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Obesity Nutrition - Additional Risks

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In addition to increasing the risk of death, obesity carries with it many other physiological changes that contribute to reduced health or increased morbidity (illness) (Bray and James). Obese persons have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They also have a greater incidence of gallstones, joint disorders, certain cancers, and sleep apnea. In addition, obese persons frequently suffer from discrimination due to their body weight. Recent studies of the very obese in which significant weight loss was achieved and sustained using various gastrointestinal (stomach and intestinal) surgical procedures showed a great reduction in the illnesses listed above after obesity was reduced (Sjostrom et al.). Also, in nonhuman primates, the long term restraint of calories, adjusted to maintain a health body weight and to prevent the development of obesity, has been shown to prevent (or greatly delay) the development of the adult onset of Type 2 diabetes, which is the type most often associated with obesity (Hansen and Bodkin). In 2001, evidence suggested that the life long restraint of caloric intake sufficient enough to prevent the development of obesity also would postpone the average age of death and possibly extend overall life span (Hansen). The mechanisms underlying this improved morbidity and mortality through obesity prevention and calorie restraint are not yet known.



BRAY, G.; BOUCHARD, C.; and JAMES, W. P. T. Handbook of Obesity. New York: M. Dekker, 1998.

HANSEN, B.C. "Prevention of Obesity." In The Management of Eating Disorders and Obesity. Edited by D. J. Goldstein. Totowa, N.J.: Humana Press, 1999. Pages 347–357.

HANSEN, B. C., and BODKIN, N. L. "Primary Prevention of Diabetes Mellitus By Prevention of Obesity in Monkeys." Diabetes 42 (1993): 1809–1814.

Table 2

MCGINNIS, J. M., and FOEGE, W. H. "Actual Causes of Death in the United States." Journal of the American Medical Association 270, no. 18 (1993): 2207–2212.

National Institute of Health–NHLBI. "Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults." In Eds. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1998.

SJOSTROM, C. D.; LISSNER, L.; and SJOSTROM. L. "Long-term Effects of Weight Loss on Hypertension and Diabetes: The S.O.S. Intervention Study." International Journal of Obesity 22 supp. 3 (1998): S78.

WOLF, M., and COLDITZ, G. A. "Social and Economic Effects of Body Weight in the United States." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63 (1996): 466S–469S.

World Health Organization. "Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic." In Eds. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1998. Page. 276.

ZHANG, Y.; PROECA, R.; MAFFEI, M.; BARONE, M,; LEOPOLD, L.; and FRIEDMAN, J. M. "Positional Cloning of the Mouse Obese Gene and its Human Homologue." Nature 372 (1994): 425–432.

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