Entries in Obese (14)


"Extreme Makeover" Participant Loses Nearly Half His Body Weight

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- By the time Jarvez Hall reached his 28th birthday this year, he was already dangerously obese.  His weight gain had started years before, spurred by a passion for playing football and encouragement from others.

“Middle school is when I started getting big,” Hall of Portland, Ore., said.  “People encouraged me to get big.  ‘Oh, you’re big, that means you’re more manly.  You’re big.  You’re strong and tough.’”

“So I was actually excited,” he said.  “I wanted to be big.”

Hall went on to play football at Oregon State University but eventually the weight piled on, reaching its peak as his beloved mother struggled with sickle-cell anemia.

“When my mom got sick, that is when my weight got worse,” he said.

Hall met the love of his life, Adriana, and asked for her hand in marriage.  The day before they walked down the aisle together, however, he wrote a letter to Chris Powell, fitness expert and the trainer on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, asking for help.

When Powell arrived to help, Hall weighed 548 pounds at his first weigh-in.

“Wow, I look at this number and I’m motivated,” Hall said at the time.  “My goal is to get into the “twos” and officially bring sexy back.”

In the next year, with Powell at his side, Hall pushed through the highs and lows of his weight-loss journey.  After one year on Powell’s program, Hall weighed in at 267 pounds and had dropped from a size 70 waist to a size 38.  His total weight loss came to more than 280 pounds.

“My world is so different now because I can appreciate the small things in life,” Hall said Monday on Good Morning America alongside Powell.  “Just coming here, I got to fly on an airplane and sit in one seat and not have a seat-belt extender.  I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to sit.  I can sit in a movie theater.”

Powell says it was the same determination that helped Hall succeed as an athlete that pushed him in his weight-loss journey.

“He [Hall] is the epitome of perseverance and persistence,” Powell said.  “He fell sometimes like we all do.  We’re all human and it happens on the journey but every single time he did he got right back up. He attacked every single day like it was a brand-new day and he kept going and this is where it gets you.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Personality Causing Obesity?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Could your personality be making your fat? Tiffanie Davis Henry, a therapist and co-host of ABC’s The Revolution, appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday to weigh in on just that topic.  And she said that your personality -- and the connection between emotions and what and when you eat -- could indeed be making you fat.

Specific personality types are more prone to weight gain.  Henry broke down various personality traits and how they could lead to packing on the pounds.

The Negative Nellies

We all know that person in the office who always has something negative to say.  That negativity might be uncalled for, even in bad situations, and Nellies are so down on themselves that they hurt themselves with food, Henry said.  The bad attitude might actually be affecting every aspect of life, including eating habits, she said.

Negative Nellies can turn things around by doing a check to see if their feelings are excessive.  They also need to realize that eating the food will make them feel worse, she said. Henry suggested that they find someone to blow off steam to, and to get a real read on just how bad a situation actually is.

The Instant Gratifier

This is the person who cannot say no.  They have to eat it now, then feel bad afterward and gain weight quickly, Henry said.

To change that behavior, Instant Gratifiers should soothe their moods, the Atlanta therapist said.  They have to look at what they are eating and decide whether they’re eating to avoid dealing with problems or issues in their lives.  They should tell themselves that having that slice of cake will keep them from getting into those jeans, and they’ll find it easier to delay that gratification, she said.

The People Pleaser

Many mothers are in this category.  These are the people who cannot say no, always put others first and themselves last, and who are so busy caring for everyone else that they’ll eat on the go, Henry said.

The solution is to stop making sure that everyone else is happy, and to realize that when you're happy, everyone’s happy, Henry said.  She added that the more someone says ‘yes’ to others, the more they’re actually saying ‘no’ to themselves.  By putting your own needs first, you can better take care of everyone else, she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obese Third Grader Taken from Mom, Placed in Foster Care

Digital Vision/Thinkstock (file photo)(CLEVELAND) -- A Cleveland third grader who weighed more than 200 pounds was taken from his mother after officials reportedly said she did not do enough to help the boy -- who suffered from a weight-related health issue -- lose weight.

“They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don’t love my child,” the boy’s mother, who was not identified, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  “It’s a lifestyle change and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that.  It is very hard, but I am trying.”

Officials first became aware of the boy’s weight after his mother took him to the hospital last year while he was having breathing problems, the newspaper reported.  The child was diagnosed with sleep apnea and began to be monitored by social workers while he was enrolled in a program called “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight” at the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

The boy lost a few pounds, but recently began to gain some back, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.  At that point, the Department of Children and Family Services asked a juvenile court for custody of the boy, citing his soaring weight as a form of medical neglect, according to the newspaper.

Taking obese children from their families has become a topic of intense debate over the past year after one high-profile pediatric obesity expert made controversial comments in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocating the practice in acute cases.

“In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable, from a legal standpoint, because of imminent health risks and the parents’ chronic failure to address medical problems,” Dr. David Ludwig co-wrote with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

A trial is set for the boy’s ninth birthday next month to determine whether his mother will regain custody.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hormones Make it Hard to Keep Weight Off, Study Says

Getty(MELBOURNE) -- It’s no secret that losing weight isn’t easy, and keeping the weight off can be just as challenging. Australian scientists now report that when it comes to keeping weight off for a significant period of time, biology is not on your side.

Scientists from the University of Melbourne reported that overweight or obese people who lost a significant amount of weight -- at least 10 percent of their body weight -- and kept the pounds off for one year still produced high levels of hunger-inducing hormones, giving them a biological urge to keep eating.

The scientists recruited 50 people for an intense 10-week, weight-loss program, USA Today reported. The participants consumed between 500 and 550 calories per day and lost an average of 30 pounds during the 10 weeks. Only 34 participants lost the required 10 percent of their body weight and were available for analysis one year later.

Although most of the people still weighed less than when the study began, they gained back about half of what they lost in the year after the program. When the scientists tested their blood for levels of hormones associated with appetite, such as leptin and ghrelin, they found the levels of those hormones changed in a way that made their appetites stronger than when the study began, the New York Times reports.

Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said obesity researchers have noted for many years that the body’s chemicals make obesity so difficult to treat.

“It’s not that they don’t’ want to maintain their weight loss,” Aronne said. “When people go off a diet and regain the weight, blaming them for doing that is the wrong response. This is a coordinated physiological system that is designed to push weight back up.”

Obesity researchers say these hormonal responses to weight loss are not surprising when viewed through the lens of human evolution. When humans’ early ancestors lost weight, it threatened their survival, so the body developed a hormonal response to keep that from happening. Dr. Rudoph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University in New York City, told USA Today, “this is probably more or less a permanent response.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Should Obese Kids be Taken Away from Parents?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that taking obese kids away from their parents and putting them in foster care temporarily is, in some cases, an ethical choice.  

The opinion comes from Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Children's Hospital Boston and Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health.

The authors say that while parents have the right to decide how to raise their children, the state may serve the best interests of severely obese children by intervening in "over nourishment" cases in the same way it does in cases of "undernourishment."

With nearly two million children in the United States classified as extremely obese, the study acknowledges finding temporary alternate homes for them would be impossible. However, the authors suggest option be reserved for children on the brink of developing health problems, like Type 2 diabetes, due to their weight.

Critics of the opinion say it's unfair to place blame on parents, pointing to other factors that lead to obesity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


High-Fat Diets OK for Obese Individuals?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- The Zone Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet, low-carb, low-fat, raw food, no food…it's quite amazing what people will try to do in order to lose weight. And many diets are not safe. In fact, some are outright dangerous.  

Doctors at Johns Hopkins University studied whether a low-carb, high-fat diet posed a serious health risk to obese individuals, since high-fat foods may increase risk of clogged arteries.  They divided 46 overweight or obese participants into two groups:  one group was on a low-carb/higher fat diet while the other on a low-fat/higher carb diet.  Both groups exercised equally.  Once the participants lost 10 pounds, their blood vessels were checked to see if any signs of stiffness of the arteries could be seen.  

The authors found that there were no differences in vascular health between the groups, so it seems that the low-carb/higher fat diet does not pose a health risk to obese people trying to lose weight.  Furthermore, it worked faster:  the group on the low-carb/higher fat diet reached 10 pounds of weight loss sooner than the low-fat/higher carb diet group, at 45 compared to 70 days respectively.
But even the authors acknowledge that their study does not provide information about long-term health effects of a low-carb/higher fat diet since they only tested the participants at most 2.5 months after starting the diet.  An obese individual likely needs to lose more than just 10 pounds -- so how would their arteries look and function after 10 months on the diet or longer?

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Doctors Baffled By 132-Pound Toddler in China

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Lu Hao, a three-year-old toddler in China, weighed less than six pounds at birth.  But he gained weight rapidly, and today tips the scales at an astonishing 132 pounds -- five times the normal size of a child his age.  He's also a medical mystery, with doctors in China unable to diagnose just what's behind the youngster's abnormal weight gain.

"It's obviously an extreme form of obesity," said Dr. Stephen Cook, a fellow in pediatrics at the Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester.  "I don't think I [have] ever seen anything quite like it."

Hao's parents, desperate for medical answers, said forcing him to eat less has been met with drama.

"We have to let him be, as if we don't feed him he will cry non-stop," Hao's mother, Chen Yuan, told Britain's Sun newspaper.

She said Hoa throws angry temper tantrums when they attempt to curtail his massive appetite, which includes devouring huge plates of ribs and rice.

"At some level, the parents are being semi enablers," said Dr. Cook.  "It's, of course, extremely difficult to put a child this young on any kind of a diet, but he needs limitations on his intake."

Cook called the condition "partly behavioral" and said the parents will need to set healthy limits on what he should eat.

Hao's severe weight problem is being aided by his aversions to exercise.  His parents said he hates walking, so they take him to kindergarten on a motorcycle.

Yet his parents do push him to be more mobile.  Though Hao hates walking, he does like swimming.  His parents also installed a basketball hoop to encourage him to exercise.

But exercise just makes Hao hungrier and that typically results in him gaining even more weight.

Hao's parents took him to see several specialists in China.  Doctors at the Guangdong Children's Hospital told the parents their child's weight gain could be caused by a hormone disorder.  Meantime, some experts said the child has signs of Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that's not very well known to the public or some in the medical field.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Faith and Fat: Religious Youths More Likely to Be Obese by Mid-Life

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(EVANSTON, Ill.) -- Americans who are religious are more likely to be happy, healthy...and hefty?

According to research from Northwestern University, youths of a healthy weight who frequently participated in religious activities were twice as likely to become obese by middle age than their less-religious peers.

Even when controlling for race, sex, education and income -- several factors that could independently be affecting likelihood of obesity -- this affect remained. Researchers drew on data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, which tracked weight and a number of physical and behavioral variables, including religious involvement, in more than 2,000 men and women over the past two decades.

"We had previously found that those with high religious involvement were more likely to be obese [as middle-aged or older adults], but we wanted to follow people over time to make sure that people who are religious are more likely to become obese, not that people who weigh more are more likely to turn to religion," said Mathew Feinstein, lead author of the study and an M.D. candidate at Northwestern University.

Several studies, including some of Feinstein's past work, have found an association between high religious involvement and obesity, but the studies didn't necessarily find an association between religiosity and negative health outcomes, such as markers of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, several studies link faith to an increased lifespan, more positive mood, and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors like drinking and smoking.

In the current study, for instance, the more frequently participants attended religious services, the less likely they were to smoke. The avoidance of such unhealthy behaviors may explain, in part, why religious people live longer, said Feinstein. But why they tend to put on more weight than their less-religious peers remains a bit of a mystery. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Obese People Underestimate Their Weight

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Despite repeated warnings by health officials that the U.S. is suffering from an epidemic of obesity, new evidence indicates the people who should believe that the most, realize it the least.

According a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting, many people believe their weight is normal. An attitude that extends to their overweight children. The study concludes overweight parents tend to underestimate the pounds they and their family carry around.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Four Hundred-Pound Marathoner Finds Strength in Size

John Foxx/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Growing up in Idaho, Kelly Gneiting dreamed of running a marathon.  But his weight, which reached 245 pounds in college, pushed him towards football and wrestling, instead.

"I've always considered myself kind of an anomaly of an athlete as a big person," said Gneiting, who now weighs 400 pounds.

An athlete indeed, Gneiting is a three-time national champion sumo wrestler.

"Even though I'm big, I pride myself on being strong and tough," Gneiting said.

On Sunday, after only four months of training, Gneiting finished the Los Angeles marathon -- his second marathon in three years.

"When you do something once, people can think it's a fluke," Gneiting said.  "But when you do it twice, hopefully you convince people that you're just that person."

Gneiting set out to inspire heavy people to break down the barriers that stand between them and their dreams.  But in the process he appears to have also broken the Guinness World Record for heaviest marathoner, finishing the 26-mile course in nine hours, 48 minutes and 52 seconds.

"I told myself, 'Even if I have to crawl, I'll do whatever it takes,'" Gneiting said.  "I wanted to prove I was tougher than the road."

After his first marathon in 2008, Gneiting pledged never to do it again.  But on Sunday he shaved two hours off his time, despite heavy rain.

"The bottoms of my feet looked like white hamburger," he said.  "There was a few times when a blister would burst and I'd feel it, and it just about caused me to collapse.  And then I'd think, 'Oh my gosh, I still have six miles.'"

Gneiting, who works as a statistician at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital in Arizona, said he wishes he was smaller but refuses to let his weight hold him back.

"I certainly don't like being this big, but to me it's unacceptable to have low self-esteem," he told ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio