Obesity Panacea

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

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  • September 8, 2010
  • 06:03 AM
  • 1,359 views

Is Jesus making you overeat?

by Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D. in Obesity Panacea


Well, in fairness, Jesus’ twelve Apostles should also share in the blame.
An incredibly quirky and yet fascinating study was published in the International Journal of Obesity which investigated the size of the food and plates that have been depicted in paintings of Jesus’ Last Supper over the last 1000 years.
The trend of gradually increasing portion sizes is well documented; just go to your local McDonalds and order a large drink and fries and drive yourself directly to the nearby ........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2010
  • 01:07 PM
  • 1,200 views

Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks?

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea

Regular readers of Obesity Panacea will know that I am a huge fan of active transportation, which entails commuting via active means (e.g. walking, cycling, or taking public transit rather than driving). But when I talk with my friends about the many health and societal benefits of active commuting by bicycle, they almost always bring up the fact that they value their lives too much to risk cycling on busy city streets. This is obviously not a trivial concern – here in Ottawa there were thre........ Read more »

Johan de Hartog J, Boogaard H, Nijland H, & Hoek G. (2010) Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks?. Environmental health perspectives, 118(8), 1109-16. PMID: 20587380  

  • September 6, 2010
  • 11:02 AM
  • 1,621 views

Nintendo Wii – Is It Really Physical Activity?

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea




http://www.flickr.com/photos/abbynormy/ / CC BY 2.0

Earlier this year, Peter wrote a post about Wii-related injuries which generated some interesting discussion.  Essentially, some readers felt that we were being too hard on the Wii, with one commenter going so far as to suggest that the post was “anti-Wii” (hard to dispute, given that the post was focused on Wii-related injuries!).  Although we’ve mentioned the Wii in passing on Obesity Panacea before, we’ve never ........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 1,886 views

What Hurts Fitness More: 30 Years of Aging or 3 Weeks of Bed Rest?

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP 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 3 different time points: baseline, following 3 months of bed rest, and following 8 weeks of physical training. In 1996 these same 5 men were as........ Read more »

  • August 4, 2010
  • 08:59 AM
  • 504 views

Fitness of Canadian Adults, 2007-2009

by travis@obesitypanacea.com (Travis Saunders) in Obesity Panacea

This week I am attending the Canadian Obesity Network Student Bootcamp.  I know that sounds like some sort of training program, but it's actually a full week of obesity related education with some of Canada's top obesity researchers in a small town outside of Quebec City.  Many of my friends and colleagues (Peter included) have attended the bootcamp in the past, and all have told me that its one of their best grad school experiences.  Everyday there are lectures from obesity exper........ Read more »

Shields, M, Tremblay, MS, Laviolette, M, Craig, CL, Janssen, I, & Connor Gorber, S. (2010) Fitness of Canadian adults: Results from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21(1), 1-15. info:/

  • June 25, 2010
  • 11:23 AM
  • 1,660 views

Grow More Fat and Improve Metabolic Health: Insights from TZD Treatmen

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea


By now, readers of Obesity Panacea have hopefully learned that excess weight is not directly predictive of health risk, and that excess fat mass is not in itself unhealthy. Recall that approximately 30% of individuals who are classified as obese by their body weight turn out to be metabolically healthy, and in fact seem not to get much metabolic benefit (or may even get worse) when they lose weight. Also consider that individuals who have NO fat tissue (e.g. lipodystrophy) have extremely elevat........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2010
  • 12:20 PM
  • 1,540 views

Are High Glycemic Index Carbs Worse Than Saturated Fat?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Most people know that consuming too much fat, and especially saturated fat, is bad for your health. That's why there has been a concerted push for several decades to get people to reduce the amount of saturated fat that they consume, and to replace it with complex carbohydrates. Now unfortunately people often misinterpret that to mean that fat is evil, but carbs are ok. This is problematic since consuming too many simple carbs is also likely to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and ........ Read more »

  • June 14, 2010
  • 11:15 AM
  • 1,385 views

Self-report vs direct measures - new podcast!

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Regular readers know that that Peter and I do a semi-regular podcast on obesity-related issues. This week, I have a discussion with psychology researcher (and fellow ScienceBlogger) Jason Goldman. For the uninitiated, self-report data refers to information that people provide themselves - questionnaires and interviews are very common examples. This is in contrast to direct measurement, which is exactly what it sounds like - researchers measuring your height and weight themselves, etc. The po........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2010
  • 11:45 AM
  • 1,763 views

Increased Physical Activity Prevents the Accumulation of Abdominal Fat

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

One of the most interesting things about exercise is that it results in important health improvements even in the absence of weight loss. For example, just a single session of exercise can result in improved insulin sensitivity, increased levels of HDL cholesterol (aka the "good" cholesterol) and reductions in plasma triglyceride levels - all tremendously important markers of disease risk. In addition to these metabolic changes, new research by our friend and former labmate Lance Dav........ Read more »

Davidson, LE, Tucker, L, & Peterson, T. (2010) Physical Activity Changes Predict Abdominal Fat Change in Midlife Women. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. info:/

  • June 2, 2010
  • 11:41 AM
  • 1,393 views

New Publication: Big Breasts, An Indicator of Dangerous Fat Deposition?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea


In June of last year, I discussed the results of a large epidemiological study in women that showed that women with larger breasts have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

As soon as Travis and I read this study, we knew we had to do a follow-up study of our own to see if this finding was simply spurious or if there was actually something to large breasts that indicated health risk - beyond that explained by obesity per se.

The project that Travis and I began over a year ago has ........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2010
  • 11:32 AM
  • 1,725 views

Canadian Health Authorities Release New Physical Activity Recommendations

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last week ParticipACTION and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) released recommendations for updated Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. The previous guidelines were released between 1998 and 2002, and although they were based on the best research available at the time, from what I understand there simply wasn't a tremendous amount of evidence to draw on in some situations. Since then there have been a number of advances in physical activity research, allowing for the........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2010
  • 12:56 PM
  • 1,303 views

How much salt is in your fast food order?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea


Way too much, according to a recent study by Johnson and colleagues, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Personally, I love salty foods. While I have never been too fond of sweet things (chocolate, candy, etc.), just a few years ago I could have easily gone through a bag of chips or pretzels in one sitting. Just writing about that crunchy/salty goodness makes my mouth water.

However, since hypertension runs in my family, I have recently made a concerted effort to limit my sodium........ Read more »

Johnson CM, Angell SY, Lederer A, Dumanovsky T, Huang C, Bassett MT, & Silver LD. (2010) Sodium content of lunchtime fast food purchases at major US chains. Archives of internal medicine, 170(8), 732-4. PMID: 20421561  

  • May 3, 2010
  • 02:10 PM
  • 1,477 views

Obesity Panacea blogcast: The health effect of losing butt fat during weight loss

by Peter Janiszewski, PhD in Obesity Panacea

Rather than yet again writing about lower body fat and why losing it during weight loss may or may not be bad for your health, Travis and I decided to try our hand at the first of what we hope to be many Obesity Panacea Blogcasts. In essense, this blogcast is simply Travis and I talking over Skype about this area of research and specifically about my recently published paper.... Read more »

  • April 12, 2010
  • 04:44 PM
  • 1,384 views

Excess Weight Predicts Younger Age at Hip and Knee Replacement

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea



Given that I have put myself out of commission due to a musculoskeletal injury I acquired over the weekend, I thought a discussion of joint injuries and such would be most appropriate in my Robaxocet induced state.Just last week Travis discussed the issue of injuries associated with exercise among obese individuals. In that post, based on recent evidence, Travis concluded:"...in overweight and obese individuals, exercise (in the form of walking) has little or no association with injury or illn........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2010
  • 12:38 PM
  • 1,379 views

Staircase Signs - Easiest Physical Activity Intervention. Ever.

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea




 Image by Randy Son of Robert.

I love simple physical activity interventions.  We all know that physical activity is a good thing, and yet it can be really difficult for people to increase their physical activity levels, especially over the long-term.  So it's exciting whenever any intervention is shown to be effective, but even more so when it is simple.  And an intervention that is both simple and inexpensive is pure gold.  I wrote about one such intervention a few........ Read more »

Megan E. Grimstvedt, Jacqueline Kerr, Sara B. Oswal, Donovan L. Fogt, Tiffanye M. Vargas-Tonsing, & Zenong Yin. (2010) Using Signage to Promote Stair Use on a University Campus in Hidden and Visible Stairwells. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 232-238. info:/

  • April 7, 2010
  • 12:31 AM
  • 1,527 views

Exercise is *NOT* Associated With Injury Risk in Overweight Individuals

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea




 Image by Jespahjoy.

Just before moving to our new home here on Scienceblogs, I asked our readers for ideas on what types of content they would like to see here on Obesity Panacea.  One topic that came up several times was the issue of injuries.  I'm not sure why we haven't discussed injuries in the past (aside from the fact that it's not the focus of our research), but it was a great idea, and I've come across a study on the topic that I think will be of real interest. 
........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2010
  • 11:25 AM
  • 1,547 views

Junk Food Tax or Health Food Subsidy - Which Results in Healthier Food Purchases?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In the past few years several prominent researchers have argued for the adoption of taxes on junk food as a means of reducing their consumption. Often, as in a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, the argument is made that money collected through the tax could then be used to subsidize healthier foods. This is an idea that I've found very appealing - we make the bad foods more expensive, the good foods less expensive, and people will probably shift at least some of their p........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2010
  • 11:50 AM
  • 1,795 views

Are Probiotics the Cure for Abdominal Obesity?

by Peter Janiszewski, PhD in Obesity Panacea

Nope, not even close, although I doubt it will stop big food from marketing Activia yogurt and others as a solution for expanded waistlines.... Read more »

  • March 26, 2010
  • 11:55 AM
  • 1,698 views

Is Jesus Making You Overeat?

by Peter Janiszewski, PhD in Obesity Panacea

Well, in fairness, Jesus' twelve Apostles should also share in the blame.

An incredibly quirky and yet fascinating study was just published in the International Journal of Obesity which investigated the size of the food and plates that have been depicted in paintings of Jesus' Last Supper over the last 1000 years.
... Read more »

  • March 24, 2010
  • 11:31 AM
  • 1,634 views

Physical Activity Reduces the Risk fo Childhood Fat Gain

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Over the next few months, Peter and I will be re-posting some of our favourite posts from our Obesity Panacea archives.  The following article was originally posted on December 2, 2009.



Image by Mike Baird.



There is a surprising amount of controversy about the ability of physical activity to prevent the development of obesity. Sure, obese individuals tend to perform less physical activity than their lean counterparts, but that doesn't prove causation. And almost every week it seems th........ Read more »

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