As the obesity epidemic spreads, literally, more and more kids are developing diseases previously reserved for older adults. Type 2 diabetes is one of those, and a study released today bemoaned the fact that apparently the drug of choice – metformin – doesn’t work very well in kids. Metformin is an oral medication that can help control blood sugar. When oral medications fail to control the problem, insulin injections may be necessary, which is a rather drastic next step for such young people. It hints at a life of increasingly severe illness and disability, along with a shorter life expectancy. The study’s lead author suggested it would be better if these kids didn’t get diabetes in the first place, which would mean not being obese, which would mean drastic diet and lifestyle makeovers. And unfortunately most families can’t be bothered to make the serious changes necessary for that.
Meanwhile another study claims that kids who are most familiar with TV ads for fast food restaurants are more likely to be obese. I supposed the simplistic conclusion is that the ads must drive the kids to rush out and eat big portions of food. But the real reason is likely this: kids who spend so much time sitting in front of TV that they’re familiar with fast food ads are spending too much time sitting. And the sitting lifestyle causes obesity.
Another report today claims that obesity adds $190 billion in health care costs every year. Frankly I think this is a gross underestimate, when you consider that most of the significant health care issues that affect the majority of people are due to obesity, from all the major chronic diseases to common heart burn to deteriorating hips and knees to increased risk for skin infections and increased risk for cancers and dementia. Without obesity, medical costs would be limited to genetic or congenital diseases, accidental injuries, less common cancers and the effects of old age. Imagine.
Speaking of weight loss, Dr. Oz has recently been proclaiming the wonders of something called raspberry ketones, which supposedly promote that pie-in-the-sky effortless fat burning. Something called 7-keto DHEA is also being touted this way. I’ve searched on the Pub Med website, which includes references to all published scientific studies. Nothing came up for either “raspberry ketones and weight loss”, or “7-DHEA ketones and weight loss”, as you can see from my screen shot above. But if you want to truly believe in these substances, there are supplement companies eager for your business. The true test will be if the obesity epidemic suddenly comes to a screeching halt in the next few months, and by Christmas everyone is normal weight, thanks to taking magical fat burning ketones. In fact, there’s some very good research showing that placebos actually work quite well in some situations, so why not with miracle weight loss supplements. If you truly believe you’re going to lose weight, maybe you will just because you believe. Not because the ketones or whatever had any actual calorie burning effect. You can’t argue with success, even if you can’t explain it. We’ll know by Christmas.