The Week That Wasn't: Obesity, Breast Feeding, Physical Activity

Narrated by John Whyte, MD


May 03, 2019

Hi, I'm John Whyte, chief medical officer for WebMD/Medscape. Welcome to The Week That Wasn't. This is where we cover trending medical stories our news team didn't cover.

First up, a study from the European Congress on Obesity meeting in Scotland earlier this week. Researchers presented data linking severe obesity to a 50% increase in the risk for early death. They also found having a BMI of 40 or higher is associated with a 12-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a 22-time greater risk for sleep apnea.

Although Medscape has extensive coverage of the ECO conference, the conclusions of this study seem obvious, so we skipped it. At this point, what physician doesn't understand the dangers of carrying excess body weight?

Moving on to a World Health Organization investigation looking at obesity rates of more than 100,000 children in 22 countries. It concluded that formula-fed babies are 25% more likely to become obese vs babies given breast milk.

Why breast milk protects against unhealthy body composition is still somewhat of a mystery. The researchers speculate that formula may stimulate the growth of more and larger fat cells, while breast milk helps balance hormones and optimize the gut microbiome.

Most professional medical guidelines agree that breast-feeding is the healthiest choice for both moms and babies, although not all research in this area has been conclusive. This study does offer some valuable insights we may choose to explore in the future.

Moving on to two studies published in the journal Cell Metabolism that attempt to pin down the best time of day for physical activity. The first study found that morning workouts are best for shedding pounds, while the second found that evening exercise is best for optimal physical performance.

Did I mention that both of these are mouse studies? That's why we passed on coverage. Most of us don't run on a wheel in a lab, so we're a ways off from translating these findings into clinical recommendations.

For Medscape's The Week That Wasn't, this is John Whyte. Thanks for watching.

Script by Liz Neporent; video production by John Rodriguez

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