Obesity and Health
Many assert that obesity causes health disorders, including high cholesterol and high triglycerides, and that kids and adults must shed the excess weight to get rid of them.
But in new groundbreaking research, Drs. Christian Roberts, James Barnard, and fellow scientists at UCLA found that many health abnormalities existed in both overweight/obese and normal-weight American children.1 That’s the bad news.
The good news is that both groups responded very favorably to a healthy lifestyle, namely, the diet and exercise guidelines of the Pritikin Program, and in just two week’s time, long before the obese children would have had the opportunity to shed much weight.
Triglyceride fat levels, for example, fell an average 38% among the obese children and 41% among the normal-weight kids. LDL (bad) cholesterol plummeted 25% in the obese children and 29% in the normal-weight youth.
The Real Cause of Health Problems
The implications of this study are profound. First, it suggests that the cause of metabolic and other health abnormalities is not obesity, per se. Rather, the cause is poor lifestyle, which in some children can also lead to obesity.
Secondly, the research shows that children who are overweight/obese need not wait the months or years it takes to shed lots of weight in order to see lots of improvement in health. In their first couple of weeks living Pritikin-style, their weight had fallen on average 8 pounds, from 207 to 199 pounds; yes, they were still overweight/obese. But that hadn’t stopped spectacular health results from happening.
In other research, the UCLA scientists documented similar benefits for obese adults.2
“In their first two weeks of following Pritikin’s healthy lifestyle, the men hadn’t had a chance to drop a lot of weight, but the health benefits they achieved were tremendous, and included dramatically lower levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, insulin, blood pressure, and inflammatory factors, and reversal of the metabolic syndrome, a pre-diabetic condition,” states senior investigator Dr. James Barnard.
“All these benefits, in just two weeks, and the weight was starting to come off. The men had lost on average 8 pounds. And because the Pritikin Program allows people to eat as much as they want of the many foods recommended, it is a plan – unlike those requiring food restrictions – which both adults and children can more realistically continue, and therefore continue to shed excess weight.”
Young and Thin, But Developing Plaque
Finally, the newly published research makes clear that overweight/obese children are not the only ones at risk of metabolic/cardiovascular disorders.
“Normal-weight children in America are also vulnerable and could also greatly benefit from learning and launching a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin,” states co-author and UCLA scientist Christian Roberts, PhD.