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Obesity: Too Late to Lose Weight?

Posted Oct 25 2012 12:00am
Guest Post by David Cooper

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation may indicate that weight loss following obesity is near impossible. Obesity could "reset" normal body weight to a permanently higher level. If these findings are correct, losing weight following obesity may be harder than previously believed - emphasizing the importance on early intervention.

The two primary causes of obesity are physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet. Although exercise and eating well can prevent obesity, it remains and epidemic in the United States is an epidemic. The population of Americans who are severely obese continues to rise and is a leading cause of heart conditions, diabetes, cancer, and death.

The study examined obesity and weight loss in mice at different weight stages. The researchers were able to develop mice that were programmed to become obese by manipulating the gene that controls hunger. The gene was turned off and on at different times.
The researchers found that the amount of time a mouse was overweight was positively correlated with the difficulty of weight loss. Mice that were overfed, even in the earliest stages of obesity, were not able to return to a healthy weight after the hunger gene was turned off, even though they ate less food and were more active.

The condition of obesity became nearly irreversible the longer the mice were overweight. On the other hand, mice that were able to maintain a healthy weight into young adulthood through dieting were able to maintain a normal weight without dieting even after the hunger gene was turned off.
The shocking findings indicate that obesity may be an irreversible disorder. According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity in children has over tripled in the past thirty years. Early intervention, especially for children, is critical for obesity prevention and weight loss. Routing exercise and a balanced diet may prevent this lasting, adverse health condition.
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