Category Archives: Weight Management

The Tale of Two Fats

Many people aren’t too thrilled with the fat on their bodies. But did you know that having some fat is actually beneficial to your health? In fact, fat stores energy, influences your ability to fight infections, regulates your blood pressure, and affects the way your blood forms clots. However, even though fat has its perks, many health issues can spring up when fat becomes excessive upon the body.

Our bodies store two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the useless fat that gathers beneath our skin. This type of fat is what my California plastic surgery practice can perform liposuction on. Interestingly enough, aside from a flattering look upon the removal of subcutaneous fat, no health benefits have been found.

It’s the visceral fat that you really have to watch out for. Stored in your abdomen, this is the evil fat that can cause serious health risks such as diabetes, cardiac disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension among other things. Meaning the less visceral fat you have, the better off you are.

However, don’t just think you are off the hook if you have a small belly. MRIs have shown that even people who aren’t obese can harbor large quantities of visceral fat. What could cause this in so many people? Heredity can play a part, causing fat to be more likely stored as visceral fat. But our unhealthy habits are usually the main cause. That extra scoop of ice cream, or even those extra few beers during the game, could be leading you down a road to health issues galore.

So how can we rid ourselves of visceral fat?

The only real way to ditch this unhealthy fat is to diet and exercise regularly. There are some medications available to help maintain weight as well as Bariatric surgery for patients suffering from obesity. There may even be a surgical procedure to remove visceral fat one of these. But until then, your health is ultimately in your hands and no one else’s.

To your health and beauty,

Vip Dev, MD

Study Says: Exercise Helps Even More as you Age

Everyone knows that regular exercise is essential for a healthy body. Here’s something new: researchers have been busy researching ways to delay the muscle shrinkage that comes with aging and sedentary lifestyle.

Dafna Benayahu, with the Tel Aviv University in Israel, and his colleagues studied lab rats to see whether endurance exercise would increase the number of muscle stem cells, which are the cells that decrease as humans age, leading to muscle weakness in the elderly.

They compared rats of different ages and sexes. What they found was pretty amazing: the number of muscle stem cells grew after the rats ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day for a 13-week period.

Although the younger rats showed a 20% to 35% increase in the average number of stem cells per muscle fiber retained, the older rats benefited even more, with a 33% to 47% increase in stem cells!

The researchers are hoping that this study will help them identify new ways to increase muscle stem cells in humans, so we could help maintain muscle strength as we age.

To your health & beauty,

Vip Dev, MD

Obesity linked to Depression and Vice Versa

The March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, reports a study that shows a connection between obesity and depression. Dr. Floriana Luppino of Leiden University Medical Center and GGZ Rivierduinen, Leiden, the Netherlands, and her colleagues analyzed the results of 15 previously published studies involving almost 60,000 participants. The researchers studied the longitudinal (over time) relationship between depression and obesity.

The research revealed associations between depression and obesity that went both ways—obese individuals tended to be depressed and depressed individuals tended to be obese. In fact, overweight persons had a 55% increased risk of developing depression, and depressed people had a 58% increased risk of developing depression.  The studies showed this tendency is higher among Americans than Europeans.

Among many physicians and researchers, obesity is considered an inflammatory body state and inflammation is closely linked with depression. Likewise, as most of us would suspect, since being thin is admired in the US, overweight or obese individuals are likely to have body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem which has been shown to create a higher risk for depression. Further, being depressed contributes to overeating to self-soothe, so it’s no surprised that depressed people tend to become overweight.

The findings are important for clinical practice, the authors note. “Because weight gain appears to be a late consequence of depression, care providers should be aware that within depressive patients weight should be monitored. In overweight or obese patients, mood should be monitored. This awareness could lead to prevention, early detection and co-treatment for the ones at risk, which could ultimately reduce the burden of both conditions,” they conclude.

Our Bakersfield weight loss program works well for those struggling with obesity. I encourage my readers to do whatever they can to keep their weight within a normal range–except for crash dieting which is never good for your health. Join a gym, take a daily walk, get a dog to encourage you to get out everyday and exercise, get a bike or a scooter. There’s alot you can do that, over time, will contribute to a normal weight and a healthier, longer life.

To your health and beauty,

Vip Dev, MD

Study Shows Obesity Increasing In Our Kids

Somehow I tend to think that California parents are different than parents in other parts of the US. That, being in an area where it’s sunny year-around and pleasant, and filled with new-agey families, that somehow our kids will end up robust and healthy, not like all those people in those 4-season-states where they spend too much time indoors to avoid the freezing temperatures.

However, a recent Permanente survey shows that 7% of elementary-school boys and 5% of elementary-school girls are already packing on the pounds at their young ages, and may already be setting themselves up for a lifetime of trouble–both socially and medically.

Corinna Koebnick, the leader of the study, is a nutritionist and research scientist for Kaiser right down in Pasadena. According to her, “A 10-year-old boy is supposed to weigh around 70 pounds, and an extremely obese 10-year-old weighs 114 pounds. That’s not merely a cosmetic issue. There’s growing evidence that being obese in childhood raises the risk of a host of serious health problems in adulthood, including heart disease and diabetes. These children will likely continue to be extremely obese adults.” Sad to say, you know she’s right.

710,949 children were studied from 2007 and 2008. Of these children, 37% were overweight, 19% were obese and 6% were considered extremely obese. I think these numbers are staggering!! That means over half the kids were fat, some dangerously so! As a physician with an adult weight management program in my practice, I am deeply concerned about the illnesses that these kids are going to experience because of their obesity. Yes, the Obama administration has targeted $10 billion over the next 10 years to improve school lunches and it’s true that alot of school lunches leave a great deal to be desired, that’s not going to make a dent for those kids who are overweight right now and who are in need of immediate changes.

What should you do to prevent obesity in your kids or nip it in the bud if it’s already happening?

  1. Know your child’s BMI. If looking at your kids doesn’t tell you whether or not they are overweight, then their Body Mass Index will. Ask your pediatrician to measure your child’s BMI or, better yet, visit an online child BMI calculator and you’ll know right away.
  2. Quit buying sugary beverages—even something as good as orange juice still has alot of sugar in it, but at least it’s missing the chemicals in soft drinks and sugary “fruit drinks”. Sparkling water is a wonderful alternative if you can get your kids to drink it–add some pure fruit juice to it and it will be similar to fruity soda. These fruit spritzers are refreshing but low in both calories and refined carbs.
  3. Get your kids busy and out of the house. Play, play, play. Play with them. They will do what you do. If you are a couch potato, they’ll be couch potatoes. Not only will getting out and playing with the kids contribute to better health for both of you but it will contribute to great time as a family too, and who wouldn’t benefit from that?