Obesity Panacea

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Two health physiology researchers discuss the latest obesity news, research, and weight loss products.

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  • April 10, 2013
  • 09:45 AM
  • 1,221 views

Obesity and Altitude

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Obesity is a complex and multifactorial chronic disease that remains a military and public health priority in the United States. Recently, we’ve identified a strong association between obesity prevalence and altitude within the US. Our findings were surprising because they indicated the magnitude of this association was large and the pattern of association exhibited a curvilinear dose response in 500 meter categories of altitude. There was a 4-5 fold increase in obesity prevalence at low a........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2013
  • 10:00 AM
  • 326 views

Reduced All-Cause Mortality in Overweight Adults: Should we be Surprised?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Today’s post comes courtesy of my friend and frequent collaborator Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput. It is a Letter to the Editor that was written by Dr Chaput along with Angelo Tremblay and Eric Doucet in response to a recent paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association.... Read more »

  • January 22, 2013
  • 10:00 AM
  • 402 views

Sedentary behaviour associated with 6-year increase in waist circumference (but not much else) in the Quebec Family Study

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

One factor that may link sedentary behaviour with increased morbidity and mortality is the accumulation of visceral fat (see figure below), which has been linked with various chronic diseases and even death. For example, see this study by our former labmate Jen Kuk, which found that visceral fat was an independent predictor of premature death in men. While other types of body fat (e.g. butt fat) don’t tend to have a huge health impact, excess visceral fat is definitely a bad thing (more ........ Read more »

  • August 9, 2012
  • 10:18 AM
  • 385 views

Does thinking hard impact your heart?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Mental work stimulates cardiovascular functions in healthy adults and a reduction in cardiac parasympathetic modulation could be one mechanism involved in such a response. The influence of sex on these cardiovascular responses remains ambiguous. The aim of the study was to evaluate cardiovascular impacts of mental work in healthy individuals and whether sex influences cardiovascular responses induced by mental work.... Read more »

Emilie Perusse-Lachance, Angelo Tremblay, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Paul Poirier, Normand Teasdale, Vicky Drapeau, Caroline Senecal, & Patrice Brassard. (2012) Mental Work Stimulates Cardiovascular Responses through a Reduction in Cardiac Parasympathetic Modulation in Men and Women. Bioenergetics: Open Access. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2167-7662.S1-001

  • August 1, 2012
  • 10:00 AM
  • 356 views

Systematic Review: TV viewing associated with poor physical, social, and psychological health in preschoolers

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

... Read more »

  • July 25, 2012
  • 04:00 PM
  • 530 views

The Body Shape Index

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

As many of our regular readers know (and often remind each other in the comments), body mass index is not a great predictor of an individual’s risk of disease. It predicts health risk at the population level, but even then there is considerable variation within a given BMI range. Peter has talked about this at length in the past, when he summarized 3 reasons why BMI is a poor measure of your health:... Read more »

  • July 10, 2012
  • 02:13 PM
  • 491 views

Excessive sitting lowering US life expectancy by ~2 years

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

A very quick post today to point out an interesting new paper in the journal BMJ Open. Written by Peter Katzmarzyk (Peter J and I took his epi course while at Queen’s University) and I-Min Lee, the paper estimates the impact of both sedentary behaviour (e.g. all sitting) and television viewing on the life expectancy of Americans.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2012
  • 10:00 AM
  • 572 views

Average Canadian kid gets about 8 (!?!) hours of screen time per day

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

That’s right – the average Canadian kid spends almost 8 full hours in front of a screen based device everyday. I hadn’t heard the stat before so I went to the reference paper, which can be accessed for free here.

The data comes from the Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS), which is a nationally representative survey of nearly 52 000 Canadians in grades 6-12 (when a survey is nationally representative, it means that the distribution of participants from various regions, ethn........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2012
  • 02:48 PM
  • 695 views

Sedentary behaviour – one definition to rule them all

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Exciting news – this week the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network published an updated definition of the terms “sedentary” and “sedentary behaviour” in French and English in the journals Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and Movement & Sport Sciences – Science & Motricité.

In brief, the new definition states that to be engaging in “sedentary behaviour”, you must meet three very basic criteria:

You must be expending very lit........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2012
  • 10:05 AM
  • 1,120 views

Canada’s fast food: the saltiest in the world?

by Peter Janiszewski, PhD in Obesity Panacea

Have you ever wondered how much salt is actually in those French fries from your favourite fast food outlet? New research published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that the answer to this question depends largely on your home address.... Read more »

Dunford, E., Webster, J., Woodward, M., Czernichow, S., Yuan, W., Jenner, K., Mhurchu, C., Jacobson, M., Campbell, N., & Neal, B. (2012) The variability of reported salt levels in fast foods across six countries: opportunities for salt reduction. Canadian Medical Association Journal. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.111895  

  • April 4, 2012
  • 02:58 PM
  • 781 views

Sitting for just a couple hours has measurable (and negative) health impact

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last week a fascinating study was published by SBRN member David Dunstan and colleagues in Australia, which examined the acute (e.g. short-term) impact of uninterrupted sitting on metabolic health. In this new study, individuals with overweight or obesity were asked to perform 3 separate conditions in random order.

Uninterrupted sitting – participants sat for 5 consecutive hours
Sitting plus light intensity breaks – similar to the uninterrupted sitting condition, except ........ Read more »

Dunstan, D., Kingwell, B., Larsen, R., Healy, G., Cerin, E., Hamilton, M., Shaw, J., Bertovic, D., Zimmet, P., Salmon, J.... (2012) Breaking Up Prolonged Sitting Reduces Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Responses. Diabetes Care. DOI: 10.2337/dc11-1931  

Nygaard, H., Tomten, S., & Høstmark, A. (2009) Slow postmeal walking reduces postprandial glycemia in middle-aged women. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 34(6), 1087-1092. DOI: 10.1139/H09-110  

  • March 27, 2012
  • 10:40 AM
  • 919 views

Canada Releases Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Kids Aged 0-4

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Until recently, only one set of physical activity guidelines was available for children under the age of 5 years (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2009). These guidelines were useful recommendations for parents and caregivers with advice on healthy living, but were informed largely on expert consensus and not by the rigor of a systematic review. Last year, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) were the first to release evidence-based guidelines and recommend that preschool........ Read more »

Tremblay MS, LeBlanc AG, Carson V, Choquette L, Connor Gorber S, Dillman C, Duggan M, Gordon MJ, Hicks A, Janssen I.... (2012) Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0–4 years). Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. info:/

  • January 19, 2012
  • 10:00 AM
  • 911 views

30 Years of Aging vs 3 Weeks of Bed Rest – Which is Worse For Aerobic Fitness?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

I recently came across a very interesting study published in Circulation in 2001. In it, authors Darren McGuire and colleagues perform the 30-year follow-up on a group of 5 men who had taken part in the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study (DBRTS). The DBRTS took place in 1966, when all 5 men were healthy 20 year-olds. They were assessed extensively at baseline, following 3 months of bed rest, and following 8 weeks of physical training. In 1996 these same 5 men were re-assessed, allowing the re........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2011
  • 11:55 AM
  • 4,293 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 5: Risk Factors I Missed

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Today we will look at other potential contributors to the pediatric obesity epidemic which I didn’t include in my paper. There are a few reasons for that – some risk factors are ones that I just felt didn’t have much evidence behind them, others were similar to ones that were included, and some just didn’t fit within the space constraints (since this paper was originally written for my comprehensive exams, it was limited to 15 pages).... Read more »

  • December 15, 2011
  • 09:43 AM
  • 4,284 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 4: Adult Obesity, and Relative Contributions of All Risk Factors

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In Part 1 we examined the impact of changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, in Part 2 we looked at changes in food intake, and in Part 3 we looked at sleep, breastfeeding, maternal age and pollution. Today we look at the evidence (or lack thereof) linking adult obesity with the pediatric obesity epidemic, then examine the relative contributions of all of the risk factors we’ve discussed so far.... Read more »

  • December 14, 2011
  • 09:00 AM
  • 7,423 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 3: Sleep, Maternal Age, Pollution & Breastfeeding

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In Part 1 we examined the impact of changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and in Part 2 we looked at changes in food intake. Today we look at the evidence (or lack thereof) linking sleep, pollution, maternal age and breastfeeding with the pediatric obesity epidemic.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2011
  • 10:00 AM
  • 652 views

Dear Newspapers: Individual Studies Do Not Exist In A Vacuum

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Just because one study finds a relationship between A and B, does not mean that other studies will be able to replicate that finding, or that it will extend to other situations. On the face of it, this seems like an incredibly obvious statement. And yet it’s something that newspapers often forget, and which I think could have some very negative consequences.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2011
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,044 views

World’s First Systematic Review On Sedentary Behaviour & Health in School-Aged Children

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Some exciting news this week - the world’s first systematic review on the relationship between sedentary behaviour and health in school-aged children has just been published online in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. I am one of 8 authors on the review (nestled nicely in the middle), which was created to inform the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, released earlier this year.... Read more »

Tremblay, M., LeBlanc, A., Kho, M., Saunders, T., Larouche, R., Colley, R., Goldfield, G., & Connor Gorber, S. (2011) Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8(1), 98. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-98  

  • August 3, 2011
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,421 views

Honey I shrunk the Kids! Daily variation in Height and Weight and it’s Implications for BMI Based Public Health Surveillance

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea

Image by mhowry
Travis’ Note: Today’s post comes from PhD Student Ash Routen.  You can find out more about Ash and his work at the bottom of this post.
Consistent with the majority of developed countries, a significant proportion of children here in the UK are overweight or obese (around 30% of 10-11 year olds as of 2010). How do we know this? Well, since 2005 the UK Department of Health have been operating the ‘National Child Measurement Programme’ (NCMP) a nationwide public he........ Read more »

  • July 12, 2011
  • 10:10 AM
  • 1,342 views

No Really – Sitting Is Killing You

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea


Earlier this year I posted an infographic on the health impact of sedentary behaviour which has generated plenty of discussion both here and elsewhere.  Many people are understandably skeptical about the relationship between sedentary behaviour and mortality, so I was excited about the recent publication of two recent systematic reviews focusing on just this issue.
The first, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by Karin Proper and colleagues, focused on the prospective a........ Read more »

Proper, K., Singh, A., van Mechelen, W., & Chinapaw, M. (2011) Sedentary Behaviors and Health Outcomes Among Adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(2), 174-182. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.015  

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