Subscribe to Obesity Panacea
Subscribe to Obesity Panacea
Subscribe to Obesity Panacea by mail

The Perfect Push Up

The Perfect Push Up Exercise Gimmick Although push-ups are the most rudimentary exercise in existence, multiple companies have produced ridiculous gimmicks to help you do the Perfect Push-up!

Research Blogging Award Finalist!

Research Blogging Awards 2010 Finalist Obesity Panacea has been named a Finalist for the 2010 Research Blogging Awards! You can see all the nominees by clicking on the link below.

Obesity Panacea is Moving to PLoS BLoGs!

Thursday, September 02, 2010 Author: Travis Saunders 0 Responses

Some exciting news today: Obesity Panacea is moving to PLoS BLoGs, the new blog community hosted by the Public Library of Science (aka PLoS).  We are very excited about this move for a few reasons.  First, PLoS has been a leader in the Open Access movement, which makes scientific articles available to anyone with an internet connection, as opposed to most journals which require expensive memberships that put original research out of reach for most members of the public. Not only that, but papers published in PLoS journals can also be translated, altered, or reprinted online without violating the copyright - something which is explicitly forbidden by most traditional journals.  All of these things make it much easier to promote science to a wider audience, which is something Peter and I wholeheartedly support.

In addition, PLoS has assembled a terrific group of bloggers, including our former Scibling David Kroll (aka Abel Pharmboy), regular Wired contribute Steve Silberman, and Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum, to name just a few (the full list can be found here).  We are very excited to be able to work with and learn from such a terrific group, as well as the PLoS staff who are a pretty impressive group themselves.  And finally PLoS BLoGS won't have any ads, which has its benefits

So what does this mean for Obesity Panacea?  Aside from our new URL, not much.  The content of our posts will remain same, as will the general posting scheme - 3 posts during the week, with a weekly round-up post on the weekends.  And if you currently receive Obesity Panacea via email or RSS feed, you should automatically receive content from our new site, beginning later this week (if we encounter any technical issues, we will keep you posted). 

And we promise, this will be the last move the Obesity Panacea will be making for a long, looooong time.

We hope that all of you will make the move with us!  Beginning today, you can find our all of our new content at


Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends by clicking the buttons below!

Twitter Facebook Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati

To get future posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS reader, be sure to subscribe to Obesity Panacea.

Obese Pets: How to Help Your Furry Friend Stay Slim

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 Author: Peter Janiszewski, PhD 0 Responses

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 33 million (44%) of US Dogs and 51 million (57%) US Cats are Overweight or Obese.

“Pudgy pooches and fat cats are now the norm.” states Dr. Ernie Ward, founder and President of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in a recent press release. He goes on to suggest that “the majority of today’s overweight pets will endure painful and expensive medical conditions – all of which can be avoided.”

But how can you tell if your pet is overweight or obese?

Here are a few simple guidelines provided by APOP:

Your Pet is Overweight if…
- Difficult to feel ribs under fat
- Sagging stomach – you can grab a handful of fat!
- Broad, flat back
- No waist is apparent

More specifically, you can refer to the Body Conditioning Scoring System for Dogs and Cats which has an easy to follow grading system (with pictures) : 1 (very thin), 2 (underweight), 3 (ideal), 4 (overweight), 5 (obese).

The APOP website also offers a helpful Pet Obesity Info Sheet which lists the proper weights of various breeds of dogs and cats, their regular dietary needs (calories), as well as nutritional information for various pet treats and foods.

For example, did you know that your Golden Retriever should not be exceeding 75 lbs while your regular domestic cat should stay under 10 lbs?

Much as in humans, excess weight among pets is associated with increased risk of numerous diseases including: osteoarthritis , diabetes, hypertension , cardiovascular disease , and cancer.

And what are the factors predisposing your pet to gaining excess weight?

A 2003 study conducted by Robertson in Murdoch University, Australia used a random telephone survey of 2326 households in the Perth metropolitan region to interview the 657 owners of a total of 860 dogs. In this study, most dogs (69.7%) were considered by their owners to be the correct-weight or body-condition, while 25.2% were considered overweight or obese - numbers that are lower than those documented in the US.

The study found that dogs that were overweight or obese were more likely to be neutered, fed snacks, be of older age, and ate only one meal a day. Additionally, for every hour of exercise performed by the dog each week their risk of obesity fell by 10%.

As your pet’s owner, you are responsible for ensuring little Mr. Bojangles lives a long and healthy life. To do so, you have to keep your cat or dog at a normal weight.

Once again, the APOP provides very helpful advice for managing your pet’s excess weight (Read: weight management for dogs and weight management for cats).

In the end, the strategies are quite similar to that for obese humans.

First, the pet should be checked by a vet for any possible disease states predisposing to obesity, and making weight loss potentially difficult.

Second is calorie balance – increasing the amount of daily exercise your pet gets (easier with dog than cat), while limiting the number of calories they ingest – being particularly careful to not exceed their nutritional requirements with snacks and scraps of “people food” or by using a self-feeder.

Keeping a daily log of activity, caloric intake, and regular weigh-ins is a good way to track progress. For a sample food and activity log for your pet click here.

And finally, if you would like your pet to participate in today's national effort to raise awareness of pet obesity, and help establish reliable data on the severity of the issue, please fill out the online Pet Obesity Data Form.

To help you figure out how to make the necessary measurements, like waist circumference, please watch the below videos (one for dog owners, and one for cat owners). [Note to email subscribers to log onto Obesity Panacea to view videos]

For more help or instruction please log onto the APOP website, which is the best website I have come across specifically addressing pet obesity.


Orignially published on Obesity Panacea in 2009.
Enjoyed this story? Subscribe to Obesity Panacea and have future stories delivered regularly to your email account or your RSS reader.

Robertson, I. (2003). The association of exercise, diet and other factors with owner-perceived obesity in privately owned dogs from metropolitan Perth, WA Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 58 (1-2), 75-83 DOI: 10.1016/S0167-5877(03)00009-6

Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends by clicking the buttons below!

Twitter Facebook Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati

To get future posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS reader, be sure to subscribe to Obesity Panacea.

Obese, but Metabolically Healthy Individuals: at Lower Risk of Death?

Friday, August 20, 2010 Author: Peter Janiszewski, PhD 3 Responses

Very recently, an interesting study was published looking at the risk of early mortality among metabolically-healthy obese individuals – a topic we’ve covered on a number of occasions on Obesity Panacea. The authors of this landmark study published in the journal Diabetes Care are actually close friends of ours (Dr. Jennifer Kuk and Dr. Christopher Ardern), and both are alumni of Queen’s university. Now that the media frenzy surrounding their recent study has subsided, Dr. Kuk was kind enough to answer a few questions about the study and enlighten our readers.

Dr. Kuk is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. Before Dr. Kuk was at York University, she did her PhD in the same lab that I am currently in (Queen’s university). Dr. Kuk has been instrumental in shaping my research interests while at Queen’s and beyond, and over the years has provided tremendous guidance in many areas. I could not be happier to showcase some of her pioneering research on Obesity Panacea.

Without further adieu, enjoy the interview.

OP: If you were to sum up the main findings of your study to a non-scientist at a dinner party, what would you say?

Dr. Kuk: I don't get invited to dinner parties, but if I were, I'd say that "My study shows that individuals who are obese and do not have common diabetes and heart disease risk factors die at the same rate as those who do. This means being overweight alone puts you at higher risk for dying, even though you do not high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. This highlights the negative health impact of body weight alone".

OP: Why do you think the prevalence of metabolically-healthy obesity in your study was so much lower than previously reported in others (6% vs 20-30%)?

Dr. Kuk: The prevalence was lower in our study as compared to others simply because we used a more strict definition of metabolically normal. Other studies used insulin resistance or the metabolic syndrome (3+ risk factors) alone, but we defined 'metabolically healthy' as the absence of insulin resistance or any metabolic syndrome criteria. We felt this would be a more accurate definition of 'metabolically healthy' as each of the metabolic syndrome criteria are associated with morbidity and mortality alone.

OP: How do you reconcile the findings from the current study with those of prior studies suggesting that metabolically-health obese individuals are at no greater risk for developing type-2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease than normal weight individuals?

Dr. Kuk: Although I don't know which studies you are referring to exactly, but in our study, 80% of the deaths in the metabolically-healthy obese were due to cancer and 'other' causes. Other causes are likely traumatic injuries, which highlights an important point. Obese individuals are less likely to survive a trauma as compared to normal weight individuals despite similar injuries. This is related to longer transport times due to their higher body weight, and difficulty assessing and treating the injuries due to their increased size. Further, they are less likely to see their physicians regularly, which may be in part why cancer is generally diagnosed in obese individuals at later stages. Thus, this study fits in line with the idea that these indiviudals are not more likely to develop these metabolic diseases, but still die from other causes.

OP: Recently, Drs. Sharma and Kushner proposed a new staging system for obesity treatment suggesting that obese individuals without established metabolic risk should be counseled to maintain current weight, rather than lose weight (Read about this on Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes blog). Do the results of your study agree or disagree with these recommendations?

Dr. Kuk: One can examine this question from a theoretical or practical standpoint. From a theoretical stand, weight loss improves metabolic factors, functionality and serveral psychological and social factors, and thus it would be intutitive to recommend that all obese lose weight. However, from a practical perspective it may be unethical to recommend an individual who is not presenting with overt disease to try to lose weight as most indiviudals fail to maintain their weight loss over the long term. Repeatedly failed attempts to maintain weight loss has been shown to elevate one's risk for diabetes, CVD and cancer for a given BMI. In other words, it may be better to recommend maintenance of weight rather than prescribing weight loss, knowing that they are likely to fail and be worse off because of it. Though we did not examine this issue, Sharma and Kushner's staging system examines non-metabolic consequences as well, and it is reasonable to assume that these are equally important to examine as they are also important aspects of health, and inclusions of these factors may alter the associations observed.

OP: Are metabolically-healthy obese individuals actually healthy?

Dr. Kuk: I think that whether metabolically-healthy obese are actually healthy is dependent upon the accuracy of the definition. As we see that obese without CVD or diabetes risk factors are at elevated cancer risk implies that our definition of metabolically healthy is not capturing cancer metabolic risk factors. Similarly, risk for trauma events may also reflect aspects of health that may or may not be captured by metabolic risk factors, but are crucial aspects of health. For example, musculoskeletal fitness would be a predictor of risk of falling or functionality.

Thus, if we used a more encompassing definition, we would likely see that these metabolically-healthy obese may be at lower risk for mortality and are healthy. However, as our definition only identified 6% metabolically healthy obese, I would suspect that an all encompassing definition for healthy obese would be a very minuscule proportion of the population.

OP: What was the most interesting point raised by a reviewer during the publication process of this study?

Dr. Kuk: The most interesting point was surrounding whether metabolically normal obese should lose weight. I don't think there is a clear answer, but this study definitely provides food for thought.

OP: What came as the biggest surprise to you in doing this study?

Dr. Kuk: Our main finding was the biggest surprise. We actually expected that the metabolically normal obese were at lower risk for mortality.

Thanks very much to Dr. Jennifer Kuk!

Have a great weekend!


Originally posted on November, 2009.

Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to Obesity Panacea and have future posts delivered regularly to your email account or your RSS reader.

Kuk, J., & Ardern, C. (2009). Are Metabolically Normal but Obese Individuals at Lower Risk for All-Cause Mortality? Diabetes Care, 32 (12), 2297-2299 DOI: 10.2337/dc09-0574

Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends by clicking the buttons below!

Twitter Facebook Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati

To get future posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS reader, be sure to subscribe to Obesity Panacea.

Blog Archive

Recent Posts

Peter's Travel Adventures on PhD Nomads

About Us

We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

Donate To Obesity Panacea