The State of Obesity 2021

Oklahoma tied for 9th

Nationally, 16 states now have adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent.  Reaching the 35 percent or higher level this year were Delaware, Iowa, Ohio, and Texas. The twelve states that continue to have adult rates above 35 percent are: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  (See rates chart for data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia).

State of Obesity 2021: Better Policies for a Healthier America — https://www.tfah.org/report-details/state-of-obesity-2021/

In 2012, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent.

In 2000, no state had an adult obesity rate above 25 percent.

The full report can be downloaded from the link above. My post on the 2020 report is here: The State of Obesity 2020

As a former 370 pound human my experience and knowledge can help those struggling with their weight.

Meanwhile work continues on my Future Best Seller.

New Weight Loss Treatment Is Marked by Heavy Marketing and Modest Results – Kaiser Health News

By Julie Appleby June 22, 2022

First came the “edible billboard,” which appeared last year during the holidays in New York’s East Village loaded with cake treats. Then, in late January, came the national marketing campaign, with TV and digital media promoting the idea that trying to lose weight doesn’t mean a person can’t enjoy eating.

Those advertising messages are pushing a product named Plenity as a potential liberation from dieters’ woes. It’s a $98-a-month weight loss treatment that looks like a drug: Patients take three capsules twice a day. But it isn’t a drug. And its success in racking up lost pounds, on average, is modest.

Plenity is FDA-approved as a device, one that contains sugar-sized grains of a plant-based, absorbent hydrogel. Each grain swells to 100 times its size, cumulatively filling about a quarter of a person’s stomach. The three capsules containing them must be taken with two cups of water at least 20 minutes before eating. The gel is not absorbed and eventually exits the body in stool.

The treatment is also generally not covered by insurance.

“We thought we would price it low enough that most consumers can pay out-of-pocket,” said Dr. Harry Leider, chief medical officer and executive vice president of Gelesis, the maker of Plenity.

Although far less costly than some other prescription weight loss treatments, it still “isn’t affordable for someone in the low-income bracket,” said Jena Shaw Tronieri, an assistant professor and director of clinical services at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.

Plenity is designed to help patients who want to eat less, and taking it is comparable to consuming a big salad before lunch and dinner, without the actual raw vegetables.

It joins a growing selection of prescription weight loss and obesity treatments, from old-school oral medications that are often low-cost generics to far pricier brand-name injectable diabetes drugs newly repurposed as weight loss treatments. Results varied widely among trial participants; 59% of those who got Plenity lost at least 5% of their body weight, although the rest did not meet that threshold.

Plenity, whose active ingredient is a form of cellulose, embraces a strategy that has been used for decades by some people: to feel full before eating a main meal, thus reducing the calories they take in. Studies have shown that “if you fill up on broth-based soup or vegetables before a meal, you will feel fuller and eat less,” said Tronieri. She noted that filling up with water doesn’t produce the same satiating effect.

Still, some patients say that they “hate vegetables” and that “capsules are a lot easier,” said Dr. Christina Nguyen, medical director of obesity medicine at Northeast Georgia Health System. She is not affiliated with Gelesis but has been prescribing Plenity since its soft launch in late 2020.

So far, Gelesis credits the marketing campaign with helping it pick up 40,000 new customers in the first three months of the year, adding $7.5 million in revenue, although the company still lost money in the first quarter.

So where does this latest treatment fit as a potential weight loss tool for the more than 70% of American adults who are overweight or obese?

“I’m glad to see it on the market, but I tend to want more weight loss in patients than what I’m looking at with this device,” said W. Timothy Garvey, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of the university’s Diabetes Research Center.

Gelesis reported that participants in its clinical trial who used Plenity lost on average 6.4% of body weight — above the 5% that many physicians say is a good target threshold. For a 200-pound person, that would equal almost 13 pounds. Still, that’s only a bit better than the 4.4% weight loss, on average, that people given a placeboin the six-month trial experienced. All 436 participants were put on diets that averaged 300 calories a day less than they needed to maintain their weight.

Nguyen said she tells her patients they must change their eating and exercise habits or Plenity won’t work. “You have to be realistic and set expectations,” she said. “What I’ve seen with Plenity is weight loss of about 5%.”

She noted it has relatively few side effects — mainly gastrointestinal, such as bloating, nausea, constipation, or flatulence — and the FDA has approved it for use in people with lower body mass index numbers than required for many other prescription products.

Plenity’s average weight loss is comparable to or below that of some other oral medications and is far less than that of the much more expensive new additions to the market such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, a once-a-week injection that costs $1,300 a month. Wegovy helped patients lose nearly 15% of their body weight over 17 months, on average, according to clinical trials. In April, Eli Lilly said an injectable drug it is testing helped patients achieve an average weight loss of 22.5%. More details were released June 4.

“We don’t see Wegovy as a competitor,” said Leider, of Gelesis.

Nor does Leider view the weight loss products available without a prescription as competitors.

Leider said Gelesis sought FDA prescription approval for the treatment, rather than over-the-counter status, because “there’s a whole wall of nutritional supplements and products” and “we felt it was absolutely important to do the study and prove it scientifically works.” Down the road, “once we’ve built the brand,” Gelesis could seek over-the-counter status, he added.

As with other treatments, weight loss with Plenity can vary widely, he noted. Study data shows 27% of those given the treatment were considered “super responders,” losing an average of 14% of their weight. Patients with diabetes or prediabetes may respond better than those with normal blood sugar levels.

Still, it didn’t work for 40% of participants in the trial.

“If you take it for two months and you’re not losing weight, it may not be the therapy for you,” Leider said.

Patients can request Plenity from their physicians. In a move aimed at setting it apart from other treatments, Gelesis offers potential patients another choice: skipping an in-office visit entirely by requesting the treatment online. It has partnered with Ro, a direct-to-patient platform, which provides its network of affiliated physicians for online health assessments and delivers the treatment to eligible customers. Ro is also alarge purchaser of Plenity, placing a $30 million prepaid order in late 2021.

Ro, originally named Roman, launched in 2017 and initially focused on men’s health concerns, including erectile dysfunction and hair loss. It has since expanded to cover other conditions.

Online visits with physicians through Ro are free, including those for weight loss. Patients must answer questions about their health and experiences trying to lose weight.Pregnant patients, people younger than 22, and those allergic to Plenity’s ingredients should not take it.

Information provided to Ro is not protected under the federal privacy law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, but CEO Zachariah Reitano said all data is stored in “HIPAA-compliant” ways.

Ro added Plenity to its offerings because of the clinical trial results and because it saw a business opportunity with weight loss. Help for “challenges with weight management” was one of the top items his customers requested, Reitano said.

Even though it’s not covered by his insurance plan, patient Rene Morales said the $98 a month he spends is worth it. “If I spend that [much] on coffee, I can spend it to benefit my health,” said the 51-year-old, who is president of a skateboard company in Montclair, California, and was made available for an interview by Gelesis.

He started taking Plenity in late January after his doctor brought it up during his annual physical. Morales said he has lost 15 pounds from his original weight of nearly 280 pounds and wants to stay on the treatment until he has dropped 30.

Morales said the treatment is also helping him reshape his view of food and focus on smaller portions: “I’ve come to [the] realization that you don’t have to pile your plate up to enjoy your food.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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This story can be republished for free (details).KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation. <h1>New Weight Loss Treatment Is Marked by Heavy Marketing and Modest Results

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Childhood Obesity Impacts Midlife Cognition

A new study of the impact of childhood fitness and obesity on cognition in middle age, followed over 1200 people who were children in 1985 for over 30 years, has found that better performance on physical tests is related to better cognition later in life and may protect against dementia in later years.

Monash University. “30-year study links childhood obesity and fitness to midlife cognition.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220616121556.htm (accessed June 17, 2022)

We’re doomed.

Stay as Thin as You Can as Long as You Can

Based on the evidence from clinical trials weight loss (typically 15 kg or greater) is the main driver and predictor of remission.

Dietary strategies for remission of type 2 diabetes: A narrative review — https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12938

A weight loss program can lead to type 2 diabetes remission, even in individuals with a normal body mass index (BMI), via loss of body fat, particularly in the liver and pancreas, shows a UK study.

Type 2 Diabetes Remission Possible For Those With Lower BMI — https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971599?src=rss#vp_1

The title of this post is a direct quote from an Endocrinologist who at the time was practicing in Dallas Texas. I asked if he had any advice for me to reduce my risk of developing diabetes.

“Stay as thin as you can as long as you can.”

These words have stuck with me ever since.

Diet-induced Alteration of Intestinal Stem Cell Function (in mice)

“The first thing we noticed was that the small intestine increases greatly in size on the high-calorie diet,” says study leader Anika Böttcher. “Together with Fabian Theis’ team of computational biologists at Helmholtz Munich, we then profiled 27,000 intestinal cells from control diet and high fat/high sugar diet-fed mice. Using new machine learning techniques, we thus found that intestinal stem cells divide and differentiate significantly faster in the mice on an unhealthy diet.” The researchers hypothesize that this is due to an upregulation of the relevant signaling pathways, which is associated with an acceleration of tumor growth in many cancers. “This could be an important link: Diet influences metabolic signaling, which leads to excessive growth of intestinal stem cells and ultimately to an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer,” says Böttcher.

Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health. “New link between diet, intestinal stem cells and disease discovered.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211119155604.htm (accessed November 27, 2021).

I wonder what Dr. Lustig would say about this study?

Dr. Robert Lustig – The Sugar Pandemic – 2012 Presentation at Yale University and Dr. Robert Lustig on Sugar.

You Want Fries With That?

Yes I would like fries with my double bacon cheeseburger.

The findings are from an analysis of 8015 emerging adults aged 18-25 in the cross-sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), including NHANES II (1976-1980), NHANES III (1988-1994), and the continuous NHANES cycles from 1999 through 2018. The prevalence of obesity (BMI 30.0 kg/m2 or higher) in the emerging adult age group soared from 6.2% between 1976-1980 to 32.7% in 2017-2018 (P = .007).

Obesity Rates Soar in Early Adulthood in the US – Medscape – Nov 23, 2021. — https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963511?src=rss#vp_1

Original article – JAMA. Published online November 23, 2021. Abstract

I really need to finish writing my Future Best Seller.

Metabolic Adaptation in Obesity

Awareness of Metabolic Adaptation

When patients lose weight, the body desires to regain it via metabolic adaptation that decreases energy use, enhances metabolic efficiency, and prompts increased energy intake. With metabolic adaptation, a person recognizes that as they try a particular therapy, whether lifestyle, medication, surgery, or an endoscopic therapy, it initially feels relatively easy to do and maybe their weight responds. However, over time on therapy, continued weight loss becomes more and more challenging due to the alteration in hormone levels such as ghrelin, leptin, and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). For example, increasing ghrelin levels stimulate a person to eat more, and falling GLP-1 levels cause a person to not feel as full.

Key Considerations for Maintaining a Healthy Weight to Reduce the Risk of Cardiometabolic Complications in Patients With Obesity Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, MBA — https://www.clinicaloptions.com/diabetes/programs/2021/obesityprimarycare2021

Because of my social media activities my name and email address have found their way into some interesting email marketing lists. This quote comes from an email I got a few days ago. I actually went to the website, was granted guest access and downloaded the slide deck. Most of the information in the presentation was WAY above my pay grade.

Author Disclosure – I am not a medical doctor. I’m an insurance guy.

Trends in Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods (not good news)

The calories that children and adolescents consumed from ultraprocessed foods jumped from 61% to 67% of total caloric intake from 1999 to 2018, according to a new study from researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. Published August 10, 2021, in JAMA, the study analyzed dietary intake from 33,795 children and adolescents nationwide.

Tufts University. “Ultraprocessed foods now comprise 2/3 of calories in children and teen diets.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210810110955.htm (accessed August 10, 2021).

The largest spike in calories came from such ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat dishes as takeout and frozen pizza and burgers: from 2.2% to 11.2% of calories. The second largest spike in calories came from packaged sweet snacks and desserts, the consumption of which grew from 10.6% to 12.9%.

Frozen pizza and burgers? Is this a problem?

Findings  In this serial cross-sectional study of nationally representative data from 33 795 US youths aged 2-19 years, the estimated percentage of total energy consumed from ultraprocessed foods increased from 61.4% to 67.0%, whereas the percentage of total energy consumed from unprocessed or minimally processed foods decreased from 28.8% to 23.5%.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2782866

We are doomed.

Just Another Sweet Saturday Morning

These findings show that the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S. is highest among Americans for whom a healthy diet is especially critical—Medicaid enrollees with insulin-dependent diabetes and diabetes-related eye or kidney complications (over 40% were food insecure). The problem of co-occurring food insecurity and diabetes among the nation’s disadvantaged has likely worsened during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The Prevalence of Food Insecurity Is Highest Among Americans for Whom Diet Is Most Critical to Health — Diabetes Care 2021 Jun; 44(6): e131-e132. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-3116

In patients with newly diagnosed T2DM, alcohol abstinence was associated with a low risk of AF development. Lifestyle modifications, such as alcohol abstinence, in patients newly diagnosed with T2DM should be recommended to reduce the risk of AF.

Diabetes Care 2021 Jun; 44(6): 1393-1401. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-2607

New research published in Diabetologia has shown that if people achieve and maintain substantial weight loss to manage their type 2 diabetes, many can also effectively control their high blood pressure and stop or cut down on their anti-hypertensive medication.

Diabetologia. “Diabetes remission diet also lowers blood pressure and reduces need for medication.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2021 — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210531180422.htm

Sat 6/19

Spice Blend

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Copied from The First Mess Seven Spice Chickpea Stew recipe https://thefirstmess.com/2016/01/20/vegan-seven-spice-chickpea-stew-recipe/ so I don’t have to look it up online again if I decide to make this dish tonight.

During Pandemic Year One I lost 25 pounds. My PCP was impressed but when I told her how my diet changed she put her “doctor face” on, looked me straight in the eyes and said,

“I can’t wait to see your blood test results.”

Due to my family history my risk of developing DM2 is approximately 25% higher than the average underwriter. When I asked a prominent Endocrinologist for some advice many years ago he too put on his “doctor face” looked me straight in the eyes and said,

“Stay as thin as you can as long as you can.”

Yesterday I went to see Kevin and got a fresh flattop. The first question he asked was,

“Did you lose more weight?”

No, I haven’t. But my face definitely looks thinner without a mask.

BTW my blood work was about the same as last year even with my change in diet.

Preferred Plus NN.