Study links sleep loss with nighttime snacking, junk food cravings, obesity, diabetes

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to a study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers.

Nighttime snacking and junk food cravings may contribute to unhealthy eating behaviors and represent a potential link between poor sleep and obesity, according to a study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers.

The study was conducted via a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 U.S. metropolitan areas. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about their sleep quality and existing health problems.

About 60 percent of participants reported regular nighttime snacking and two-thirds reported that lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food.

Full story at Medical Xpress

12-Year Study Tracks Impact of Television Viewing Patterns on Strength

It’s no secret that large amounts of sedentary behavior, such as is associated with extensive television viewing, can have a negative effect on physical function and overall health. Now researchers in Australia have amassed 12 years’ worth of data that shows how extended viewing habits can impact knee extensor strength, and the results are about what you’d expect—with 1 exception.

Researchers drew data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study, a longitudinal project that began in 1999 and attempts to track its 11,000 participants over time. The most recent wave of data collection, which involves participants coming to onsite testing centers, was conducted 2011-2012. A total of 1,983 participants who had been with the program since the beginning were included in the current study, allowing researchers to follow television viewing patterns over time using group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM). Results were e-published ahead of print in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Full story on study of television viewing patterns on strength at APTA

The enzyme that makes physical activity healthy: AMPK

ampk Physical activity benefits diabetics and others with insulin resistance. One of the reasons is that a single bout of physical activity increases the effectiveness of insulin. Thus, physical activity helps to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, while also reducing the effects of diabetes if it does set in. Until now, no one has understood the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon.

New research from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports reports that the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a crucial role in enhancing the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake in muscles. The discovery may be a breakthrough in finding a medical pathway to improve the health of people with limitations for physical activity.

“AMPK is central for insulin sensitivity in muscles, and thereby for the ability of muscles to take up glucose immediately after physical activity. That our research group has been able to demonstrate such an important and basic physiological role of AMPK in muscles is fantastic, and a reward after many years of effort,” according to Professor Jørgen Wojtaszewski, who had overall responsibility for the group’s work.

Full story on enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase at Science Daily

CDC: 1 in 4 Americans Have Multiple Chronic Conditions, With Wide Variation Among States

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one-quarter of the US adult population has multiple chronic conditions (MCCs), but that average doesn’t reflect regional differences, which include state MCC rates as low as 1 in 5 residents to a high of more than 1 in 3.

The report, based on results of a 2014 National Health Interview Survey of 36,697 results, tracks the prevalence of adults who reported having 2 or more of 10 chronic conditions: arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis, hypertension, stroke, or weak or failing kidneys. Respondents included Medicare beneficiaries and the privately insured.

Full story of Americans with multiple chronic conditions at APTA

Study: 10 Modifiable Risk Factors Associated With 90% of Strokes Worldwide

Ten modifiable risk factors are associated with 90% of strokes, according to a recently published international study. Risk factors include physical inactivity, hypertension, poor diet, obesity, smoking, cardiac causes, diabetes, alcohol use, stress, and increased lipid levels.

The case-control study was “phase 2” of the larger INTERSTROKE study. According to lead author Martin McDonnell in a related Lancet podcast, the goals of this study were to describe and quantify stroke risk factors and identify any “regional variations by population characteristics or stroke subtype.”

Researchers examined patient data from 142 participating facilities in 32 countries representing all continents (26,919 participants and 13,472 controls). Participants were assessed with a variety of measures, as well as MRI or CT imaging and blood and urine samples, within 5 days of acute first stroke.

Full story of risk factors associated with strokes at APTA

From PTJ: New Recommendations for PT Treatment of Childhood Obesity

Primary care providers, rather than simply prescribing physical activity to young patients with obesity, should involve physical therapists (PTs) who can assess the child’s risk factors and evaluate and monitor the child’s increasing level of physical activity, say authors of a clinical recommendation in Physical Therapy(PTJ), APTA’s science journal.

While children with obesity need to increase their level of physical activity, they also are more likely to have comorbid conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or hypertension, and they also are at increased risk of injury from exercise. The authors, who represent the Belgian Physical Therapy Association (AXXON), present clinical recommendations for “first-line” PTs treating children and adolescents with obesity in a private practice or home care setting.

Full story on PT treatment for childhood obesity at APTA

Can a PT’s Personality Traits Affect Outcomes for Patients With Chronic Disease? This Study Says Yes

Want to improve physical therapy outcomes for patients with chronic diseases? Have a “calmer, more relaxed, secure, and resilient” personality, according to Dutch researchers.

In an article published in the December 16 issue of BioMed Central’s Health Services Research, researchers from the Netherlands compared treatment outcomes from patients with chronic disease such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes with the ways their treating physiotherapists (PTs) scored on “The Big 5” Index (BFI), a widely used personality test.

Authors of the study hoped to get a full picture of how the 5 personality dimensions measured in the test—neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness to experiences—played into patient outcomes. In the end, they found that only neuroticism seemed to have an impact.

Full story of PT’s personality traits and patient outcomes at APTA

New York Times: Nursing Homes Challenged by Increased Obesity Rates

As rates of obesity rise, so do the challenges associated with providing care. And nursing homes are feeling the strain.

A recent article by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and The New York Times (NYT)looks at how care facilities are struggling to accommodate an ever-increasing number of residents who require special care and equipment related to their weight.

“Obesity is redrawing the common imagery of old age: the slight nursing home resident is giving way to the obese senior, hampered by diabetes, disability, and other weight-related ailments,” reporter Sarah Varney writes. “Facilities that have long cared for older adults are increasingly overwhelmed—and unprepared—to care for this new group of morbidly heavy patients.”

Full story of nursing home and obesity at APTA

Diabetes Rates Decline 2008-2014, But Experts Say Crisis Far From Over

Across the US, diabetes rates have been falling—but not for everyone, and not dramatically enough to indicate that crisis is over.

This week, The New York Times (NYT), National Public Radio (NPR), US News and World Report, and other media outlets reported on recent statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted a drop in reported cases of type I and type 2 diabetes, from 1.7 million cases in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2014.

According to the NYT, “the drop has been gradual and for a number of years was not big enough to be statistically significant,” but the latest data “serve as a robust confirmation that the decline is real.”

Full story of diabetes rates declining at APTA

Obesity, Physical Inactivity Rates Mostly Stable 2013-2014

The good news: obesity rates in the United States may have stabilized in 2014. The bad news: that’s not good news.

The most recent “State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” study, released in September, finds that 2014 adult obesity rates in the US were 20% or more in every state, with 22 states having rates above 30%. That rate does not represent a significant change from 2013. Averaged across the country, more than 30% of adults and 17% of children are considered obese.

The report tracks state-by-state levels of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and physical inactivity over time (ranges vary by topic), and provides state ratings in each category. In state-by-state analysis of adult obesity, Arkansas topped this year’s list with a 35.9% rate, followed by West Virginia (35.7%), and Mississippi (35.5%). The 3 states with the lowest adult obesity rates were Colorado at 21.3%, followed by the District of Columbia (21.7%), and Hawaii (22.1%).

Full story of stable obesity and physical inactivity rates at APTA