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Obesity has six types not one

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The six groups identified by researchers from the University of Sheffield in Britain are young males who were heavy drinkers, middle-aged individuals who were unhappy and anxious, older people who despite living with physical health conditions were happy, younger healthy females, older affluent healthy adults and individuals with very poor health…reports¬†Asian Lite, UK’s leading newspaper for British Asians

Obesity Tummy There are six different types of obese people and targeting them by type results in better treatment than a one-size-fits-all approach, says a study.

The six groups identified by researchers from the University of Sheffield in Britain are young males who were heavy drinkers, middle-aged individuals who were unhappy and anxious, older people who despite living with physical health conditions were happy, younger healthy females, older affluent healthy adults and individuals with very poor health.

“Policies designed to tackle obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles often target individuals just because they are obese. But a focus on just the group as a whole is not very efficient,” said lead researcher Mark Green.

The research showed that those in the groups that we identified will respond differently to different health promotion policies, he pointed out.

The researchers suggested that alcohol reduction could help tackle obesity in young adults while for middle-aged individuals who are unhappy and anxious, an intervention involving increasing exercise mixed with psycho-social counselling could be beneficial.

Young healthy females may not need any intervention, the study noted.

For those in the poorest health group, the study showed, advice surrounding exercise may not be reasonable and much more modest goals may be needed and for the affluent healthy elderly weight loss could be a priority.

For the study, the researchers used data from the Yorkshire Health Study which included 4,144 obese individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Public Health.

 

Taming Dementia

But there is a good news for obese. In a surprising finding, a large study shows that middle-aged obese people have a significant — nearly 30 percent — lower risk of developing dementia than people of a healthy weight.

The findings based on medical records of nearly two million people contradicts results from some previous research, which suggested that obesity leads to an increased risk of getting diagnosed with the disorder.

“Our results also open up an intriguing new avenue in the search for protective factors for dementia,” said professor Stuart Pocock from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“If we can understand why people with a high BMI (body mass index) have a reduced risk of dementia, it’s possible that further down the line, researchers might be able to use these insights to develop new treatments for dementia,” Pocock pointed out.

For the study, the researchers analysed the medical records of nearly two million (1,958,191) people with an average (median) age of 55 years at the start of the study period, and an average (median) BMI of 26.5 kg/m2 (kilograms/square metre) — just within the range usually classed as overweight.

During an average (median) of nine years follow-up, nearly fifty thousand (45,507) people were diagnosed with dementia.

People who were underweight in middle age were a third (34 percent) more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those of a healthy weight, and this increased risk of dementia persisted even 15 years after the underweight was recorded.

As participants’ BMI at middle age increased, the risk of dementia reduced, with very obese people (BMI greater than 40 kg/m2) 29 percent less likely to get dementia than people in the normal weight range, the researchers noted.

“The reasons why a high BMI might be associated with a reduced risk of dementia are not clear, and further work is needed to understand why this might be the case,” the study’s lead author Nawab Qizilbash from OXON Epidemiology, a London/Madrid-based clinical research organisation, noted.

“If increased weight in mid-life is protective against dementia, the reasons for this inverse association are unclear at present. Many different issues related to diet, exercise, frailty, genetic factors, and weight change could play a part,” Qizilbash said.

The research was published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.