Obesity: Can Simple Approaches Reduce Complex Risks?

Obesity Prevalance 2017
Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) 2017. Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011. Source: BRFSS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Obesity Epidemic

For over a decade, obesity has been called an “epidemic”, both in the popular and scientific literature. Traditionally, the term “epidemic” is associated with a highly contagious disease that carries with it a significant risk of mortality. A comprehensive review of observational studies (1) suggested that obesity did not fit this definition, despite the use of the term in a widely disseminated report by the World Health Organization in 2002.

Regardless of the etymological fine points, the worldwide prevalence of obesity and its associated health risks are clear. These risks include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, several cancers, gall bladder disease, coronary artery disease and stroke (2). Yet, the debate over obesity and options for reducing its risks has become increasingly polarized. As a result, some health researchers are advocating a “health at every size” (HAES) approach to address the social, cultural and lifestyle implications of obesity (2).

Continue reading “Obesity: Can Simple Approaches Reduce Complex Risks?”

Does Your Daily Cup of Coffee Affect Your Risk of Cancer?

Coffee beansIs there an association between coffee consumption and incidence of cancer? The answer seems to depend on whom you ask, the study group involved, how much and what type of coffee the study participants drank and a host of other factors. Many research studies have found no link or only a weak link between the two, but recently a new study that showed a stronger association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of prostate cancer was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (1). Why should we believe this new study when so many other studies have been unable to show a strong link?
Continue reading “Does Your Daily Cup of Coffee Affect Your Risk of Cancer?”