because of their low flavanol content.

Yet campaigners highlight how chocolate companies, including Mars, have opposed public health regulations that might undermine their profits employing third party. US public health lawyer Michele Simon made hard-hitting reports in 2013 and 2015, documenting how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics( AND) and the American Society of Nutrition( ASN ), were receiving big sponsorship fees from major food industry companies. In 2014, the ASN had gone in to bat on behalf of the members of its corporate backers, including Coca-Cola, Mars and McDonald’s, against a US government plan for added sugar content to be included on food labels, and questioning the evidence on their negative health effects. A year earlier, the AND stated its support for a” total diet approach”, and opposition to the” overly simplistic” the categories of specific foods as good or bad.” It’s about co-opting health organisations, and buying legitimacy among professionals and members of the public ,” says Andy Bellatti, co-founder of US-based Dietitians for Professional Integrity.

Chocolate manufacturers have also utilized the classic corporate strategy of using third-party lobbyists to fabricate artificial scientific disagreement. Science is, by its nature, about evidence-based likelihoods not absolute certainties. The exaggeration of uncertainty was perfected by the tobacco companies in the 1950 s, and later copied by the asbestos and oil industries. Chocolate makers have done this through lobbying groups such as the Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute( ILSI ), which campaigned against added sugar labelling in the US, and resisted the World Health Organisation’s 2015 advice that less than 10% of daily energy uptake should come from free sugars- those added to food and drinkings and resulting naturally in honey and fruit juice.

Criticisms of these tactics seem to be reaching home. Mars transgressed ranks with fellow chocolate-making ILSI members including Nestle, Hershey and Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, in 2016 when it denounced a paper funded by the group questioning research linking sugar consumption and poor health, and related health advice. Last month Mars announced it was leaving ILSI.

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Don’t count on it: large quantities of the flavanols found in chocolate need to be ingested before they will have an impact on blood pressure. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/ PA

Mars’s Berninger agrees that the chocolate industry could do more to avoid the spread of health myths.” Chocolate is a treat you should enjoy occasionally and in small portions , not a health food ,” he says.” Did we say that loud enough over the last 10 years? I would say no .”

Public health campaigners welcome Mars’s new posture. Some see it as a genuine attempt to do the right thing, while others highlight how big food companies are seeking to reposition themselves in the face of growing environmental and health concerns. Whatever the motivation, the gulf between the chocolate industry and its critics seems to be narrowing.

Children hoping to celebrate Easter in the traditional chocolatey style on 1 April will be reassured to hear the two sides also agree on another aspect of the debate.” While chocolate is probably not healthy, it’s also not harmful when enjoyed in sensible quantities ,” says Mellor.” Chocolate is candy, adds Nestle.” As part of a reasonable diet, it’s fine in moderation .”

You can say anything with figures …

The role of the media in helping chocolate makers exploit our failure to grasp the complexities of nutrition science was laid bare in a 2015 expose. German television journalists set up a three-week “study” in which they asked one group of volunteers to follow a low-carb diet, another to do likewise but add a daily chocolate bar, a third to induce no change to their diet. Both low-carb groups lost an average of 5lb, but the chocolate group lost weight faster. By measuring 18 different things in a small number of people, the spoofers made it likely they would find “statistically significant” but fake benefits of eating chocolate.

The ” peer-reviewed ” International Repository of Internal Medicine agreed to publish a hurriedly written newspaper within 24 hours of receiving it- for a fee of EUR6 00. John Bohannon, a Harvard University biologist and science journalist in on the hoax, put together a press release. Within days narratives had been published in more than 20 countries. The Mail Online , Daily Express , Daily Star and Bild were among those that fell for it.

” I was just really ashamed for my colleagues ,” says Bohannon.” These are people who regurgitate whole chunks of press releases and almost never call on outside sources. In my volume, that’s not even journalism. It’s just an extension of PR .”

Big Food: Critical Perspectives on the Global Growth of the Food and Beverage Industry, edited by Simon N Williams and Marion Nestle, is published by Routledge

Read more: www.theguardian.com

There Really Is No ‘One Size Fits All’ Diet Plan, According To Study

Have you ever followed your doctors weight loss nutrition plan to a T, merely to stubbornly remain at the exact same weight — or worse, gain weight?

Theres a reason for that, according to an ambitious research project by scientists in Israel. Researchers Eran Elinav and Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science have just published the results of a large, comprehensive survey in the publication Cell that determined people can metabolize the exact same foods in very different ways.

What this means is that a healthy diet for one person may not be healthy for another person. Yet physicians all over the world tend to prescribe the same kinds of foods to people struggling with weight or health issues. Rather than recommend a cookie-cutter solution to weight problems, the researchers say, doctors could be more effective by recommending a personalized nutrition plan to a patient, based on the way that patient metabolizes certain foods.

“After seeing this data, I think about the possibility that maybe we’re genuinely conceptually incorrect in our thinking about the obesity and diabetes epidemic, Segal said in a statement. “The intuition of people is that we know how to treat these conditions, and it’s just that people are not listening and are feeing out of control — but perhaps people are actually compliant but in many cases we were dedicating them wrong advice.”

Some fellow doctors, however, are a bit more skeptical about the pair’s conclusions.

The Study

To measure how food was digested, Elinav and Segal recruited 800 people and studied them intently over the course of one week. Participants were asked to log every bite, sip, exercise conference, bowel movement and sleep conference on a phone app. Their blood sugar levels were measured every five minutes by a device attached to their bodies, and they turned in stool samples for intestine bacteria analysis. They also devoted blood samples and ate a few of the same exact meals for breakfast, so that the scientists could gauge all of the different consequences the same food would have on different people.

Using all that data, Elinav and Segal mapped out which foods affected participants blood sugar the most. They utilized blood sugar as a health risk indicator because the higher blood sugar spikes and the longer it bides elevated, the more likely a person is to develop Type 2 diabetes, obesity and other facets of metabolic syndrome like high blood pressure, fatty liver illness and cardiovascular disease.

What they found was that the participants all responded very differently to foods, even after snacks in which participants were feeing the same exact foods. In the video above, the researchers explain that sushi actually caused one men blood sugar to spike higher than ice cream did. For another participant who had struggled to lose weight on different diets all their own lives, the researchers found that eating a apparently healthy food — tomatoes — spiked her blood sugar.

“Examples are numerous — some participants( in fact most participants) feature a lower glycemic response to bread with butter as compared to bread, despite its higher caloric content, Elinav told The Huffington Post. “Some people glucose levels spike to fresh fruit while not spiking on[ a] moderate sum of alcohol( a glass of beer ); in some individuals pizza makes a large spike, in others it did not.”

The researchers then selected 26 of the participants to see if they could offer personalized nutrition recommendations would bring down the subjects’ blood sugar levels. And indeed, Elinav and Segal were able to lower blood sugar levels after recommending meals made of foods they knew wouldnt spike individual participants blood sugar.

Interestingly, these dietary changes also resulted in a change in gut bacteria in the participants. That may be important because intestine bacteria — the billions of microorganisms living in our body — help us by breaking down our food for us in our belly and bowels. Past analyzes have suggested that while weve all get unique communities of bacteria living inside us, depending on our environments and what we inherit, some kinds of bacteria are more helpful than others when it comes to blood sugar, obesity and diabetes. And we can perhaps influence which intestine bacteria live in our bowels by eating certain kinds of foods.

Future Plans

Segal and Elinavs research was funded by general academic grants and they received no commercial fund. But the pair said theyve already licensed their research methods to an outside company to continue building on their findings. They want to develop a service that creates personalized nutrition plans for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity and other health complications that are linked to nutrition.

For example, because they were able to test their methods on each other, Segal and Elinav have made some personal changes to their own diets now that they know what foods spiked their blood sugar levels. Elinav found that for him, it was best to reduce both bread and beef, while beer seemed to have no effect on his blood sugar. Segal, on the other hand, has to avoid sushi and bread. Happily, he has observed desserts that he can eat without remorse.

“I also found out that dark chocolate and ice cream do very little to my sugar levels, and I now feed these on a regular basis, said Segal. Lucky guy.

Unfortunately, until the service launchings, Segal and Elinav dont have much advice to give those who want to customize their diet now, except to confirm that there really is no one sizing fits all diet that would work well for everyone.

Is it a breakthrough?

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Lukes Mid America Heart Institute and associate editor of BMJs Open Heart journal, was not involved in the study and is skeptical of Segal and Elinavs results. He says theres little practical takeaway for patients or health care providers, and questioned their decision to measure blood sugar levels after a dinner, as measuring insulin levels after a dinner is a more established way of determining whether people are developing insulin resistance that can lead to kind 2 diabetes.

Segal and Elinav agree with DiNicolantonio that insulin level measurings would have been helpful, too, but pointed out that only blood sugar levels can be continually measured the style they wanted for studies and research. They recorded over 2,000 blood sugar levels per participant with the attached device, while pricking a person for a fell of blood 2,000 hours to get insulin levels would have been impossible — or at least highly unpleasant, especially while the participants were sleeping.

Dr. Suneil Koliwad, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco Diabetes Center and the Gerold Grodsky Chair in diabetes research, also had concerns about Segal and Elinavs findings. He was wary of the studys reliance on self-reported diet, a technique of data collection that’s notoriously inaccurate, especially with people who are obese or have diabetes. He also pointed out a lack of research about what a blood sugar spike may actually mean if, say, it was truly triggered by a healthy food such as a tomato.

But despite the fact Koliwad thought it was premature to be developing a consumer product based on this study, he was much more optimistic about its potential to spur future research that could one day lead to reliable consumer products and services that generate personalized health plans in general.

Potentially market ready tools that can be a great service to people who want to prevent obesity, diabetes and cancer, are on the horizon, and its going to be studies just like the one youre asking me about that will result us to that point, Koliwad told HuffPost. And thats not too far off — Im talking years , not decades, and thats very heartening to all of us who work in the field of metabolism.”

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

BMI Is A Poor Tool For Judging Health. Here’s A Better Idea.

Your weight actually isn’t a very reliable predictor of heart health or diabetes danger, according to a new examine from obesity researchers.

Nearly half of overweight people, 29 percent of obese people and 16 percentage of morbidly obese people were found to be metabolically healthy when the researchers examined data for 40,000 people. This means those folks weren’t at risk for kind 2 diabetes or heart disease.

On the other hand, more than 30 percent of people in the “normal” weight category were metabolically unhealthy , which means they were at risk for these kinds of diseases.

These findings add another crack to the foundation of medical orthodoxy on obesity. Despite long-standing, well-researched associations between obesity and chronic disease, a growing body of research is pushing back on the notion that a person who is overweight is, by definition, also unhealthy.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to weight and health, the study suggests that a person is to be able to “fat but fit” or thin and unhealthy. People who research this “obesity paradox” also note that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to survive chronic diseases than normal weight or underweight people.

As with most obesity analyzes, the researchers relied on measuring body mass index, or BMI, a calculated proportion of weight to height that divides people into normal weight, overweight, obese or underweight categories.

BMI looms large in its further consideration over obesity and health, despite being a pretty unreliable metric. Health insurance companies use BMI to figure out how to offer financial discounts or penalties to policy holders, while physicians use BMI to diagnose people with overweight or obesity and tell them that they need to lose weight to protect their health.

“There have been many misuses of BMI throughout the decades, despite very good proof, like ours, that shows it’s a flawed measure, ” said study co-author A. Janet Tomiyama, director of the Dieting, Stress and Health Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We’re hoping that this study will be the final fingernail in the coffin for BMI.”

The problem with BMI

The creator of BMI, a 19 th-century mathematician named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, never dreamt that the ratio would be used to assess an individual person’s health or weight, reported NPR. Instead, he made it as a shorthand calculation to assess obesity on the population level, rather than an individual one.

One main issue with BMI is that it can’t tell how much of a person’s weight is body fat and how much of it is bone, muscle and water. Professional athletes are a clear example of this problem: Take LA Clippers player Blake Griffin, for instance. He’s six-foot-ten and weighs 251 pounds, attaining him technically “overweight” according to the BMI ratio. But anyone who’s find Griffin play ball knows that couldn’t be further from the truth 😛 TAGEND

The obese and healthy, misclassified

Based on their data, the study’s researchers estimate that approximately 19.7 million Americans who think they are obese may actually be metabolically healthy. For this population, they wrote, the “obese” label is a distract misclassification that could negatively harm their overall health.

When healthcare providers prescribe weight loss for this group, they aren’t simply wasting patients’ time and endeavor, they’re also contributing to stigma and “high levels of anti-fat bias, ” according to the researchers.

Overall, they estimate that about 74.9 million Americans are misclassified in some way because their BMI number doesn’t match up to their true metabolic health status.

“I’m sure some will defend the BMI as a comparatively rapid and inexpensive measure, but why should ‘quick and cheap’ win out over accurate, especially when we’re talking about the health of millions of Americans? ” said co-author Jeffrey Hunger, a doctoral student are engaged in weight-based stigmatization at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Im sure some will defend the BMI as a relatively quick and cheap measure, but why should ‘quick and cheap’ win out over accurate?

What we should measure instead

The researchers say a better route to assess dangerous weight gain would be to do things like measure a person’s body fat percentage or calculate a person’s waist to height ratio.

The body fat percentage measuring does what the BMI doesn’t: it makes a distinction between body fat, which can drive hormonal ailment, diabetes and heart disease, and everything else, like bones and muscles that help you stay fit and strong. Healthy body fat percentages can also vary according to sex, athletic ability and age.

The waist to height ratio, on the other hand, makes a distinction between abdominal fat, which is the most metabolically active and dangerous various kinds of body fat, from the fat found on hips and thighs, which is not associated with disease or a shortened life.

Tomiyama added that beyond weight, there are other routine, simple measures of health that physicians can take to evaluate metabolic health, like measuring blood pressure or blood sugar levels.

Critics of the “fat but fit” notion might say that the “healthy” obese people in Tomiyama and Hunger’s study are merely at a temporary stop on the way to their final destination: chronic disease and early death. Hunger notes that while their analysis doesn’t address this question( as it merely measures one point in time , not long-term data ), the inclusion of people over 60 years old, some of whom were also obese yet metabolically healthy, suggests that this isn’t the case for everyone.

“Although our data can’t speak directly to to this issue, I suspect that lifestyle factors such as being active are more important than BMI in predicting the stability of metabolic health, ” he said.

“It’s definitely not a death penalty, ” Tomiyama agreed. “There are millions of folks that are perfectly healthy despite having an overweight or obese BMI.”

Tomiyama and Hunger are continuing their research on obese but healthy people. If you’re interested in participating, check out the HE.R.O. analyse, conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles.

The research was published Feb. 2016 in the International Journal of Obesity.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

No such thing as ‘fat but fit’, major analyze finds

Metabolically healthy obese are 50% more likely to suffer heart disease than those of normal weight, sees University of Birmingham study

People who are obese operate an increased risk of heart failure and stroke even if they seem healthy, without the obvious warning signs such as high blood pressure or diabetes, according to a major new study.

The findings, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal, may be the final death knell for the claim that it is possible to be obese but still metabolically healthy or fat but fit say scientists.

Several analyses in the past have suggested that the idea of metabolically healthy obese people is an illusion, but they have been smaller than this one. The new examine, from the University of Birmingham, involved 3.5 million people, approximately 61,000 of whom developed coronary heart disease.

The issue has been controversial. Obesity is usually measured by body mass indicator( BMI) a ratio of weight against height. It is generally agreed to be imperfect because athletes and very fit people with dense muscle can have the same BMI as somebody who is obese.

The scientists examined electronic health records from 1995 to 2015 in the Health Improvement Network a large UK general practice database. They procured records for 3.5 million people who were free of coronary heart disease at the starting point of the study and divided them into groups according to their BMI and whether they had diabetes, high blood pressure[ hypertension ], and abnormal blood fats[ hyperlipidemia ], which are all classed as metabolic abnormalities. Anyone who had none of those was classed as metabolically healthy obese.

The study found that those obese individuals who seemed healthy in fact had a 50% higher hazard of coronary heart disease than people who were of normal weight. They had a 7% increased risk of cerebrovascular disease problems affecting the blood furnish to the brain which can cause a stroke, and double the risk of heart failure.

Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, who led the study, said it was true that weightlifters could be healthy and yet have a BMI that suggested the latter are obese. I understand that argument. BMI is crude but it is the only measure we have in the clinic to get a proxy for body fat. It is not realistic[ to use anything else] in a GP setting or in the normal hospital clinic. We have to will vary depending on BMI measurements, however crude they may be, he said.

While BMI outcomes for particular people could be misinform, the study showed that on a population level, the idea that large numbers of people can be obese and yet metabolically healthy and at no likelihood of heart disease was wrong.

Caleyachetty said: The priority of health professionals should be to promote and facilitate weight loss among obese persons, regardless of the presence or absence of metabolic abnormalities.

At the population level, so-called metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition and perhaps it is better not to use this word to describe an obese person, regardless of how many metabolic complications they have.

Last August a study from Sweden, which followed 1.3 million humen over 30 years, found that those who were the fittest when they were 18 years old were 51% less likely to die prematurely than those who were the least fit. But if the men were obese, that cancelled out the advantage they had from their fitness in their youth.

Professor Peter Nordstrom, who led the study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said at the time: These outcomes indicate low BMI early in life is more important than high physical fitness with regard to reducing the risk of early death.

Professor Timothy Gill from the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney, Australia, said that there would always be some people who remain healthy in spite of obesity, just as there are some lifetime smokers who do not get lung cancer.

I think you can argue that there are still likely to be some people who are not going to suffer the ill-health repercussions as much as other people just because of the distribution of danger, he said.

The World Obesity Federation has this month officially recognised obesity as a disease because of the wide variety of health problems associated with it.

Susannah Brown, senior scientist at World Cancer Research Fund, said the studys finding, emphasise the urgent need to take the obesity epidemic seriously.

As well as increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, being overweight or obese can increase the health risks of 11 common cancers, including prostate and liver. If everyone were a healthy weight, around 25,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the UK each year.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

YouTube makeup artist opens up about her diagnosis with type-1 diabetes

Alexys Lex Fleming, 22, usually devotes her YouTube page to creatinghorrorandmacabre special effects makeup and body artusing her own line of paint and brushes.

But this November she’s marking national Diabetes Awareness Month by opening up about her diagnosis with type-1 diabetes at age 13.

In her video, she talks about her conflicts balancing school with managing her disease, and the toll it took on her personal life in the form of bullying by her classmates. But she detected body paint as a route to take her intellect off the stress of school, bullies, and diabetes. She soon determined her calling, seeking cosmetology and esthetics and became a licensed esthetician by the time she was 19.

What is diabetes ?

Like cancer, diabetes isnt merely one cancer. It can be congenital, originate during pregnancy, or originate later in life through a multitude of genetic and environmental factors. But the end result is the same: The body contains too much sugar in the blood or makes too much glucose.

Humans require glucose for energy, and they derive it by breaking down sugars from food. In a healthy person glucose is transported throughout the body by the hormone insulin.

Diabetes suffers a lot of fallacies, like that everyone who has it is overweight and that its always brought on by lifestyle choices like feeing too much sugar or not exert. While weight and diet are both risk factors, they dont tell virtually the whole story.

Type-1 diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, type-1 diabetes originates because the body is completely unable to produce insulin. Without the hormone to deliver glucose to needy cells, glucose simply hangs out in the blood, causing blood sugar to spike. Merely 5 percent of all diabetics have type-1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type-1 diabetes include increased urination, feeling very hungry or thirsty( even if you are eating well ), and extreme weight loss. But when treated through insulin injections, people can lead very healthy lives.

Type-2 diabetes

The more common form of diabetes, type-2 diabetes, occurs when the body stops responding to insulin normally. It occurs in people for a variety of reasons that are still not fully understood. In some examples, people can manage type-2 diabetes through careful diet and exert alone. However, managing it well is not the same as curing it, and drug combined with a healthy diet and exert is necessary for most folks with diabetes.

A lot of people think that theres a specific diabetes diet, but according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics can eat anything, even candy. It just has to be balanced with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat. Fleming added that there is no diet-based( or any) cure for diabetes.

Vegan, healthy, and vegetarian diets will not remedy us. Cinnamon will not remedy us. Okra will not cure us. There is no cure at this time, but thanks to modern day medicine, we are able to live long, healthy lives, she told the Daily Dot in an email.

Living with diabetes

Fleming said that managing her disease is a constant roller coaster as she wears her many hats. But she stressed that managing diabetes is always difficult , no matter what path people take in life.

There is NO exact formula to manage blood sugars perfectly. Even with medications, we will still have highs, and still have lows. my hectic days, I have learned to work through the highs, and to drink glucose through the lows. There are days in which I feel like I is able to flop over, or can’t process what people are saying very well, but still find the strength to get through tough Diabetes situations. Diabetes will NOT bring me down if I don’t let it .

She added that she feels its important to accept the disease as a part of what builds you who you are. There are many diabetics out there that say they hate living with the illness, but you can’t hate it, she said. The moment you give in to your sugars, is the moment they will continue to control you. At the same time, also know that it’s okay to be stressed out, it’s OK to cry, and know when appropriate for you to relax and listen to your body.

Screengrab via Madeyewlook/ YouTube

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