Strategies for decreasing a child’s risk for obesity often focus on improving eating habits and maintaining a high level of physical activity. While this is one way to address the issue, another way to reduce the risk of childhood obesity could simply come down to positive parenting, according to a Temple University study published in the November issue of Child Abuse & Neglect.

 
 

When obesity overloads the body with excess nutrients, parts start to fail. Obesity contributes to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, liver disease, immune dysfunction, painful joints, and a host of other problems. With so many parts of the body affected, studies of the health effects of obesity that concentrate on one body organ or system may overlook common underlying events occurring at the cellular level throughout the body.

 

Experts don’t dispute the important role that diet and activity play in maintaining a healthy weight. But can poor eating habits and a less active lifestyle fully explain the prevalence of obesity in the United States today? That question has led some researchers to ask whether there might be other causes for this serious problem. In the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researcher Richard Atkinson, M.D., asserts that there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that viruses may play a role in causing obesity in humans.

 
 
 

Science has found one likely contributor to the way that some folks eat to live and others live to eat. Researchers at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, have found that people with genetically lower dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps make behaviors and substances more rewarding, find food to be more reinforcing than people without that genotype. In short, they are more motivated to eat and they eat more.

 

A new study by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University researchers reported that 18 percent of 500 candidates for bariatric surgery did not receive the initial psychiatry clearance for the surgery. The study is the first to examine the reliability of decisions to clear candidates for surgery, and the largest to determine the percentage of candidates who are not cleared, and detail the reasons for exclusion.

 

The enzyme TPPII may contribute to obesity by stimulating the formation of fat cells, suggests a study in EMBO reports this week. The enzyme, TPPII, has previously been linked to making people feel hungry, but Jonathan Graff and colleagues now show that it may be even more deeply involved in causing obesity.