NIH-Funded Study Tests Mobile Health App to Help Bariatric Surgery Patients… Bariatric Surgery Gives “World’s Heaviest Teen” a “New Lease on Life”… Mom’s Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Child’s Risk of Obesity… Obesity Genetically Linked to Loneliness… Wisconsin Obesity Rate Increases… Obesity May Affect Prostate Cancer Test Results
Bariatric Surgery in the News
Using mHealth as a Care Management Tool for Bariatric Patients (mHealth Intelligence)
A newly launched National Institutes of Health-funded study is examining if an empirically validated mobile health app can improve pre-surgery adherence to recommended guidelines and augment behaviors conducive to more and sustained post-surgery weight loss. In the study, researchers at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are working with Noom’s mHealth to design a digital health care management program that “targets the 20 percent of bariatric patients who regain the weight they’d lost and the 30 percent who develop mental health-related side effects,” according to lead researcher and Chief Psychology Officer for Noom, Dr. Andreas Michaelides. Bariatric surgery patients participating in the study will receive ongoing personalized guidance and support from National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) trained lifestyle coaches. Patients interact with their coach via the mobile platform where they also have access to support tools like group chats. The platform tracks the behaviors and actions of the patient, “allowing coaches to prioritize and intervene in real-time at moments of greatest impact.” Outcome measures for this first phase of the study are (1) change in adherence to dietary recommendations at eight weeks, (2) change in adherence to dietary recommendations provided within pre-bariatric surgery program using the ASA-24 interview (a 24-hour recall of all food and drink consumed), (3) change in adherence to physical activity recommendations (through an activity tracker), and (4) change in adherence to physical activity recommendations (IPAQ) at eight weeks. In Phase 2, the program will be tested eight weeks pre-surgery and up to one-year post-surgery.
World’s Heaviest Teen Loses 76 kg after Bariatric Surgery (Yahoo News, India)
Mihir Jain, a 14-year-old boy from Delhi, India who at 237 kg (~522 lbs) is one of the world’s heaviest teens, according to news reports, has “a new lease on life” now that he’s had weight-loss surgery. Mihir’s mother told Yahoo News her son’s addiction to fried food was the reason behind his weight gain and “medication he was put on worsened the situation further.” In December 2017 when he presented for bariatric surgery, Mihir’s BMI was 92 kg/m2, and he was not able to walk or breathe properly. After losing 40 kg on a doctor-prescribed low-calorie diet, Mihir had gastric bypass in April and has since lost 76 kg. “The operation has obviously been life-altering for him,” reports Yahoo News. “I couldn’t do normal everyday things but I used to say to myself: don’t worry, you’ll do it someday. I have reached that someday,” said Mihir.
Obesity in the News
Mom’s Lifestyle Could be Key to Childhood Obesity, Study Suggests (USA Today)
Mothers who live a healthier lifestyle that includes five healthy habits are 75 percent less likely to have a child with obesity compared to women who follow none of the habits, a study from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found. Researchers analyzed data on 24,289 kids between the ages of 9 to 14 born to 16,945 women who had enrolled in two earlier, larger studies. They focused on five habits: a high-quality diet, regular exercise, a healthy body mass index (BMI), no smoking, and light to moderate alcohol consumption. Mothers who followed four of the five habits showed a lower risk of obesity among their kids, though, the researchers note diet did not appear “significantly associated.” Moreover, mothers and children who follow healthier lifestyles lower the risk of childhood obesity by 82 percent. Findings were published in the journal BMJ.
Loneliness Could Share Genetic Link with Obesity, Scientists Find (Newsweek)
New research from the University of Cambridge reveals a genetic link between being overweight and social isolation, suggesting weight loss might temper loneliness. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, are based on data on genetic variation in 487,647 participants who answered a questionnaire about their perceived loneliness, how often they interact with other people and the quality of their social lives. Scientists found variations in DNA at 15 genetic locations and noticed that the same genetic areas were similar for participants who are overweight and are linked to an area of the brain associated with emotional self-regulation. The study is the first to show a causal link between loneliness and obesity, and investigators say it could give medical practitioners insight into how to treat both.
Wisconsin Obesity Rate Higher than Previous Estimates (US News & World Report)
New research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reveals the state’s obesity rate is actually 10 percentage points higher among adults than what previous estimates have suggested. About 41.2 percent of Wisconsin adults were classified as having obesity from 2015 through 2016, slightly greater than the national average of 39.8 percent, and nearly 15 percent of children had obesity, according to the new study. Earlier data, though, indicated Wisconsin’s obesity rate was close to 31 percent. The new report also found there were neighborhoods in Wisconsin where children are almost six times more likely to have obesity than in other nearby neighborhoods. The Wisconsin Health Atlas’ obesity map, created as part of the report, reveals large disparities among rural and urban areas of the state with the highest obesity rate at around 67 percent, while the lowest was approximately 16 percent.
Obesity Affects Prostate Cancer Test Results (Science Daily)
Results of the most widely used test for prostate cancer may be affected by obesity, a find that may have important implications for detecting and monitoring the most common form of cancer in men, according to a study published by the Society for Endocrinology in the UK. Data from 970 South Australian men from the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study was used to examine the effects of obesity on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels detected in blood and the influence of the hormones, testosterone and estrogen. “We have shown for the first time that the concentration of PSA in the blood is lower in men with severe obesity (with a body mass index or BMI of 30 or higher) than in lean men, and that this can be attributed to lower concentrations of circulating testosterone,” said the study’s lead investigator, PhD student and medical oncologist Dr. Adel Aref from the University’s Adelaide Medical School and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health.