The World is Fat

Center for Obesity, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.
Scientific American (Impact Factor: 1.07). 10/2007; 297(3):88-95. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0907-88
Source: PubMed


More people in the developing world are now overweight than hungry. How can the poorest countries fight obesity?

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    • "In the so-called obesogenic food environment, calorie-dense unhealthy foods are cheap and easily accessible, and many people find it difficult to resist these tempting foods (e.g. Popkin, 2007; Rosenheck, 2008). Healthy food products such as fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, are consumed far too infrequently (Huang et al., 2003; Rolls, Ello-Martin, & Tohill, 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The current studies aim to show that descriptive social norms influence vegetable intake and to investigate three potentially underlying processes (self-identification, attitude, and self-efficacy). Methods: In two studies, descriptive social norms regarding vegetable intake were manipulated (majority vs. minority norm). Study 1 investigated both the relation between baseline vegetable intake and self-identification, attitude, and self-efficacy, as well as the effect of the norm manipulation on vegetable intake over a one-week period. Study 2 investigated potential mediation of the effect of the manipulation on vegetable intake intentions through self-identification, attitude, and self-efficacy. Results: Study 1 showed that the proposed mediators were related to a baseline measure of vegetable intake. Moreover, in participants identifying strongly with the norm referent group, majority norms led to higher vegetable consumption than minority norms. Study 2 showed that the direct effect of the social norm manipulation on vegetable intake intentions was partly mediated by self-identification, attitude, and self-efficacy. Conclusions: These studies shed first light on processes underlying the effect of descriptive social norms on health behavior. A norm describing the behavior of a salient social group leads people to identify more with, have more positive attitudes toward, and feel more self-efficacious regarding that behavior.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Applied Psychology Health and Well-Being
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    • "During the last few decades, sedentary lifestyles and transient changes in consumption patterns, including a sharp increase in fat consumption from vegetable oils and animal-based food sources, have led to drastic increases in the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in many developed and developing countries [1]. The importance of fat consumption in the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease has also been shown [2,3], but differences in weight gain and predisposition to cardiovascular disease in some populations suggest that dietary fat composition plays an important role in determining the development of these chronic diseases [4,5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been hypothesized that fatty acids derived from a diet high in saturated fat may negatively affect endothelial function more significantly than a diet high in unsaturated fat; nevertheless, the effects of the long-term ingestion of monounsaturated fatty acids on endothelial function have been poorly studied. To examine the chronic effects of monounsaturated (e.g., extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)) or saturated (e.g., margarine (M)) fatty acid-rich diets on the development of insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction in rats, three groups of rats were fed control, high-EVOO or high-M diets for 20 weeks. Body weight, energy consumption, insulin resistance, lipid peroxidation and in vitro vascular reactivity with and without metformin were assessed during the study period. Both high-fat diets produced obesity and insulin resistance. EVOO-fed rats showed smaller increases in total cholesterol and arterial lipid peroxidation when compared with M-fed rats. Vascular reactivity to phenylephrine and sodium nitroprusside was not modified, but the vasodilating effect of carbachol was especially reduced in the M-fed rats compared with the EVOO-fed or control groups. Metformin addition to the incubation media decreased the vascular response to phenylephrine; decrease that was lower in rats fed with both high fat diets, and increased the carbachol and nitroprusside effects, but the metformin-enhanced response to carbachol was lower in the M group. Our results suggest that feeding rats with high quantities of EVOO, despite producing obesity and insulin resistance, produces low levels of circulating cholesterol and arterial lipoperoxidation compared to M fed rats and shows a preserved endothelial response to carbachol, effect that is significantly enhanced by metformin only in rats fed with control and EVOO diets.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome
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    • "One in-depth study of health and nutrition found that populations living before the industrial revolution were shorter and lighter than today's population and chronic diseases were rare compared to the twentieth century (World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research 2007). Adequate nutrition is important for good health, but nutritional scientists were often misguided in promoting animal protein and processed food during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Popkin 2009:29). One comprehensive review of the scientific literature concluded that a global shift toward urban living and industrialization resulted in greater height and weight and paralleled the increase in chronic diseases (World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationship between individual height and survival at older ages among conscripts born between 1866 and 1915 in an inland village of Sardinia, Italy. Individual age at death was related to military height measurement at age 20. Differential longevity of conscripts at older ages was investigated through the comparison of age-specific mortality rates and life expectancy estimates. Results indicated that short conscripts (<161.1 cm) generally had higher survival rates than their tall peers (≥ 161.1 cm). At 70 years of age, tall peers were expected to live two years less than short conscripts. Biological mechanisms were examined in relation to the greater longevity of shorter people.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Biodemography and Social Biology
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