New Research into the Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Gut Microbes… Patient Receives Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy… Obesity in Rural Areas Spikes…Half of Americans Tried to Lose Weight in the Past Year… The Dangers of Having ‘Skinny Fat’… Obesity Rises in The Big Apple
Bariatric Surgery in the News
Bariatric Surgery Only Partly Fixes Gut Flora in Severe Obesity (Medscape)
In a new study published online in Gut, three quarters of patients with severe obesity “had unhealthy and not very diverse gut microbes,” which was associated with a greater tendency to have a high fat mass in the trunk of the body and an increased likelihood of having type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or more severe versions of these comorbidities. And while bariatric surgery – gastric band or gastric bypass – resulted in weight loss and improved metabolic markers in these patients, it was associated with only partial improvements in microbial gene richness. The lack of a “full rescue” to a healthy gut microbiota after bariatric surgery “calls for additional strategies to improve the gut microbiota ecosystem and microbiome–host interactions in severe obesity,” said researchers from the Institute of Cardiometabolism And Nutrition and Sorbonne University, Paris, France. They say more research is needed to determine “whether specific interventions (specialized diets, prebiotics/probiotics, or gut microbiota [fecal] transfers) may be useful to consider prior, or post, bariatric surgery in severely obese individuals.” Samer G. Mattar, MD, ASMBS president told Medscape this is “an exciting field” of research. “I think we are going to see a lot more advances in this area, and one day we’ll probably have the perfect combination of gut organisms in a fecal pill form.”
Robotic Surgery Helps Shed Major Pounds (Ivanhoe Newswire)
Robotic sleeve gastrectomy is called “the latest in bypass weight loss surgery.” The story says robotic technology minimized trauma to the patient, which results in faster recovery and less pain. “The robotic technology allows me to sit at a console. It allows me to operate the hands of the robot, which ideally doesn’t cause as much trauma to the patient,” said Dr. David Thomas, a bariatric surgeon at Baptist Health System. “It’s an amazing thing to see in person. It really does help the patient recover a lot faster.” The story features a patient who lost 80 pounds since surgery and reports that she didn’t have a lot of pain or nausea after the procedure.
Obesity in the News
Obesity Keeps Ballooning in U.S., With Rural Areas Seeing Biggest Spikes (U.S. News & World Report)
Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show the obesity rates keep rising, particularly in rural areas. Obesity reached nearly 22 percent for children in rural areas compared to 17 percent for kids in big cities. For men in rural areas, the prevalence of severe obesity increased by over threefold from 2001 to 2016, from 2.8 percent to 9.9 percent, and the overall obesity rate for adults was measured at almost 39 percent. “While it’s clear the obesity epidemic isn’t going away any time soon, rising obesity is not inevitable,” says Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willett says a strategic, multipronged approach is needed to address the epidemic, and that including Medicare reimbursement for weight-loss counseling through the Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction.
Half of Americans Trying to Slim Down (HealthDay via WebMD)
Half of U.S. adults say they’ve recently tried to lose weight, according to a new survey from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics that tracked Americans’ weight loss attempts between 2013 and 2016. Forty-nine percent of respondents say they had tried to lose weight in the past year, including two-thirds of those who had obesity. The most common weight-loss methods were exercise and diets– each reported by 63 percent of people aiming to shed pounds — and half said they were eating more fruits, vegetables and salads. Women were more likely than men to have attempted to lose weight (56 percent versus 42 percent). The finding showed income made a difference as well, with wealthier men and women significantly more likely to say they tried to slim down.
Why Being Skinny Fat Could be Just as Dangerous as Being Obese (Newsweek)
Growing evidence suggests “a slim physique doesn’t offer a free pass” from chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In fact, having “normal weight obesity” or “skinny fat,” could be just as damaging as having obesity. The misconception that those who are slender are less likely to suffer from potentially life-threatening illnesses partly lies in how society often values thinness above health, and confusion over how the physiologically ideal body type is measured, according to experts. Mounting evidence suggests the distribution of fat and dense muscle mass are in fact more important than an individual’s total fat levels. The less widely recognized dangers of the skinny fat body type highlight the flaws of relying solely on the BMI scale to measure physiological health.
Obese New Yorkers a Growing Trend, New Study Reports (New York Daily News)
Obesity among New Yorkers increased from 27 to 32 percent between 2004 and 2014, according to a new report published in the Journal of Urban Health. Researchers from NYU School of Medicine and NYC Health Department analyzed data collected through the NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC-HANES. While obesity rates remained stable among women, they grew among men. Blacks had the highest rate of obesity at 37%, and Asians experienced the greatest increase in obesity from 20% to 29%. People who had no more than a high school education, no health insurance and who were immigrants also showed a higher than average increase in obesity rates.