Health and Your Metabolic Health: Does Obesity Matter?

Should obese people who are metabolically healthy be advised to lose weight?

Risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer all increase with excess body fat. Yet research has identified two unique groups: those who are obese but metabolically healthy, and those who are a healthy weight but metabolic unhealthy. This was the topic of a sesscanstockphoto2174868ion I especially looked forward to attending at last month’s American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.

Metabolic health matters when it comes to cancer. Inflammation and the elevated insulin levels that come with insulin resistance are believed to promote cancer development.

Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) refers to people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (for someone who is 5’6” tall, weight of at least 186 pounds) yet don’t have the metabolic abnormalities that typically accompany obesity. There’s not yet a standard definition for MHO, but usually a person with MHO has no more than one of the following: diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol. Studies generally report from 3 to 20 percent of obese people meet criteria to be classified as metabolically healthy. Continue reading


Study: More Magnesium Links to Lower Insulin Levels

Spinach_canstockphoto0556156Spinach — the dark green leafy source of Popeye’s superhuman strength — is abundant in many nutrients, including magnesium. A new study suggests that diets higher in magnesium are associated with lower blood levels of glucose and insulin, which are often elevated in people with type 2 diabetes.

Research now shows that people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of certain cancers, including kidney, pancreatic and colorectal.

The study was published online last month in The Journal of Nutrition.

Study researchers analyzed data from approximately 53,000 non-diabetic European men and women from 15 studies who were part of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) study. The individual studies had collected dietary data through questionnaires, interviews, and/or food diaries along with glucose and insulin levels after participants had not eaten for at least 8 hours. Continue reading


Obese and Sedentary: How Does Your State Rank?

Americans are living longer then ever before but over a quarter of us are inactive and obese, leading to increased levels of diabetes and other chronic conditions, according to a new report by the United Health Foundation.

Both type 2 diabetes and obesity increase the risk of cancer. Although cancer deaths have declined since 1990 with the help of medical advances, the unhealthy lifestyle habits seen throughout our country suggests that more people will be living longer with a chronic illness or be at increased risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

The 2012 America’s Health Rankings pulled data from government and other sources to gather 24 health measures state by state. You can see the report and how your state ranks here.

For the sixth year in a row, Vermont topped the list for the healthiest state – yet even here, 24 to 30 percent of its residents are obese. Hawaii is ranked as the second healthiest state, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The five least healthy states are South Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi and Louisiana, which tied for the 49th slot. Continue reading