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Top 10 Obesity-Related Research Posts of 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009 Posted by Travis Saunders

Peter and I try to discuss the latest obesity and fitness related research on Obesity Panacea at least once a week.  In the past year we have reported on research ranging from drugs that make people fatter (and healthier), to text messages as a means of improving weight loss interventions, and everything in between.  Here are our favourite research related posts from 2009.

10. Obese, but metabolically healthy individuals: at lower risk for death? Most obese individuals experience increased metabolic risk, but a significant minority are metabolically healthy.  Do these "healthy" obese individuals have a lower risk of death compared to other obese individuals?  Peter interviews Dr Jen Kuk on her important new findings.

9. Physical activity reduces risk of childhood fat gain. New research suggests that a 15-minute increase in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at age 12 is associated with a 10% reduction in fat mass at age 14.

8. The fatter we get, the less we seem to notice. As a population, we are all getting fatter. Interestingly, the fatter we all get, the less we seem to notice.  This is even true at the local scale - in a related post, we examine a paper that reports that self assessment of obesity in chilren is influenced by body weight of peers.

7. Grow more fat and improve metabolic health: insights from TZD treatment. It is not excess fat itself that results in health problems – it is the inability of the fat cells to expand enough to store new calories. In other words, if metabolically unhealthy individuals could somehow develop more fat cells, they could theoretically become healthier.  New research suggests that this is exactly what happens in response to TZD treatment.

6. Big breasts: an indicator of dangerous fat deposition? Last year, a large epidemiological study suggested that women with large breasts at age 20 are at increased risk of diabetes in middle age.  This (very cool!) study by Peter, myself, and Dr Bob Ross explores one reason why breast size may be a predictor of chronic disease risk.

5. Public transit users are more likely to reach physical activity targets. Want to incorporate physical activity into your day, but live too far from work to commute by foot or by bike?  This study reports that individuals who use public transit perform significantly more physical activity than those who commute by car.

4. What is the ideal exercise prescription for obese seniors?  This new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (and authored by our good friend Lance Davidson) suggests that a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise provides the optimal strategy for improving functional capacity as well as insulin resistance (a precursor to type-2 diabetes) in elderly men and women.

3. Fast food lunches contain RIDICULOUS amounts of calories.  Ever wonder just how bad fast food is for your health?  You won't once you see how many calories are in even the "healthy" options.

2. Text messages - the panacea for obesity? Normally we are being sarcastic when we suggest that something is the "cure" for obesity, but this interesting new study suggests that targeted text messages may be a valuable tool for individuals who are trying to lose weight.

And our favourite research post from 2009 was....

1.Can sitting too long kill you? We all know that physical activity is important.  But this important study reports that independent of physical activity, individuals who sit too much are at dramatically increased risk of death over a 12-year period.  In a related post, we also examine a new study showing that spending too much time in front of the TV reduces the benefits of physical activity.

To peruse all of our research related posts, check out our page on  And to have posts delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to Obesity Panacea.

What do you think is the most interesting obesity-related research study from the past year?

Travis Saunders

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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.

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