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

Can exercise weaken the link between obesity and heart damage?

Even though heavy adults can be more prone to cardiac problems than their slimmer peers, exercise may lower the odds of heart damage for obese people, a recent study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 9,427 middle-aged people without cardiovascular disease to see how their weight and exercise habits might influence levels of a protein that’s a marker of heart damage.

Overall, 7.2 percent of the participants had elevated levels of a protein known as high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT). Rising levels of this protein can be an early warning of future heart failure in people who don’t have symptoms.

Full story of exercise weaken the link between obesity and heart damage at Reuters

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

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

US Obesity Rates Nearing 1 in 3 Adults; Physical Activity Rates Looking Better

At a rate of 30% in 2015, Americans are more obese than ever, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But there are some bright spots when it comes to rates of physical activity (PA).

In recent reports, the CDC lists the 2015 obesity rate at 30.6% among US adults, a slight bump up from the 29.9% rate recorded in 2014, and a dramatic increase from the 19.4% rate of 1997.

Obesity rates were highest among adults 40-59 (34.9%), followed by the 60-and-over age group (30.1%) and adults 20-39 (26.7%). In all but the 60-and-older group, prevalence was higher among males than females. In terms of race/ethnicity and sex, non-Hispanic black females were most likely to be obese (45.2%), followed by non-Hispanic black men (34.5%) and Hispanic women (33%).

Full story of obesity and physical activity rates at APTA

Study: To Help Reduce Sedentary Behavior in Schools, Students Need to Think on Their Feet

What’s good for the office may be good for the classroom, according to some researchers who think the standing desk trend should be extended to schools as a way to help reduce obesity and improve overall health among children.

A team of researchers published a systematic review in Pediatrics [log-in may be required] examining the effects of standing desks on students’ sedentary behavior, physical activity level, health outcomes, and academic outcomes. After analyzing the results of 8 studies conducted in elementary school settings, they found that the decreased sitting time, besides doing the obvious good, may also have a null effect on learning. “In essence, it can be hypothesized that students could effectively learn while simultaneously reducing the high volumes of sedentary time accumulated through passive and static sitting in the classroom,” authors write.

The effects on actual physical activity were mixed, with some studies finding no change and others reporting an increase in activity. The evidence on caloric expenditure and BMI was inconclusive.

Full story of physical activity in schools 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

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

PCORI Devotes Additional $142 Million to Expansion of Clinical Research Network

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) plans to invest $142.5 million to expand its clinical research network—another facet of a broad initiative that includes major grants supporting physical therapy research.

According to a PCORI news release, the money will be used to establish a second-phase expansion of the National Patient Centered Clinical Research Network(PCORnet), a project that links various health data research networks. The funding will be used in part to expand the number of PCORnet participants from 27 to 34, and will include both clinical data and patient-powered research networks.

The 34 PCORnet partner networks encompass more than 150 conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, autism spectrum disorders, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson disease, behavioral health disparities among low-income populations, and health disparities among sexual and gender minorities, all drawn from a wide variety of population groups.

Full story of PCORI adding money to clinical research at APTA

March PT in Motion: PTs Innovate to Take on Obesity

Need more proof that physical therapy is all about transformation? Look no further than this month’s issue of PT in Motion magazine and its feature story on how the profession is helping to address obesity and overweight.

In the March issue of the magazine, associate editor Eric Ries explores how several innovative physical therapists (PTs) are establishing the profession as a key resource in a battle against obesity and overweight through a variety of approaches, from new research initiatives to real-world action.

Full story of PTs take on obesity at APTA