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Category: Obesity

Obesity: Genetics or Willpower – Dr. David Shafer

Most people believe that maintaining a healthy weight is just a matter of diet and exercise. But what if it’s not that simple? Is it possible that it may not be just a matter of willpower and self-control? UT Health Northeast diabetes expert Dr. David Shafer explores the ins and outs of this epic battle in the latest post to HealthConnection.TV.

Is being overweight just a matter of eating more calories than you body needs or are there other factors involved? (first question)

Do your genes or family history affect whether or not you are overweight or obese? What are the environmental factors that play a role in obesity? (skip to 1:44)

What is metabolism and is it accurate to say that some people have a “fast” metabolism and some have a “slow” one? (skip to 3:56)

Some scientists believe genetic disorders are the primary reason people are overweight. Others believe issues like the easy availability of high-fat foods and lack of exercise are responsible for the obesity epidemic. Who’s right? (skip to 4:59)

In reading articles about obesity and genetics, one frequently sees the term “twin studies.” What does that term mean? (skip to 6:13)

What is Leptin and why is it referred to as the obesity hormone?” (skip to 7:42)

What is the “hunger hormone?” (skip to 9:31)

Based on what we know now, what are the best tools to combat obesity? (skip to 12:02)

Why is losing weight such a struggle? (skip to 13:54)

What role do you think genetics will have on the future treatment of obesity? (skip to 15:35)

Childhood Obesity – Dr. Jonathan MacClements

As many as 40 percent of fourth grade children are now clinically defined as either overweight or obese. This is leading to an explosion of problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and other conditions that were once thought to be mainly adult health concerns. Dr. Jonathan MacClements discusses childhood obesity, including its treatment and prevention.

How much of a problem is childhood obesity? (first question)

Why is childhood obesity considered a health problem? (skip to 0:39)

How do I know if my child is considered obese? (skip to 1:00)

Can a child actually develop heart disease, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea as a result of being overweight? (skip to 1:45)

Can being overweight affect a child when he or she reaches puberty? (skip to 2:10)

What is the single most important thing to be done to reduce the likelihood of my child becoming obese? (skip to 2:32)

How can I involve my child in overcoming a weight problem without undermining self-confidence? (skip to 3:18)

Metabolic Syndrome – Dr. Patti Olusola

Take any three of elevated blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, high blood sugar or low “good” cholesterol and what you have is a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. With that diagnosis, you are at greater risk for heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. The U.T. Health Science Center’s Dr. Patti Olusola talks about diagnosing, treating and preventing metabolic syndrome.

What is metabolic syndrome? (first question)

What are the risk factors for metabolic syndrome? (skip to 1:20)

Why is having metabolic syndrome so alarming? (skip to 1:58)

Are there signs or symptoms to look for? (skip to 2:20)

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed? (skip to 3:11)

How is metabolic syndrome treated? (skip to 4:17)

Are children at risk for developing metabolic syndrome? (skip to 5:19)

Why is metabolic syndrome becoming more common? (skip to 5:47)

If you lose weight, what effect will it have on the risk factors for metabolic syndrome? (skip to 6:26)

Can metabolic syndrome be reversed? (skip to 7:23)

New FDA-approved Weight Loss Drugs – Gerald Brown, PA

For the first time in many years, the FDA has approved two new medications for use in promoting weight loss. Physician Assistant Gerald Brown from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler answers questions about these medications in this post to HealthConnection.TV.

The FDA has approved the release of two new diet drugs. What are they and how do the work? (first question)

Who will be approved to take these new drugs? (skip to 1:33)

Who should not take them? (skip to 1:55)

Are these new medications safe? (skip to 2:25)

The FDA has not approved new diet drugs in over a decade. Why were these medications approved? (skip to 3:27)

Among the problems with prior weight loss medications was that of rebound weight gain. Will that be a problem with these new medications as well? (skip to 5:20)

When will these new medications be available in pharmacies? (skip to 6:11)

If someone is considering asking his or her provider to prescribe either of these new drugs, what should be considered first? (skip to 7:09)


Triglycerides – Gerald Brown, P.A.

If you eat too much, particularly if you eat a lot of starchy fatty foods, chances are your triglycerides will become elevated, putting you at risk for a host of health problems. On the other hand, triglycerides are an essential blood fat, made by your liver to provide instant energy when it’s needed. U.T. Health Science Center Physician Assistant Gerry Brown talks about triglycerides — the good and the bad — in this post to HealthConnection.TV.

What are triglycerides? (first question)

What is the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol? (skip to 0:32)

What purpose do triglycerides serve — are they important to good health? (skip to 1:00)

How do you measure triglycerides? (skip to 1:21)

What things can cause triglyceride levels to be too high? (skip to 1:43)

Can you have high triglycerides without having high cholesterol or do they always go hand-in-hand? (skip to 2:26)

There’s a debate in the medical community regarding high triglycerides — are they a risk factor in and of themselves or only when combined with other disease markers such as high cholesterol? (skip to 2:45)

What is the medical treatment for high triglycerides? (skip to 3:28)

Are supplements such as Omega-3 fish oil effective in treating high triglycerides? (skip to 4:04)

Are there lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce high triglycerides? (skip to 4:40)



Choose My Plate Dietary Guidelines – Erin Langewisch, RD

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently retired the long-standing “food pyramid”dietary guideline in favor of the new “Choose My Plate” program. University of Texas Health Science Center Registered Dietician Erin Langewisch joins us to discuss the new Choose My Plate program on this post to HealthConnection.TV.

What is the new Choose My Plate program about? (first question)

Why was the Choose My Plate program developed? (skip to 0:49)

What are the most significant differences between the old food pyramid concept and the Choose My Plate program? (skip to 1:26)

The Choose My Plate program is built on three concepts; balancing calories, foods to increase and foods to decrease. What do these three concepts mean? (skip to 2:30)

Now that the Choose My Plate concept has been out for a few weeks, it is drawing criticism. Among those criticisms are the belief that Choose My Plate is over-simplified, that it excludes healthy fats, that it visually implies drinking only one glass of milk and that it doesn’t differentiate between healthy proteins and those that should be avoided. From the perspective of a Registered Dietician, what is your opinion of the Choose My Plate program? (skip to 4:32)

We are bombarded with ads and infomercials and websites from so-called “experts” on nutrition telling us how we should be eating. How do we know to whom we should listen? (skip to 5:54)

Are there easy-to-understand and easily obtained resources on nutrition that you can recommend? (skip to 6:40)

In your opinion, if Americans followed the guidelines set forth in the Choose My Plate program, what impact would doing so have on our use of the health care system? (skip to 7:15)