Articles About Weight Loss

Diet Drug Meridia is Withdrawn from US Market

If you are among the 100,000 Americans who has been taking Meridia (sibutramine), it’s time to lose your appetite for the diet drug. Abbott Laboratories, makers of Meridia, has voluntarily withdrawn their product from the US market.

Meridia has been associated with strokes and heart attacks

Meridia was approved in 1997 in the United States even though there was pre-approval evidence of increased blood pressure and heart rate among study participants. Initially the drug sold well, but when safety concerns were raised in 2002, sales began to decline. From the 1.3 million prescriptions issued in 1998, a mere 250,000 were written in 2009.

Back in 2002, the national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the weight loss drug, citing concerns over an increased risk of stroke and heart attack in some patients. The FDA refused the request, stating that the drug’s “overall risk-benefit profile supports it remaining available as a prescription drug for the treatment of appropriately selected obese patients.”

In September 2010, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that patients who took Meridia had a 28 percent higher risk of having a heart attack and a 36 percent greater risk of developing a stroke when compared to individuals on placebo. The study patient population consisted of 10,744 obese/overweight men and women who had type 2 diabetes or heart disease and a risk factor.

According to Abbott, Meridia is designed for individuals who need to lose 30 pounds or more, and it should be used along with a reduced-calorie diet. Now the FDA has decided that the drug’s “very modest weight loss” benefit does not outweigh the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Although Abbott has complied with the FDA’s request to withdraw Meridia from the US market, it disagrees with the agency’s conclusions about the drug’s risks. The European Union stopped sales of the diet drug in January 2010, and regulators in Canada and Australia had withdrawn the drug previously as well.

Hooters Employee Cassie Smith Alleges Weight Discrimination

This week, Cassandra Smith, a 20-year-old Hooters restaurant employee from Roseville, Michigan, states that during her annual evaluation on Friday, she was told that her uniform of shorts and shirt was no longer fitting properly and offered her a free gym membership to help her slim down.

She states that she was confused because she doesn’t wear the biggest uniform size that the company offers, which are small, extra small, and double extra small.

Cassie is almost 5’8” and weighs 132 pounds. For reference, according to the Metropolitan Life Tables for ideal weight for height, a woman at 5’8” with a medium frame would be considered at a healthy weight if she were between 136 and 150 pounds. Using the BMI tables, the same woman should weigh between 130 and 170 pounds to be within a healthy range.

According to Smith, two women from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA performed the evaluation along with the Roseville store manager via conference call. She has been given 30 days to improve or she would be separated from the company.

Hooters has issued a statement on the issue:
"Hooters of America Inc. announced today (Tuesday) that while the company does uphold image standards for the more than 17,000 Hooters girls currently serving in the more than 455 restaurants around the world, it does not impose any weight requirement. We will not make any comment on a current employee except to say that no employee in Michigan has been counseled about their weight. However, we will say that our practice of upholding an image standard based on appearance, attitude and fitness for Hooters girls is both legal and fair. It is not unlike the standard used by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders or the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes."

Neither the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders nor the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes have strict weight guidelines; however both do have requirements as it pertains to an employee’s appearance.

The Dallas Cowboys website states that a cheerleader should “look well proportioned in dancewear. We DO NOT have specific height and weight requirements; however, a lean figure is demanded by our uniform.”

The Radio City Hall Rockettes have height requirements – the girls must be between 5’6” and 5’10 1/2'” tall – but weight is not measured. The Rockettes must, however, undergo general health testing that includes “all sorts of things”, according to Susan Arons, vice president of public relations for Radio City Entertainment in New York. “(We) want healthy dancers, and dancers that can do the work,” Arons explains.

Lose Weight Fast, Keep It Off Longer

If you lose weight fast at the beginning of a diet, are you more likely to keep it off longer than if you lose weight slowly? Yes, according to the results of a University of Florida study, which provide some food for thought among those who are struggling with weight loss issues.

Americans spend an estimated $60 billion a year on weight loss programs and food. A 2005 review study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that of the ten most popular weight loss programs in the United States, only one provided documentation that it worked. In one of the studies reviewed, participants lost about 5 percent (10 lbs) of their starting weight in six months and had kept about half of it off two years later.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes in 2009 figures that more than one-third of adults in the United States—more than 72 million people—are obese, and that 16 percent of US children are obese. Since 1980, rates of obesity for adults have doubled and for children have tripled. Approximately one-third of Americans say they are on a diet at any given time, and 95 percent of people regain all the weight they lost within the time it took to lose it. This sounds like weight loss is a losing battle in more ways than one.

Although slow and steady weight loss may be the way to go for people who are overweight but not obese, the University of Florida study suggests that obese individuals will fare better in the long run if they lose weight quickly at the beginning of their program.

Lisa Nackers and her colleagues analyzed data for 262 middle-aged obese women who had participated in the TOURS (Treatment of Obesity in Underserved Rural Settings) trial. The women followed a program that encouraged them to reduce their caloric intake and increase their moderate exercise to achieve an average weight loss of 1 pound (0.45 kg) per week. This portion of the study lasted six months, and the women were then supported for an additional 12 months through a program that involved contact twice monthly via group sessions, newsletters, or telephone calls.

The women were grouped according to the amount of weight they lost during the first month of the program. Participants in the FAST group lost more than 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) per week, those in the MODERATE group lost between 0.5 and 1.5 pounds per week (0.23-0.68 kg), and those in the SLOW group lost less than 0.5 pounds per week (0.23 kg). The women’s weight was checked again at the end of six months and at 18 months.

Among people who are obese, successful weight loss is defined as a 10 percent or greater reduction of initial body weight maintained for at least 12 months. The researchers found that women in the FAST group lost more weight overall, maintained their weight loss for a longer period of time, and were less likely to regain the weight than women in the other two groups. Specifically, when compared with women in the SLOW group, those in the FAST group were 5.1 times more likely to reach the 10 percent weight loss goal at 18 months and women in the MODERATE group were 2.7 times more likely.

These findings indicate that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you are more likely to be successful if you lose weight fast at the start of your diet program. The study’s authors suggest that, “within lifestyle weight control programs, substantial efforts should be focused on promoting large rather than small behavioral changes during the initial weeks of treatment.”

Green Valley Spa Now Offers hCG Weight Loss Therapy

During this time of economic instability, there is a different type of belt tightening going on at a luxury destination spa in Utah’s red rock canyon country. Green Valley Spa has become the first destination spa in the U.S. to offer a medically guided weight loss program founded on the Simeons hCG hormone diet. Average weight loss on the 23-day program is a pound a day. The minimum stay for the hCG weight loss program at Green Valley is seven nights with a cost of $995.00 above the basic, all-inclusive spa package.

Over 30 people have already completed the three-week program, with very promising results. While most spas are reporting revenues down as much as 20% over this economically rocky time, Green Valley is experiencing a 30% increase in bookings over the same dates last year.

Gordon Reynolds, M.D., a former Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA and Loma Linda University with over 50 years of experience practicing medicine, including five at Green Valley, is very enthusiastic about offering the program.

“We are witnessing a resurgence of one of the only truly safe, successful weight loss programs for both men and women ever supported by five-year follow-up studies,” explains Dr. Reynolds, renowned for his work in holistic wellness built on a solidly traditional medical background and for founding the Life Fitness & Longevity Program at La Costa Spa in California in the late 1980s. “Not only did the hCG diet study reveal absolutely no negative side effects, but it also showed that 85% of the participants in the study remained within 10% of their newly achieved weight goal, with none regaining all their weight. No other program can claim this.”

The use of hCG in the treatment of obesity was discovered by the late British Physician, Dr. A. T. W. Simeons, and he published his first report on the topic in 1954. He devoted years to researching the causes and treatments of obesity and his work showed that with low doses of hCG and a 500 calorie a day diet, users reported no headaches, hunger pains, weakness, or irritability and an average weight loss of one pound a day and no muscle loss. Those interested in the program are invited to download Dr. Simeons’ complete study from the spa’s Website, at no cost to them.

“We opened this spa over two decades ago in concert with a program about resetting your fat thermostat,” explains Green Valley’s co-owner, Alan Coombs. “We’re thrilled to have come full circle to a proven, safe and permanent solution. And in these turbulent times, it is so gratifying to help people get control of a key part of their lives.”

Green Valley has garnered a list of accolades since it was founded 23 years ago by the Coombs family. The July 2008 issue of Health Magazine named the 50-room, family owned destination spa as one of the “Top Ten Healthiest Spas in America.” Luxury Spa Finder readers said Green Valley had the “Best Rooms” and the “Best Hiking” program of any U.S. destination spa while a Travel & Leisure Magazine Reader’s Poll named the luxury wellness retreat the #3 spa in the world.

Going Online Helps People With Weight Loss Stay In-line

Once a person loses weight they must battle in keeping those pounds off. A new study suggests that using interactive websites, specially designed to promote weight-loss maintenance, might help.

The study performed at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research was part of the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial, one of the largest and longest-running weight maintenance trials ever conducted lasting three years and including more than 1,600 people at four study sites across the United States.

What the study found was people who shed pounds and then consistently logged on to a specially designed internet sites for weight maintenance maintained more weight loss than participants who logged in less frequently.

Study's lead author, Kristine Funk, a research associate at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore, said, "The bottom line is that we think the Internet is a helpful tool for weight loss maintenance. People who used the study-designed interactive Web site had better results than people who used it less often."

"Keeping weight off is even more difficult than losing it in the first place, so the fact that so many people were able to maintain a good portion of their weight loss is very encouraging to us" says Victor J. Stevens, Ph.D., study co-author of the study.

Researchers say that there are many useful weight management websites that people can access. They advise people to look for these elements when choosing a site.

• Sites that encourage accountability by asking users to consistently record weight, exercise, and calories consumed
• Sites that include tailored or personalized information
• Sites with interactive features that allow users to communicate with each other and with nutrition and exercise experts
• Sites with accurate health information.

"Consistency and accountability are essential in any weight maintenance program. The unique part of this intervention was that it was available on the Internet, whenever and wherever people wanted to use it," said Funk.


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