Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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Weight Management ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 60 MAY 2018 The search for effective weight- management ingredients continues. BY KIMBERLY J. DECKER I t didn't take long for the headlines to sur- face after JAMA published the latest data on American obesity rates this March. "American Adults Just Keep Getting Fatter," cried The New York Times. "Public Educa- tion Ef orts Not Moving the Needle in Fight against Obesity," was Kaiser Health News' takeaway. Even the food blog Grubstreet con- ceded, "America's Obesity Epidemic Is Only Getting Worse." T e responses set a dismal tone—and for good reason. T e data 1 to which they respond, taken from the 2007-2008 and 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Ex- amination Surveys (NHANES), paint a pic- ture of a nation wherein 33.7% of adults are obese (def ned as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or more) and 5.7% are severely obese (having a BMI of 40 or more)—and they ref ect an upward obesity trend that's been in evidence for decades. All this comes despite ongoing ef orts to educate Americans about the risks of—and remedies to—obesity. And it also comes de- spite the earnest claims of those same Amer- icans that they're exercising more. So, clearly: Something isn't working. Yet it's time we f nd something that does. Whatever that "something" is, it'll likely comprise dietary changes, more exercise and education, and possibly nutritional supplementation to address weight man- agement. After all, as Joe Weiss, president, Nutrition 21 LLC (Purchase, NY), points out, "T e problem surrounding obesity is only getting worse, which leads me to believe there will continue to be demand around products addressing or reducing the nega- tive impacts of this condition." Cracking the Code We've been down this road before, and per- haps we keep winding up here because al- though solving overweight and obesity may be simple in concept—eat less; exercise more—it's much harder in fact. As Mark Cope, PhD, applied nutrition manager, Du- Pont Nutrition & Health (Madison, WI), says, "We all know that weight management re- quires lifestyle changes, but it's these changes in diet and exercise habits that make weight management so challenging." Add to that the inexorable inf uence of genetics—and an environment apparently designed to encourage obesity—and it's un- derstandable why taking weight of and keep- ing it of is a tough code to crack. Says Mitch Skop, former senior director of new product development, Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., a division of Ashland (Kearny, NJ), "Emotion- ally charged mindsets often cause binge or stress eating," and though manufacturers are making healthful choices available, "junk-food manufacturers are doing the same thing," al- beit in the equal and opposite direction. Weighty Consequences T e consequences of this "toxic food environ- ment" extend well beyond one's waistline. "Obesity is associated with higher death rates driven by comorbidities such as type 2 diabe- tes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, steato- hepatitis, gastroesophageal ref ux, arthritis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and infertility 2 ," Cope says. "Another important point to make about obesity is reduced quality of life, even among obese individuals without associated comorbidities 3 ." And don't forget to account for obesity's economic toll. Cope points to data 4 show- ing that the public health burden of excess weight costs the U.S. healthcare system more than $200 billion annually. Moreover, a Johns Hopkins University study 5 concluded that obese individuals who lower their BMI to what's considered a healthy range could save $28,000 over a lifetime. Shame on Sugar Supplementary interventions that help keep weight in that healthy range also have the potential to ameliorate obesity's costs. SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ GOTTI WEIGHT FOR IT

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