Entries in Weight Gain (29)


Less Housework Correlates with Weight Gain in Women, Study Suggests 

(Tom Morello/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- Over the past 50 years the American workforce has changed. Many workers spend most of their jobs sitting down in front of a computer, and women have become a full part of the workforce. A new, and somewhat controversial, study proposes that this shift to a desk and away from heavy vacuum cleaners is causing American women to gain weight.

The study, published this February, relied upon an extensive archive of “time-diaries” from the American Heritage Time Use Stud. It found that back in 1965 women spent an average of 25.7 hours a week cleaning, cooking and doing laundry, but by 2010 that number had shrunk to an average of 13.3 hours per week.

“Those are large reductions in energy expenditure,” said Dr. Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

As the years went by women started to work more and spent more time watching, television, using home computers and other sedentary activities, and less time exerting themselves through hours of chores.

Chores became easier and took less energy, too, as technology advances such as gliding vacuums made housework less of an ordeal even when it was done.

Dr. Archer stressed that the study does not imply that women should spend more time in the kitchen or doing chores, rather that it just illustrates a change in lifestyle trends and the importance of staying active. He encouraged everyone to make an effort to be more active at home and in their daily lives by walking out to the mailbox, playing with a dog, and  just doing the little things that add up to burn calories and keep us fit.

“The data clearly shows,” Dr. Archer said, "that even at home, we need to be in motion."

 Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Urge to Splurge at Checkout Counter May Contribute to Obesity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- We all know impulse buys can lead to overspending.  But when something isn't on your shopping list, health policy experts worry it's also likely to lead to weight gain.

Tempting treats placed right near the cash register are literally eye candy, deliberately displayed so they'll catch your attention when you're waiting on the checkout line.  Tossing those high-calorie, low-nutrition vices into the cart is something consumers tend to do without thinking, even when they know deep down it's against their best interests.

Dr. Deborah A. Cohen, a senior natural scientist at Rand Health, says people are susceptible to spontaneous bad-for-your-health buys because of a struggle within the brain.  She has co-written a commentary about food marketing and the obesity epidemic in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

"Our brain has both automatic and deliberate thoughts, a fast and slow way of thinking," Cohen said.  "We are wired to act first and think later, so we grab a delicious food without stopping to consider the consequences."

People have the ability to make only so many choices per day, Cohen continued.  Marketers know this, which is why they place high-profit grab items like candy and soda at the end of the shopping experience when a shopper's decision-making capacity is shot.

"This is the most likely moment when consumers can't avoid the junk food and can't resist it either," Cohen said.

The trick seems to work.  Nine out of 10 shoppers make impulse purchases, buying items that weren't on their shopping lists, according to a recent survey by The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group, a retail branding firm.  And, as another survey by the retail analyst group IHL found, there's a good chance all this mindless, spur-of-the-moment buying translates into excess pounds.

According to the 2008 IHL analysis, the average American woman eats more than 14,300 calories a year in impulse purchases alone; women could lose 4.1 lbs a year -- at least theoretically -- by simply resisting checkout candy bars and chocolate candies, chips and soda once they are in the checkout line.  Men fare even worse: they buy fewer but higher calorie items for a whopping 28,350 total calories worth of impulse buys per year on average.

Checkout lines aren't the only places retailers use to steer consumers toward high-profit food items they don't really want, don't really need and never intended to buy, Cohen said.  Goods placed in prominent end-of-aisle locations account for about 30 percent of all supermarket sales and can increase the sale of an individual item fivefold.

Vendors pay "slotting fees" to retailers to guarantee their products will be placed in prime locations.  In many cases, Cohen said, these fees will net stores more profit than consumer spending.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fast Food Diet Participants Paid to Purposely Gain Weight

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are making an unusual offer: They are paying people to add fat to their own bodies by eating an extra 1,000-calorie fast food meal each day for three months.

Dr. Samuel Klein, the lead researcher in the study, wanted to do some basic research on why only some people who gain weight develop diabetes and hypertension, while others do not. It's something he said he couldn't research by feeding food pellets to lab animals.

"What you learn in rodents does not always translate to people," Klein said. "What you learn on flies and worms won't translate to people."

Fast food turns out to be a perfect food pellet replacement because it is good for measuring exactly what people are eating. The five restaurants chosen for the study were McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

"[Fast food restaurants] have very regulated food content," said Klein, the lead researcher of the study. "We know exactly the calories and macro-nutrient composition within fast food restaurants, so it's a very inexpensive, easy and tasteful way to give people extra calories."

There was also a cash incentive. Participants could earn up to $3,500, depending on how long it took them to reach the weight goal. They had to gain five percent to six percent of their body weight during the three-month span and then they could work to shed the pounds again. Researchers monitored their weight from week to week.

The hospital put out an ad seeking participants, and several people came forward.

Dawn Freeman, a 50-year-old nurse who had finished the program, started out weighing 170 pounds. She said she gained 16 pounds over the course of eight weeks.

She was compensated a total of $2,650 for her effort, including $50 to lose all the weight again, which she did with diet and a lot of walking exercise to help her get down to 162.8 pounds. The hospital guides participants through the weight loss.

Freeman said gaining weight fast -- with a doctor's permission -- only sounds easy and even seemed easy at the first meal, when she ate a Big Mac and large fries from McDonalds.

"It was really good and you know the next night I went to Taco Bell and it was, it was wonderful," she said. "This is after I have already eaten dinner."

But Freeman eventually found out that gaining weight in a hurry is really hard.

"This is not pleasant for them," Klein said. "It's not easy to stuff your face every day for a long period of time."

Freeman said she started to feel awful after two weeks, "I could hardly breathe anymore."

Now she is glad it's over. But another participant, Dave Giocolo, was about to find out that this experiment was not a food lovers' dream.

The 48-year-old bathroom design and supply salesman, said when he heard the medical school's ad on the radio while commuting to work, he called them right away.

The St. Louis native's starting weight was 249.9 pounds with a goal of adding about 15 pounds for the study. So Giocolo, who never went without his morning McDonald's breakfast burrito, started eating quarter pounders for the sake of science.

He made so many drive-in runs that he knew the calories by heart, but around week four, those burgers and fries started to catch up with him. Giocolo said his knees and ankles started aching.

"It's getting harder to move," he said.

Metabolism is a mysterious thing. For Giocolo, the weight went on, slowly it seems. One week he actually lost about a pound. That's when researchers told him to up the quantities. Around week 11, he said he was ready to be done with it.

Just last week, Giocolo finished the weight gain part of the study, hitting 268 pounds -- a gain of just over 18 pounds. He was compensated $3,225, and will receive more when he gets his weight back down to baseline.

Now his challenge is to lose the weight, helped maybe by the fact that he said he has lost his appetite for fast food, at least for a while.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lady Gaga Fights Weight Criticism by Asking Fans to Embrace ‘Flaws’

Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Lady Gaga‘s turning the criticism about her weight gain into a tool to help others. Tuesday on her social networking site,, she launched a Body Revolution section to “inspire bravery” and "celebrate with us your ‘perceived flaws.’”

She also posted a picture of herself, eyes closed, wearing a bra and panties, with the caption: “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.” She’s encouraging her fans to do the same.

“Hey Guys its Gaga,” she wrote. “Now that the body revolution has begun, be brave and post a photo of you that celebrates your triumph over insecurities.”

Hundreds of people responded in the little more than the first four hours that Gaga’s posts went up. One fan wrote, “I LOVE YOU. I have struggled with weight and eating issues my whole life. Your honesty and bravery make [sic] is better and for all of us. You are beautiful -- today, yesterday and tomorrow.”

The 26-year-old pop star made headlines last week after photos of her performing in Amsterdam showed her figure looking fuller than it has in the past. The pop star said recently that she’s gained “like 25 pounds” and is dieting but noted, “I really don’t feel bad about it, not even for a second.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Woman Can't Gain Weight, Bullied Over Looks

Courtesy Lizzie Velasquez(NEW YORK) -- Lizzie Velasquez gets a lot of stares.  The 23-year-old senior at Texas State University stands 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs just 58 pounds.

"I can't gain weight," said Velasquez, describing the rare syndrome that blocks her body from storing fat.  As a result, Velasquez is skin and bones despite eating around the clock.

"My stomach is so small that I can't eat that much," she said.  "So about 30 minutes after eating I'm ready to eat again.  I snack a lot just to keep my energy up."

The cause of Velasquez's syndrome -- so rare that it has no name -- is a mystery. Only two other people are known to have it, and countless genetic tests have turned up nothing.

"She's missing all of her adipose tissue," said Dr. Atul Chopra, a resident in medical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, describing the layer of cells under the skin that plump up with dietary fat.  "We just don't know why."

Velasquez was born by emergency C-section weighing just less than three pounds -- half of what was expected for the 36-week pregnancy.  And ever since, she's been poked, prodded and stared out by dozens of doctors trying to diagnose and treat her mysterious condition.

"Once I got to about age 13, I kind of got tired of it," said Velasquez, who besides her frail frame and blindness in her right eye is surprisingly healthy.  "I realized I don't really want a cure for this syndrome.  If a doctor found a magic pill or some surgery that would help me gain weight, I wouldn't want it.  All the struggles I've had made me who I am today."

Those struggles have been many.  Velasquez is still bullied because of her gaunt look, but says her elementary school years were the worst.

"I felt like some sort of monster," she said, recalling her first day of kindergarten.  "I never told anyone how bad I was being picked on because I was embarrassed.  When I would take a bath at night, that's when I would cry."
Every September, Velasquez's dad, Lupe -- a teacher at her school -- would stand up in front of her class and say, "This is Lizzie.  She's just like you guys, she just looks a little different," Velasquez said.  "It was a huge help."

Now, Velasquez is using her victory over bullying to inspire others.  On top of a full course load, she's penned two books and delivered motivational speeches to young students across Texas.  She also made an "It Gets Better" YouTube video with nearly 2.5 million views.

"I tell everyone, 'Even though you don't have my syndrome, you might be able to relate to the struggles I've had,'" she said, explaining how talking about bullying is therapeutic for her, too.  "It's kind of the grown-up version of my dad coming to class."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rabbits Are Adding Flab to Their Fluff, Study Finds

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pet bunnies better hop to it.  A new study in the British journal, Veterinary Record, notes that, like their owners, their waistlines are expanding at an alarming rate.

The review charted the weight of 41 rabbits over a two-year period and found that about 10 percent of them had packed on so many pounds, they needed to seriously consider salads.  Females were twice as likely as males to be portly, and neutered individuals of both sexes were 5.4 times more likely to be overweight compared to their virile counterparts.

The statistics on bunny fatness may not be quite as “hare raising” as they are for humans, but they are climbing.  In general, rising obesity rates in our animal friends is a well established fact.  For example, an annual Association for Pet Obesity Prevention survey of more than 500 pets revealed that approximately 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are now overweight or obese.  The fact that such an organization exists speaks volumes.

Vets say they are seeing increased obesity in their patients of all species.

“Animals used to have to work hard for a living,” said Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian at the North Idaho Animal Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho.  “Now, cats have gone from mousers to moochers.  Dogs have gone from guard to lard.”

Besides getting their pets’ tails off the couch or out of the hutch, Becker advised owners to help their pets practice the art of portion control.  He pointed out that a lot of pet lovers equate food with love, constantly stuffing their fur-and-feathered companions with high-fat snacks and super-sized meals.

“Pets are happy to eat whenever and whatever you give them and when you give them free choice they will eat themselves into the grave,” he said.

Often, owners don’t even realize there’s a problem.  Becker said that when asked to gauge their pet’s body size, most owners rate them as ideal even when they obviously sport too much blubber.

As for bunnies, Becker says a far greater percentage of them than the study reported seem to be trading in their carrots for carrot cake and consequently are tipping the scales too far.

“Some of them have so much skin and fat they remind me of a bean bag chair.  You can’t even figure out where everything is on them,” he said.

Unlike other kinds of animals, it’s not always easy to tell if your rabbit is roly-poly.  According to Becker, they should resemble an hourglass from the top and have a “wasp waist” from the side.  Like other species, they should have just a hint of  fat covering their ribs.  But this doesn’t hold true for all breeds of rabbits.

“An annual checkup is the best way to tell if your rabbit is at its ideal weight,” Becker said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trainer Defends Claim Moms Use Pregnancy as Excuse to Gain Weight

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson has raised the bar for the celebrity “momshell” in the race to lose weight after giving birth, and has recently come under scrutiny for her claim that women use pregnancy as an excuse to pack on the pounds.

“A lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to let their bodies go, and that’s the worst thing,” Anderson told DuJour magazine for its September issue.  “I’ve seen so many women who come to me right after [having children] with disaster bodies that have gone through hell, or they come to me years later and say, ‘Oh, my body is like this because I had three kids.’”

Anderson, who has famously whipped Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow into shape, revealed to the magazine that she has lost nearly all her baby weight six weeks after giving birth to daughter Penelope in May.

She spoke with ABC's Lara Spencer Wednesday morning to clear the air on her remarks that have sparked conversation among mothers.

“What I mean is that pregnancy is difficult,” Anderson said on Good Morning America.  “And every pregnancy is completely unique.  We crave a lot, and I think in today’s society women have all this pressure to look a certain way or they feel as if they have to look a certain way.  I think that they turn to diet a lot because that’s what works for them, because fitness routines usually let them down.”

The former dancer said she put on a healthy 30 pounds during pregnancy by avoiding overeating and working out during her pregnancy.

“We do have to be conscious of it,” she said.  “Our instinct is the most important thing, though.  We as women have to listen to our own bodies, have to listen to our cravings.  Our bodies will tell us what we need for sure.  And I exercised very conservatively through my pregnancy.”

Anderson’s quick rebound only highlights the pressure many moms feel reading about Hollywood mothers or “momshells” (mother-as-bombshell) who seem to jump right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

More magazine editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour told Good Morning America last week that ordinary women need to remember that celebrities aren’t just like us.

“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.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


College Freshman Urged to Avoid Gaining Unwanted Pounds 

Tom Morello/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Although researchers say the 15 pounds thought to be gained during freshman year are a bit of an exaggeration, an expert still urges students to avoid gaining unwanted pounds, Health Day reports.

Kari Kooi, a registered dietician at the Methodist Hospital in Houston said most freshman gain 3.5 pounds, but students should still not ignore even minor weight gains. She said late-night eating, a lack of exercise, increased alcohol consumption and all-you-can-eat dining halls can lead to weight gain, and added that extra pounds put students at risk for chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease, according to Health Day.

Kooi said students can avoid gaining weight by keeping healthy snacks handy, drinking water, staying active, eating regular meals and getting enough sleep.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: More TV Linked to Larger Waists, Weaker Legs for Kids

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The more television a child watches, even in the first years of life, the more likely he or she is to be thicker around the middle and less muscularly fit, according to a new study.

Previous studies have linked lots of television with childhood obesity and other child health detriments, but this study's authors say their report is the first to relate how time in front of the boob tube affects a specific measure of physical fitness, their explosive leg strength, an important asset for sports like soccer, basketball and football.

Caroline Fitzpatrick, the study's lead author, said the measure isn't just important for children who want to be athletes.

"Explosive leg strength is an important measure of a child's overall physical fitness, their general muscular fitness," she said.

Fitzpatrick and her colleagues at the University of Montreal studied more than 1,300 children from across Quebec. When the children reached age 2 and age 4, the researchers asked parents how many hours per day their children spent watching television. On average, the 2-year-olds watched almost 9 hours of TV each week; by the time they reached age 4, average weekly TV viewing rose to nearly 15 hours.

A few years later, when the children were in second and fourth grades in school, the researchers measured their waist size and also how they performed on the standing long jump, hoping to measure each child's explosive leg strength.

The researchers were able to translate hours in front of the TV to centimeters of physical size and performance. They calculated that each hour of television watched during the week as a 2-year-old corresponded to a 0.361-centimeter decrease in a child's performance on the standing long jump. If a child watched an hour more of television as a 4-year-old than they did when they were 2, that corresponded to 0.285 centimeters shaved off of their jump. That extra hour of TV time also corresponded to a 0.047-centimeter increase in waist size.

The study was published Sunday in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking Averages Around 10 Pounds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As more people quit smoking cigarettes to protect their health, many face a new battle: weight gain.  A new study in the journal BMJ shows that quitters gain more weight than anyone previously thought.

The research found that those who quit smoking gained an average of 10 to 11 pounds after 12 months, with most of the weight gain in the first three months.

Still, that shouldn't stop people from kicking the habit for good, the researchers said.

Scientists from France and the U.K. conducted a meta-analysis that examined 62 European-based studies of weight gain among people who had successfully stopped smoking.  They said the average weight gain was higher than doctors generally thought, though there were substantial differences among study participants.

Until now, the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. has been saying that not everyone will gain weight after quitting, and those who do will generally gain fewer than 10 pounds.

"Most of the post-cessation weight gain occurs quickly, during the first quarter," said Henri-Jean Aubin, an addiction specialist who was lead author of the study.  "Weight gain decelerates afterwards.  There is a great inter-individual variability of post-cessation weight gain."

About 16 percent of people actually lost weight after quitting, and 13 percent gained more than 22 pounds.  Because of the great range, researchers said the average weight gain is not necessarily meaningful to people kicking the cigarette habit.

Researchers said the study results should encourage physicians to acknowledge the risk of added pounds.  Doctors need to encourage their patients to adopt a healthy diet and to exercise regularly, they said.

"On the other hand, weight-concerned smokers should consider the possibility they may not gain weight while quitting smoking," said Aubin.

It is worth noting that this type of meta-analysis has its limitations because investigators did not measure participants' weights directly, but, rather, studied a collection of studies, said Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences at New York Medical College.

"Each of the collected studies weighed different groups of people [with] different ages, different baseline weights, different ethnicities under different circumstances, which means that each study yielded results that may imply something different than the others' results," Amler said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio