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Friday
Mar012013

Study Tying Women’s Weight Gain to Housework Draws Fire for Coke Link

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A group of researchers now says that one reason modern women may be packing on the pounds is because they’re not doing the heavy lifting around the house that they once did.

“We looked at 91 different activities — going to the gym, walking the dog — and the only thing that influenced their energy expenditure was the work in the home,” said Edward Archer, a University of South Carolina research fellow and the study’s lead author. “That’s why the study focused on that.”

In the study, a team of University of South Carolina researchers at the Arnold School of Public Health compared the activity logs kept by stay-at-home women from 1965 until today and found that in 1965, women spent 25.7 hours a week pushing tank-like vacuums, dusting, mopping, cooking and washing.

But in 2010, women spent 13.3 hours a week on household chores — and they are also 22 pounds heavier than their 1965 counterparts.

The results were published this month in PLOS One.

 

Archer said the study was not intended to tell women they are fat because they don’t do housework.

“The take-home message is not that women should be doing more housework but rather that women and individuals in general should find ways of integrating physical activity into their day,” Archer said. “How you spend your day determines health....How you spend your day determines the health of the next generation.”

Other experts, however, said the obesity epidemic was caused by a long list of factors that included not just physical activity but diet, genetics and economic status. They also questioned the motives of Coca-Cola, which sponsored the study.

“It makes no sense for Coca-Cola to be funding studies on causes of obesity because they are one of the causes for obesity,” said Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for food policy and obesity at Yale University. “It would be like taking money from the tobacco industry to find other causes of lung cancer. It really makes no sense at all.”

Women also fired back on Twitter.

“The 1950s called and they want their article back,” said one tweet.

Archer said the source of the study’s funding was “irrelevant.”

“We should be turning focus on ourselves,” he said. “What we can do for ourselves, especially in the context of our health and especially in the context of our children.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb212013

Colorado Business Denies Withholding Massage Because of Woman's Weight

Courtesy Laura Smith(AURORA, Colo.) -- The owner of a Colorado company accused of refusing to massage a woman because of her weight has denied the allegation.

"She was never refused service and she was never called fat," owner Penny Wells of the Natural Healing Center in Aurora told ABC News on Thursday.

Wells contacted ABC News on Thursday after declining to respond to repeated requests for comment on Wednesday.

Would-be customer Laura Smith said she entered the Natural Healing Center last month, hoping for a massage to relieve the aftereffects of a half-marathon she had run the day before.

"I ran 13.1 miles. I was hurting just from that in and of itself," Smith, 31, told ABC News this week. "I was really looking forward to the massage. I was going to relax."

Instead, Smith said, the owner "was very matter of fact about it. She said, 'I'm really sorry, but you're just too fat for our table. You'll probably break [it] and have to pay for it.'"

Wells denies the accusations.

At 6-foot-3 with an athletic build, the 250-pound Smith said massages at other places have never been an issue.

"I was just kind of in shock," she recalled of the Jan. 21 incident. "When it sunk in, I just started to cry, then I grabbed my stuff and left."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec042012

Anne Hathaway Reveals ‘Shame’ Over ‘Stress’ to Be Thin

Fred Duval/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Anne Hathaway grins on the latest issue of Glamour, beaming in a pair of hot pants and a tank top. But in an interview with the magazine, the Les Miserables star reveals that her obsession with being thin is a source of “shame.” and says she constantly worries about her body.

“I still feel the stress over, ‘Am I thin enough? Am I too thin? Is my body the right shape?’” she says. “There’s an obsessive quality to it that I thought I would’ve grown out of by now. It’s an ongoing source of shame for me.”

Hathaway lost 25 pounds for the film version of Les Miserables, which comes out December 25. In an interview with Allure earlier this year, the 29-year-old actress said she subsisted on a 500-calorie diet of radishes and hummus to play tuberculosis-ridden prostitute Fantine.

She also chopped off her hair, an act that left her “shaking like a leaf.” But she tells Glamour she now feels like the “coolest girl in the world,” and says “people are warmer to me” because of her pixie cut.

“Also, I’m a fairly shy person, and [in the past] on days when I didn’t want to deal with the world, I’d wear a hat and pull my hair around me and hide,” she says. “I can’t do that now. I have to be me all the time.”

Still, paparazzi and the potential for ridicule scare her, and she tells Glamour that she’d be “so much more eccentric” in her day-to-day life if it weren’t for all those prying eyes.

“I know it makes me sound weak, but rather than make myself happy and wear the silly hat and say, ‘Oh, I don’t care,’ I actually really don’t feel like getting made fun of,” she says. “So I put on something boring and navy and go out and try to disappear.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov082012

Jennifer Lawrence 'Considered a Fat Actress'

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- She's Hollywood's new 'It' girl who, at age 21, nabbed the coveted lead heroine role in this year's blockbuster Hunger Games, but Jennifer Lawrence says that doesn't mean she fits into the typical Hollywood mold.

"In Hollywood, I'm obese," Lawrence, now 22, told Elle magazine in its December issue where she graces the cover in a skin-tight white dress under the headline, "From Indie Star to Hunger Games Bombshell."

"I'm considered a fat actress," she says. "I'm Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach."

To prepare for her career-making role as Katniss Everdeen, the movie's 16-year-old heroine who is forced to fight for her life, Lawrence underwent intense training, including learning how to run properly.

"I'm pigeon-footed…so I decided to learn how to run with my feet straight and then they ended up just taping my ankles to make my feet go out," she told Good Morning America last March.

The movie was a blockbuster hit but Lawrence drew criticism for her full, by Hollywood standards, figure from, among others, the movie critic for the New York Times who wrote, "A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit…"

Speaking to Elle, Lawrence is defiant against those critics, and any agents or casting directors who stand in her way.

"I'm never going to starve myself for a part," she says. "I don't want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I'm going to skip dinner'…I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong-not thin and underfed."

Fellow "It" girls Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis got slim for their ballet movie "Black Swan," and Anne Hathaway has described her "crazy" workout regimen for "Catwoman" and "living on hummus and radishes" to portray a prostitute in Les Miserables, but Lawrence says she'll never take her acting that far.

"I eat like a caveman," Lawrence says. "I'll be the only actress who doesn't have anorexia rumors."

The Oscar-nominated actress also lets her guard down about her boyfriend, Nicholas Hoult, a fellow actor she met on the set of X-Men, revealing she also doesn't watch her diet around him.

"We can eat Cheetos and watch beach volleyball and we turn into two perverted Homer Simpsons, like, 'Oh, she's got a nice ass,'" she says. "I never thought we'd have such different opinions on asses."

"[He] is honestly my best friend too," Lawrence tells Elle, turning more serious. "He's my favorite person to be around and makes me laugh harder than anybody."

The December issue of Elle hits newsstands Nov. 13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Fighting the 'Mom-Shell' Image: New Moms Struggle to Embrace Post-Baby Body

Beyonce performing in Atlantic City, a little less than 4 months after giving birth. Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- There is a new breed of mother on the playground.

Just weeks after giving birth, women dubbed "mom-shells," a hybrid of mommies and bombshells, are flaunting their post-baby bodies with skinny jeans and six-inch heels -- an image perpetuated by Hollywood. From Gwyneth Paltrow to Beyonce, celebrity moms have posed in glossy body-after-baby spreads.

Janice Min, the former editor of Us Weekly, says she helped create a celebrity culture of baby bumps with those spreads. Now, she says, those picture-perfect women have "infected our minds" so that "real" moms think they too have to look bodacious after childbirth.

"This crazy shift happened where suddenly it was cool to be pregnant and show off your body after you have the baby," she said. "That was a way for all these actresses to suddenly communicate to the world, 'I'm sexy, I'm still employable, and you want to be like me.'"

But not everyone can look like Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen shortly after childbirth.

"Gisele is a freak of nature," Min said. "These celebrities, a lot of them are just genetic aberrations."

Now there is a populist backlash. Alison Tate, a stay-at-home mom, had just given birth to her fourth child when she did something many women do every day: She resisted having a picture taken with her son at a birthday party because she said she knew she wouldn't like the way she looked.

"After I've had all my children, I felt like I had blown up like a balloon," she said. "It wasn't even a normal kind of being overweight. It's a deflated tire kind of being overweight. You can't fit into normal clothes right away. I felt dumpy, doubt-y, frustrated."

Tate had many reasons to be confident. She had an Ivy League education, she was happily married with four beautiful kids, but she still felt embarrassed by her body after giving birth. So she wrote a blog about the picture experience, and suddenly that moment became a movement.

Tate's website, "Mom Stays in the Picture," started a viral rallying cry and thousands of women submitted their own pictures, even if they didn't look their best.

"You're not looking at whether the mom is overweight, or did her hair, or did her makeup," Tate said. "All you see are moms and their kids, and all the love that are in those photos."

Tate said being a mom-shell is not what motherhood is all about.

"Our kids do not care what we look like," she said. "They only see their mother, and I just think that what women need to do is remember that. You don't ruin their pictures, you complete them."

Perhaps surprisingly, Janice Min can empathize. She too gave birth six months ago, to her third child, and said she also struggled when she saw herself in the mirror.

"It's sort of horrifying," she said. "Afterwards when the bump is gone, you're just kind of a fat lady, and it's really harsh."

Min's self-doubt helped inspire her to write a book called How to Look Hot in a Minivan, to reassure "real" moms that even starlets have a hard time living up to the Hollywood standard.

"We would have quotes from women saying, 'I cried, I work out so hard that I cry,' or, you know, 'I don't eat, I'm always hungry,' you know, crazy things that celebrities do," she said. "That at least puts a reality check on it. But Hollywood is fantasy and we have a hard time, at least when it comes to this area, of separating fantasy from reality because it's so personal for so many women."

In her book, Min shares what she learned about how the celebrities do it. Many famous women will wear a statement necklace, for instance, to draw the eye away from their figures.

"Motherhood and weight are the two most loaded issues for women ever," she said. "And so when you put those two together, it's like moths to the light, but it's also like kerosene to the fire, and women get really obsessed."

When Jessica Simpson battled with weight gain after having her daughter Maxwell, she turned to celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak, who first helped Simpson fit into her Daisy Dukes. In fact, getting her body back has turned into a sponsored event, with her every move watched by her 5.7 million Twitter followers.

But Pasternak said the key to losing the baby weight for any new mom is lots of walking, not a personal trainer. He said women should not feel bad about not bouncing back to their pre-baby figures.

"I've never weighed a client," he said. "I would be upset at someone for not taking care of their health, because as a mom you're setting an example for your child."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct122012

Karl Lagerfeld Says Models Are ‘Not That Skinny’

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage(LONDON) -- Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel honcho who called Adele “a little too fat” and complained about “fat mummies” ruining fashion, is at it again. In an interview this week with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, Lagerfeld was asked about the fashion industry’s influence on women’s body image. There was this exchange:

Reporter: “You think it’ll be O.K. for women to be fat in the future?”

Lagerfeld: “Unfortunately, yes.”

Reporter: “But not O.K. now?”

Lagerfeld: “No.”

He then called the subject “ridiculous” and said, “The story with anorexic girls -- nobody works with anorexic girls. That has nothing to do with fashion. People who have that, they have problem with family and things like this. There are less than one percent of anorexic girls, but there are over -- in France, I don’t know about England -- over 30 percent of girls who are big, big, overweight.”

Eating disorders were long ago proven to be complex issues. In terms of the statistics, Lagerfeld actually isn’t that far off, if you apply his numbers to the U.S. Sixty percent of adult women in the U.S. are considered overweight, and just over one-third of those are obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the likelihood of an American woman becoming anorexic or bulimic during her lifetime is 0.9 and 1.5 percent, respectively, according to the National Institutes of Health.

But then he went on to say, “The models are skinny but they’re not that skinny. All the new girls are not that skinny. You know, there’s a new evolution.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep192012

Weight and Taste Sensitivity Are Linked, New Study Says

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The secret to avoiding weight gain may be residing on the top of your tongue. According to a new German study, obese children have less sensitive taste buds than kids of normal weight, and that may drive them to eat more.

The investigators tested the taste sensitivity of 200 children between the ages of 6 and 18, half of whom were obese. By placing special taste strips on the children's tongues they were able to measure their response to each of the five taste sensations -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory) -- at four different levels of intensity.

Obese children had a much harder time than their slimmer peers identifying the different tastes, especially salty, bitter and umami. They also struggled to detect the difference between salty and sour, and between salty and umami.

Girls and older children who were thin had, in general, the most finely tuned taste buds. And, while both obese and normal-weight children correctly identified all the differing levels of sweetness, obese kids rated three out of the four intensity levels lower than kids of normal weight.

At this point scientists don't know whether a sluggish sense of taste leads to overeating or if excess weight somehow diminishes the taste buds' abilities. Robin Dando, a professor in the food and science department at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., said he thinks it may be a little of each.

"It could be a cause and an effect at the same time," he said. "Obese people may taste differently, but also their taste ability is contributing to their obesity."

Dando, whose own research examines the physiology of taste receptors, said we are all born with distinct taste sensitivities and preferences that are influenced by age, sex and experience. Both taste and obesity may also be shaped by hormonal fluctuations. This "hormonal fingerprint," as Dando calls it, might be different for obese and lean people.

For example, the hormone leptin is associated with hunger, fat storage and the ability to taste sweet things. Obese people may be less sensitive to its daily cycles. Also, if the level of insulin circulating in the blood stream remains consistently elevated for long periods of time, as it does in many obese people, it could weaken the cells' receptors to the hormone, which in turn could mute taste sensitivity.

Dr. Stephen Cook, associate professor at the Golisano Children's Hospital, at the University of Rochester, said he thought obese kids might also become over-habituated to taste over time. "They may get so used to certain flavors, they need to consume them at an ever-increasing threshold to notice their taste," he said.

This isn't the first study to look at the connection between taste ability and weight. Previous research has suggested that people with a heightened sensitivity to the various taste sensations tend to eat less, possibly because they get more flavor in every bite, while people who overindulge simply may not taste food as keenly as others do. In 2010, for example, Australian researchers found those with higher sensitivity to the taste of fat tended to eat fewer fatty foods overall and had lower body mass indexes.

Russell Keats, the lead author of the Australian study and an associate professor at Deakin University in Victoria, said this latest study has some issues. "The number [of subjects] is small, taste strips are not a great method to indicate taste function, and identification of taste may be related to other cognitive issues rather than anything to do with taste function," he said.

Cook said it's possible the results might change if the same study looked at American children, who are used to eating more highly processed foods than their European counterparts. "Since they have different exposures, I'm not sure the results would be the same."

Still, Dando said the work is interesting. It's not yet known whether the taste buds can be retrained to do a better job but if they can, he thought it might possibly lead to some new weight loss therapies down the road. Instead of counting calories, perhaps dieters could concentrate on eating more mindfully and getting a bigger taste hit per bite.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Celebrity 'Momshells' Pressured to Look Perfect After Giving Birth

Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Applauding new Hollywood mothers for slimming down in no time flat after shedding their baby weight has become one of the hottest trends splashed across celebrity magazines.

Call them "momshells" (mother-as-bombshell) for bouncing back after having a baby and jumping right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

Janice Min spearheaded many of those kinds of covers during her six-year stint as editor of Us Weekly, but now, after giving birth to her third child, she's pushing back against what she calls unhealthy pressure on everyday new moms.

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In a new article for The New York Times, the 42-year-old Min says, "…the notion that instantly stick-thin figures after birth are normal is untrue. Sometimes, in my sleep-deprived nights, I ponder our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we've created and wonder how to undo her."

Hillary Duff, 24, gave birth to her son, Luca, in March and recently faced a barrage of critical tweets for not losing her baby weight fast enough. Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai and Bryce Dallas Howard, who starred in The Help, also faced similar backlash.

"You see these magazines that are filled with celebrities, that within weeks, have bounced back and they're back to their pre-baby weight, and I think for most women it really puts a lot of pressure on them," CloudMom.com CEO Melissa Lawrence said.

Actress Kelly Preston, 49, said she refused to rush her weight loss after giving birth to son Benjamin in 2010.

"I actually took my time purposely because I really wanted to. You can do it much more quickly," Preston told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America in December. "I'm not into the three to four weeks. But, I did it over the course of eight months."

Katie Schunk is among a group of new moms who are fighting back against the blitz of magazine covers.

"If we could reach one woman to maybe not feel so bad about herself, I think that's exactly what we wanted to do," Schunk said.

Much like Min, Schunk says new moms shouldn't feel pressure to be thin, that being a great mother is what makes them "momshells."

Women need to have realistic goals when it comes to getting back into pre-baby shape, More magazine editor-in–chief, Lesley Jane Seymour, and women’s health expert, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, said Monday on GMA.

“Nobody can live to that standard,” Seymour said. “[Celebrities] have $40,000 exercising gurus. You’re not being paid for that. That is not your job. They have to get in shape in two weeks because they’ve got to go on the set. That is not the normal human being.”

Ashton said the pressure on women to bounce back immediately after giving birth is a type of “peer pressure,” but that it does “behoove a mother to get into as good of a shape as she can be.”

"As moms we know that being a mother and running a household is an athletic event into itself,” Ashton said. “Two seconds after she gives birth? No. ... Give yourself at least nine months to get back.”

Seymour, also a mother, said “it takes a year” to get your pre-baby body back and that’s the real message celebrity magazine cover stories should convey to readers.

“We should remember what it is. They’re celebrities,” Ashton echoed. “You don’t want to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ you want to do the best you can for your body and your family.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May172012

'Obese & Expecting': Weight Ups Risks for Mom, Baby

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One more worry in the country's obesity crisis: a new documentary highlights the perils of extra pounds during pregnancy.

The TLC special, Obese & Expecting, follows four obese women through complicated pregnancies and painful deliveries that put mom and baby at risk.

"We know that obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of diabetes and preeclampsia," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. "And when the mom is big, the baby can be big, raising the risk of birth injury and C-section."

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A scene from the documentary shows doctors struggling to give one woman an epidural through the fat in her back.

"We spent 45 minutes attempting to put the spinal in," said Dr. Charles Hux, a New Jersey OB/GYN featured in the documentary. "With so many layers of fat, it's difficult to be certain that the needle went into the exact space it should go in."

After several tries, the team gave up, deciding instead to give the woman a general anesthetic and a C-section.

"Going to sleep carries significant risks, even for a slim pregnant woman," said Greenfield, calling the decision a last resort. "And the risk goes up significantly in a woman who's overweight."

Studies suggest nearly half of U.S. women who are of child-bearing age are obese, a problem that weighs heavily on doctors.

"It's harder to provide excellent care to someone who's obese because a lot of things we do are not as accurate," said Greenfield, explaining how ultrasounds and other tests to gauge the baby's growth can be skewed by the mother's fat. "It's also harder to feel the position of the baby."

That fat, and the fact that obesity can cause irregular periods, also means women might not realize they're pregnant.

"If you don't know you're pregnant, you might not avoid things that are toxic, like alcohol, smoking and certain medications," said Greenfield, adding that prenatal vitamins are also important. "And a lot of what we do in prenatal care depends on knowing exactly how far along a woman is. If you don't have a sense of gestational age, it's harder to provide the right care."

Obesity has also forced hospitals to adapt, adding delivery tables that can be made wider and hold up to 600 pounds, Greenfield said.

"The old tables only went up to 450 pounds," she said. "That's just not realistic anymore."

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal. But obese women should gain no more than 15 pounds, roughly half the amount recommended for women of normal weight.

"For someone with bad eating habits, that's going to be really hard," said Greenfield, describing how pregnancy cravings and the "eating for two" mentality can conspire to pack on the pounds. "Lifestyle change is always hard. But during pregnancy, I think women are more motivated to do it for themselves and their baby."

Obese & Expecting premiered Thursday night at 9 p.m. on TLC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

‘Social Jet Lag’ Can Figure Into Obesity

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As many working people and students can attest, the sound of the alarm clock in the morning can mean an unpleasant jolt out of a nice deep sleep. And disrupting the body’s internal clock in this way can lead to a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, according to a new European study published in the journal Current Biology.

The study, led by Till Roenneberg at the University of Munich, evaluated the relationship between social jet lag — which the researchers describe as the discrepancy between one’s internal and social clocks — and body mass index.

Working from questionnaires completed by 6,500 central Europeans about their sleep habits, the researchers found that those who disrupted their biological rhythms, which are determined in part by genetics, had a greater chance of not only becoming overweight or obese but also more likely to smoke and drink more alcohol and caffeinated beverages.

“Our results demonstrate that living ‘against the clock’ may be a factor contributing to the epidemic of obesity,” the authors wrote.

Social jet lag, they explained, starts early in adolescence and continues throughout life until retirement. Early school times are not tuned in to the teenagers’ later natural wake times, and as people enter the workforce, those who are night owls but have to wake up early also suffer the effects of insufficient sleep.

The circadian clock also plays a role in how the body burns energy, which “may contribute to weight-related pathologies,” wrote the authors.

Previous research, they continued, found that not getting enough sleep also increased the risk of obesity and metabolic disease, and shift workers were especially vulnerable.

“The situation, where people have to be active and try to sleep outside their circadian window, has been simulated in carefully controlled laboratory studies called forced desynchrony,” they explained.  “These simulations result in an imbalanced glucose metabolism that normally is associated with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.”

Short sleep duration has also been linked to other health problems, including preclinical signs of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

The majority of people start their work day before the end of that sleep window and fall asleep well after they feel tired, which the researchers believe is “of key importance in pending discussions on the implementation of daylight-saving time and on work or school times, which all contribute to the amount of social jet lag accrued by an individual,” the authors concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio