business news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that a new study by Wake Forest University suggests that obesity continues to be a problem for Americans, and that the nation's weight problem is having specific and dramatic effects on a variety of other health issues.

"Among 6,814 middle-age or older adults participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, or "MESA" study, researchers found that more than two thirds of white, African American and Hispanic participants were overweight and one third to one half were obese.," the report says. However, not every ethnic group is impacted to the same extent: "Obesity rates were far lower in Chinese Americans in the study, with 33 percent overweight and just 5 percent obese."

Reuters writes, "The investigators also found that obese adults, compared with normal-weight adults, had higher rates of high blood pressure (up to more than twice as high), abnormal lipids (two- to three-fold higher), and diabetes .. Obese adults also had more silent vascular disease (blood vessel disease that causes no symptoms); they had more atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and thicker heart walls, even after adjusting for 'traditional' risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels."

The report also notes that these conditions are becoming far more evident despite the fact that enormous sums of money are being spent on a wide variety of medications. Which reinforces the notion that there is a significant economic impact as well.

KC's View:
I went public a few weeks ago with what I thought was a pretty good story about my own weight loss of about 35 pounds, and a change of lifestyle that has gotten me into pretty good shape.

But I have to tell you that there were two encounters that I had at the recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show that were really inspiring, and put my own loss into perspective.

One was with Chef Paul Prudhomme, who I interviewed for our new FoodWireTV program. Prudhomme told me that he spent much of his life between 400 and 500 pounds, and now is about to dip below 200. "I eat anything I want, I eat everything I want," he said with an enormous smile. "I just eat less of it."

And I also bumped into Mike Julian, who has run a number of retailers around the US and currently is president/CEO of McLane International's import/export business. I don't Mike would mind my saying that he has lost an enormous amount of weight, and that I didn’t even recognize him when I saw him – it was only his name badge that gave him away.

These guys are inspirational. They speak to what is possible.