Thursday, April 20, 2006

The very shaky "link" between obesity and depression

Today the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry published an article that the media has picked up upon that states that depression is more prevalent in obese patients.

The Montreal Gazette states, "Obesity-depression link is confirmed", CanWest News Service states, "Obesity, depression have same root causes, study suggests".

So what did the study state? It stated that 19% of obese Canadians were depressed compared with "only" 15% of the general population.

To me that sure doesn't seem like a slam-dunk difference.

There are many co-morbdities associated for obesity that apparently were not controlled that almost certainly could contribute to the development of depression. Things like pain from increased incidences of osteoarthritis, worry from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, bias and discrimination in the workplace, frustration with weight loss difficulties.

As well, the majority of medications used in the treatment of depression themselves directly lead to weight gain and while the medication induced weight gain is not always dramatic, it can be.

Bottom line for me is that there are a lot of realities commonly associated with obesity that are in and of themselves depressing and there are a lot of realities associated with the treatment of depression that are in and of themselves obesogenic.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The American Board of Bariatric Medicine

Did you know that the only medical body in North America that offers any form of certification in Obesity Medicine is the American Board of Bariatric Medicine?

I find it astounding that despite weight and diet related illness being the second most preventable cause of death in North America, contributing billions of dollars in health care costs and dramatically affecting patients' qualities of life, that there is only one organization specifically designed to certify and educate physicians in the whys and wherefores of weight management.

Having gone to medical school in the 1990s, I can tell you first hand that weight management was certainly not something discussed in more than an, "eat less, exercise more" manner.

While at the end of the day of course that's what weight loss comes down to, weight is complicated. It's a complex interplay involving genetics, learned behaviour, co-existing medical problems, medication, and lifestyle and there's no question that the average family doctor probably was not taught enough to properly address it.

I can only hope that over the course of the coming years, medical schools and residency programs start taking obesity seriously and help educate future physicians not only in weight management, but also helps teach them how to compassionately address this sensitive and complicated issue.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Nutricate Receipt - Great idea!

The Nutricate Corporation based out of Santa Barbara, California has come up with a brilliant new receipt for restaurants - the Nutricate Receipt which provides nutritional information regarding the meal you've just paid for.

I love this idea, but it would be better if at the bottom of the receipt it would give a breakdown of how long you'd have to exercise to burn off those calories. For instance in their demo receipt some poor soul had 931 calories for lunch. In order to burn that off he/she'd have to walk at 3.5mph for 3.5 HOURs or cycle at 10mph for 2.2 HOURs.

So was that turkey sandwich and fries really worth it?