The well-intentioned “Time to lose weight” recommendation from doctors to their overweight patients may actually end up doing more harm than good. Of the 30% of Americans that are now considered clinically obese, physicians are facing a growing dilemma of how to treat medical problems without using their weight as a blanket explanation. Pain in your chest? Get to the gym. Agonizing back pain? Cut the calories. Research shows that this type of thinking results in physicians spending less time with overweight patients, and even forgoing recommendations for potentially life-saving diagnostics tests. It’s no surprise that this can lead to pretty awful health outcomes that could be preventable at any size. So in the words of a nondescript wise man, “Assumptions. Can we like, not?”
Children born via cesarean delivery miss out on exposure to important microbes present in the mother that help to establish the baby’s gastrointestinal microbiota. As a result, these babies exhibited a less diverse species in microbiota colonization, which is associated with an increased risk of being overweight or obese. Just how great is the risk? A recent study found children who take the express lane are 64% more likely to become obese when compared to a sibling who takes the business route. This isn’t the only known drawback to bypassing the birth canal—underdeveloped immune systems as well as an increased risk of allergies, asthma, celiac disease and type one diabetes are all tied to cesarean deliveries. Time to re-think Lamaze.
Do I really need that brownie? This age-old question possibly just became easier to answer for some. The FDA has approved a new weight-loss device for obese patients. AspireAssist is a surgically-placed tube that drains stomach contents into the toilet (~30% of calories consumed at the prior meal). A clinical trial followed two groups of patients over a one-year period. All patients received nutrition and exercise advice but only one group of patients used the device. AspireAssist users lost an average of 12.1% of their bodyweight while the control group reduced bodyweight by 3.6%. Social media commentary has been mixed with some likening the device to bulimia. Time will reveal patient and physician receptivity to AspireAssist. We’ll leave it to the waistlines to judge its effectiveness.