U.S. adults continue to put on the pounds. New data show that nearly 40 percent of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier, federal health officials reported Friday.
The prevalence of severe obesity in U.S. adults is also rising, heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. According to the latest data, published Friday in JAMA, 7.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese in the same period.
The data – gathered in a large-scale federal survey that is considered the gold standard for health data – measured trends in obesity from 2015 and 2016 back to 2007 and 2008, when 5.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese and 33.7 percent were obese. The survey counted people with a body mass index of 30 or more as obese, and those with a BMI of 40 or more as severely obese.
Through the years scientists have gleaned that obesity can impact a person’s ability to taste, but until recently it’s been unclear why.
Researchers at Cornell University report the discovery that, in mice, a tiny amount of inflammation driven by obesity actually reduced the number of taste buds on their tongues. Their work was published this week (March 20) in the journal PLOS Biology, and it may wind up aiding the development of new therapies to alleviate what’s called “taste dysfunction” among people who suffer from obesity.
As part of their work, the researchers split lab mice into two groups and fed each group a different diet for eight weeks. The first group ate a standard rodent chow, comprised of 14% fat, 54% carbohydrate, and 32% protein. The second group got a high-fat diet consisting of 58.4% fat, 26.6% carbohydrate, and 15% protein, which led to obesity in the group.
FALLS CHURCH, VA. — FOR decades, the educated and affluent have flocked to communities in northern Virginia, which boasts excellent schools, high-quality health care and easy access to the nation’s capital.
But of all the communities in the region – and indeed, the country – one tops the rest when it comes to measuring the crucial social and physical factors that combine to shape the health and well-being of its residents.
That community is Falls Church, a roughly 2-square-mile city nestled between the much larger counties of Arlington and Fairfax that holds the No. 1 spot in the inaugural U.S. News rankings of the Healthiest Communities in America. The project, created in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, scores nearly 3,000 communities across 80 metrics that extend beyond health coverage and doctors’ visits to social determinants like income, housing and public safety, aiming to determine how location and circumstances affect the overall health of Americans across the country.
A strong economy, top-notch school system and safe neighborhoods helped Falls Church – originally settled more than 300 years ago and incorporated as an independent city in 1948 – trump top 10 places in Colorado, Massachusetts and elsewhere in Virginia to earn the title of America’s Healthiest Community. Home to more than 14,000 people and branding itself “The Little City,” it’s striving to preserve its small-town feel amid a shift from sleepy Virginia suburb to bustling burg on the outskirts of Washington.
“It’s a small place that a lot of people don’t know about really, but it’s got a great quality of life, and it’s just a little bit like Mayberry,” Mayor David Tarter says. “It’s a place that still has that feel, maybe from a bygone day, where people walk and they talk to each other, they know each other, they know each other’s kids and families, they look out for each other. Yet they have the nation’s capital just a short train ride away.”