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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.

New Podcast - Travis Interviews Kenyan Obesity Researcher Vincent Onywera

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Author: Travis Saunders 1 Response

Vincent Onywera


When you think of Kenya, what comes to mind?  For most people, it probably has something to do with skinny, amazingly fast distance runners.  I'm almost positive that for most people childhood obesity is not an image that is naturally associated with Kenya, or with Africa in general.  And yet, many developing nations like Kenya are currently undergoing societal transitions involving increased urbanization, reductions in physical activity, and increased consumption of fast food, all of which can result in increased risk of both obesity and chronic disease risk, especially in children.  Since these same developing nations often still suffer from relatively high rates of infectious disease, they suffer from what is called the "dual burden" of both chronic and infectious disease (in contrast, very under-developed countries experience mostly infectious disease, while developing nations have predominantly chronic diseases).

This dual burden can be a crippling blow to the public health, not to mention economies, of developing nations.  At the same time, studying these transitions as they happen can help us develop a better understanding of the obesity epidemic in general, and hopefully devise strategies to prevent it's advance into developing countries.  This is where Dr Vincent Onywera comes in. 

Vincent is an obesity and physical activity researcher at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as the Deputy Director of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletics Academy.  I had the good fortune to work with him last summer, and recorded today's podcast a few weeks before he returned home.  Vincent is one of the most fascinating people I've ever met, and we chat about the obesity epidemic, the reasons why obesity is seen as something to aspire to by many Kenyans, and some of the projects he is currently involved with. Enjoy the podcast! (email subscribers can listen to the podcast by visiting our website - www.obesitypanacea.com).





We'd love to hear your thoughts on this or any of our previous podcasts, and if you enjoy them, be sure to subscribe via itunes to have future episodes delivered straight to your computer. 

Travis

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Exercise and Peripheral Artery Disease

Thursday, July 22, 2010 Author: Travis Saunders 0 Responses

Like most people, I have been aware of the problems associated with reduced blood flow to the heart for quite some time (angina, heart attacks, etc). However, I recently became aware of a related condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD) when it was diagnosed in a friend of my family. PAD refers to the obstruction of arteries in the arms and legs, and can result in reduced blood flow to muscles below the obstruction. As well as being a risk factor for heart disease, the reduced blood flow associated with PAD can cause significant amounts of pain in the legs when walking even short distances, and can be very debilitating. Not surprisingly given the increased prevalence of risk factors including obesity and diabetes in recent years, the prevalence of PAD is also increasing.

Given the serious impact that PAD has had on my friend's mobility, I was pleased when I came across an article examining the positive influence of exercise on PAD in the latest issue of the Journal of Physiology. Taylor and colleagues blocked the femoral artery in rats, then examined blood flow to muscles below the blockage after three weeks of exercise 'training' or a 3 weeks of being confined to their cage. Both groups developed 'collateral' blood vessels to re-route blood around the obstruction, which is pretty cool in and of itself. However, the exercise training group developed larger collateral vessels than the sedentary group, resulting in significantly increased blood flow to muscles below the obstruction in the exercise training group. Although the rats can't verbalize how they feel, I would expect that with increased blood flow the rats in the exercise group would also feel less pain in their legs than those in the sedentary condition.

I was most excited to see this study because among other things, my acquaintance has begun a daily walking program and their symptoms have improved considerably since their training began. Exercise is not the only answer for problems like PAD, but it's nice to see that something as simple as a walking program can be part of the solution.

Travis

This article was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

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Obesity Panacea bids adieu to ScienceBlogs

Friday, July 16, 2010 Author: Travis Saunders 3 Responses
Some unfortunate, but probably unsurprising news - Peter and I have decided that we will no longer be publishing Obesity Panacea on Scienceblogs.  Future posts will be found on our original site at www.obesitypanacea.com.  We have come to the decision for a number of reasons, but the recent PepsiCo advertorial played by far the largest part.  For those who haven't been following the drama, PepsiCo purchased a nutrition blog on the Scienceblogs network. All content on this blog would be written by PepsiCo staff or other writers invited by PepsiCo and was therefore an advertorial, although it was not originally advertised to readers as such.  I should point out that the planned content may have been fantastic and evidence-based, but the optics and execution couldn't have been more bungled, or less ethical.  The bloggers on the network weren't alerted until just hours before the blog was launched.  Chaos ensued. For a full recap of the carnage I suggest Carl Zimmer's analysis here, and for excellent discussions of the journalistic ethics of such advertorials please see John Rennie or the Knight Journalism Tracker.  Although the PepsiCo blog was pulled before any posts were published, the episode has done incredible damage to the credibility of the network, as well as chasing away many of the wonderful science writers who attracted Peter and I to the network in the first place.  

I want to make clear that I am not fundamentally opposed to all engagement or partnership with private companies.  I am open to the possibility that there may be situations where it is appropriate, and even desirable, for scientific organizations to partner with companies like PepsiCo to serve the public good.  Determining if, when and under what conditions it can serve the public good is extremely complicated, which is why I have been hesitant to enter this debate in the past, and remain hesitant until I can better flesh out my own thoughts on the issue.  But it is clear that if there is an appropriate way to engage organizations like PepsiCo, it must be transparent, honest, and with a goal of serving the public good.  The recent partnership created by ScienceBlogs management was none of those things, and as a result Peter and I are no longer comfortable posting on their network.  


Some people may be wondering why we didn't make this announcement last week when the drama first unfolded.  To be honest, up until this week we were both on vacation with little (me) or no (Peter) internet access - Peter is still trekking in South America, and I was at my cottage in New Brunswick.  Only in the past few days were we able to catch-up on what we've missed and have a skype conversation to decide what to do next, which is easier said than done given that Peter is currently on an over-night bus traveling through rural Brazil.  During our conversation it was quite clear that neither of us was comfortable continuing to blog on Scienceblogs, so off we go.
 
Although this is an unpleasant end to our brief stay at Scienceblogs, I'd like to say that overall it has still been an extremely pleasant experience, due both to our current former sciblings, and the fantastic readers who have joined the discussion.  Thanks especially to Abbie from ERV, and Scicurious (formerly of Neurotopia) for openly campaigning for our addition to the network, as well as Bora Zivkovic and Dave Munger for their advice during the move.  I'm also hoping that collaborations like our recent podcast with current and former Sciencebloggers continue well into the future.  I have been an unabashed SEED/Scienceblogs fanatic for several years, and joining the Scienceblogs network was one of our stated goals when starting Obesity Panacea.  I hope they are able to work through this issue, but Peter and don't feel we can be a part of it.


A couple housekeeping notes - after today we will be updating the RSS feed, so if you're an email subscriber to Obesity Panacea on Scienceblogs, you will continue to receive all of our new posts on obesitypanacea.com.  If there are any problems with the new feed, please don't hesitate to contact us by email, Twitter, or by leaving a comment on either of our sites.


Thanks for all the wonderful support and comments on Scienceblogs, we hope to see all of you at ObesityPanacea.com.


Travis & Peter

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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.

Disclaimer

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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