Obesity and Sleep Apnea

More than one-third of Americans are now obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a risk factor for many medical conditions, and is considered a major risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. Simply put, sleep apnea is a disorder in which one's airway becomes obstructed while asleep, causing loud snoring in less severe cases to a complete cessation of breathing, cardiac arrhythmias and low blood oxygen levels in the most severe cases. The repeated episodes of apnea (lack of breathing) cause frequent nighttime awakening (though the patient is often unaware) with broken, choppy, and sometimes non-restorative sleep. The problem is usually first noticed by the individual's spouse, who is disturbed by the patient's loud snoring.

Individuals with the disorder often complain of morning headaches, constant fatigue, listlessness and moodiness. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common in obese individuals. It is believed that the airway of the individual becomes obstructed by large tonsils, enlarged tongue and increased fat in the neck, all pressing on the airway when the pharyngeal (throat) muscles are relaxed with sleep. A person's neck circumference is a good indicator of sleep apnea. Obese men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or greater, and obese women with a neck circumference of 16 inches or greater are more likely to have sleep apnea.

Not only does obesity have an association with sleep apnea, but sleep apnea and poor sleep, tends to cause people to eat more. There seems to be a relationship between hunger and satiety hormones and sleep deprivation, though the exact nature of this relationship is unclear. Also, individuals with sleep apnea often have elevated blood pressure, fasting glucose, and high cholesterol, all of which can be made worse with sleep deprivation. Obesity can lead to sleep apnea, which, itself, then causes problems with hormones that control eating habits, leading to more weight gain, worsened blood pressure, glucose intolerance, worsened apnea and a continued unhealthy cycle.

More Information Here:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021364/

5 Tips to Sleep Better

Updated: 4/27/18 Research indicates that lack of proper sleep and poor sleep quality can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and slow weight loss while following a diet. The amount you need depends on your age and lifestyle. As few as six hours or as many as 11 hours may be appropriate for some people although most adults need seven to nine hours. 

Try these 5 tips to help you achieve the right amount of sleep.

1. Cut the caffeine!  Stick to 2 cups or less of caffeinated coffee and tea per day.  Even small amounts of caffeine in the afternoon or evening can make it harder to rest when it's time for bed. Keep water near your bed as dehydration is the primary cause of shallow sleep.

2.  Clear your mind!  Have too much on your mind?  Wind down without electronics. Practice meditation, jot down your thoughts in a notebook next to bed, or listen to calming music to put aside your worries from the day.

3.  Get comfortable!  Make your bedroom an ideal place to fall asleep.  Avoid computers, cell phones, and TVs an hour before bed, and dim any night lights.  The bright lights can trick your brain into thinking it's earlier in the day. Take a warm bath or shower.  Make your bed comfortable, get the room temperature how you like it, and relax.

4.  Stick to a schedule!  Set a time to go to bed and wake up each day, and stick to those scheduled times.  Move your alarm clock across the room if you have trouble passing up the snooze button.  This helps get your body's internal clock get on a  healthy routine.

5.  Get active!  Exercise daily - but finish up your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.  Research* has found that regular exercise can improve sleep quality.

More Information About Sleep and Obesity Here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/

*Source:  http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2010/09/aerobic-exercise-relieves-insomnia.html

Water Intake Crucial for Weight Loss

Udpated: 5/21/18 pitcher

Improving overall hydration is a common tool used in weight loss. How important is your water intake?

A 2016 study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, found a significant link between inadequate hydration and obesity.

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between hydration and weight status among U.S. adults, and examined a sample from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2012 to compare hydration levels with BMI.  Urine osmality was used to assess hydration levels, allowing for a more accurate analysis, as this is a more effective measure of hydration levels than water intake alone because it factors in water and solutes consumed from other beverages and foods.  From the sample, about 32% of individuals were considered inadequately hydrated, and were found to have higher BMI's and greater odds of being obese compared to the hydrated adults.

Overall, this study determined a significant association between proper water intake and weight management.  These results emphasize the importance of consuming adequate amounts of water while following a weight loss program.

How much water do you consume in a day?

Original Article Here: http://www.annfammed.org/content/14/4/320.full.pdf+html

Sugary Beverages and Childhood Obesity

Updated: 8/22/18 Beverages that contain a high sugar content are a contributing cause to the epidemic of childhood and teen obesity.  What kind of beverages are your children consuming at school?

Sugar-rich drinks such as soda, sports and energy drinks, and flavored teas have become highly popular over the last decade, and particularly so among the young population.  The amount of these types of beverages that are being consumed, as well as the size of those beverages, has increased greatly.  Along with this increase, comes a larger risk for obesity, dental problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

One 12-ounce can of regular soda has around 150 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and almost 40 grams of sugar!  These extra calories contribute to weight gain - and extra weight is the largest cause of childhood type 2 diabetes.

When suffering from type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal or the body's cells ignore the insulin that is produced.  Insulin is needed for the body to use glucose for energy.  One study has indicated that individuals that consume high amounts of sugary beverages have a 26% greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugary beverage consumption can help improve glucose and insulin levels in children, in an effort to prevent childhood diabetes and weight gain.

Be cautious of fruit juice as well.  While fruit juice is often perceived as a healthy beverage, some juices can be just as unhealthy as soda.  The amount of sugar that a fruit juice contains may be as much, or more, than soft drinks and the benefits that come from vitamins in juice are outweighed by the amount of sugar.


1. Pay attention to nutrition labels when grocery shopping.  Juices marketed as "100% Pure" or "Organic" may not necessarily be accurate.  Read the nutrition label!

2. Don't be fooled by the word "fruit".  "Fruit" is thought of as healthy food, and gives the mindset that items that use the word "fruit", are healthy.  Watch out for "fruit" products that are filled with added sugar and calories.

To avoid the negative effects that sugary drinks have on health, encourage children to consume sugar in moderation and to consume adequate amounts of water.  Promote healthy beverage choices at home and replace sugary beverages with water, milk or real fruit and vegetable juices.

Sources: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2477

and http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/preventing-type-2-in-children.html

Getting Active to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Updated:  8/22/18 Physical activity and exercise is a crucial part of keeping children healthy and preventing childhood obesity and disease.

Here's some ways to help get your family active:

1. Create an open discussion with children and explain why it's important to sit less and move more, to become and stay healthy.

2. Limit "screen time" each day.  Give kids a set amount of time that they may spend watching television, playing video games, or using the computer.  Encourage kids to use this time for physical activities.  When kids are spending time in front of the TV, teach them to move during commercials.

3. Create exercise and activity goals for the entire family.  Include individual goals, and activities that the family will participate in together.  Set realistic and specific goals, such as walking or biking for 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

4. Make exercise fun with your family by choosing an exciting activity - dance, play tag, go on the swings at a park, go swimming, play Frisbee.

5. Park your car farther away - have kids count the number of steps it takes to get to your destination.

6. Encourage children to join sports teams.  This a great way to encourage exercise and to make friends, learn how to work as a team and have fun!

Each of our clinic’s 30 free Pro-Teen programs – which include all medical set-up, lab work, 10-weeks of weight loss services and all nutritional supplements, and are valued more than $500 each – will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis from Sept. 1 to 30, 2016, using an online entry system at www.mwlcgiveaway.com.  Applicants must complete a short entry form and describe in 100 words or less why they are interested in MWLC’s Pro-Teen weight-loss services.

Creating Healthy Eating Environments for Children

Updated: 8/2/18 The food and behavior choices of children are shaped by the eating environments that surround them, access to healthy and fresh food, and product marketing.  Creating a healthy eating environment for children helps prevent childhood obesity and can leave a lasting positive impact into adulthood.

Here are some ways to promote a healthy eating environment for your kids:applebanana

1. Keep a variety of fresh fruits within reach of your children - this will encourage them to grab a healthy snack.

2. Inform children about nutrition and why it's important to eat healthy foods.  Discuss the different food groups and what foods fit into each group.

3. Provide healthy beverages, such as water and fruit juice.  Limit foods and drinks that contain added sugar.

4. If available, create a garden at home and grow fresh fruits and vegetables.  Involving kids in gardening fresh vegetables will encourage them to eat them.

5. Cook meals at home where you have control over ingredients and portion sizes.  Prepare plates in the kitchen before serving a meal and sit down to eat a family meal together when possible.

7. Pack lunches with your kids - if they are invested in what they will be eating, they are more likely to enjoy the food and not throw healthy items away.

Each of our clinic’s 30 free Pro-Teen programs – which include all medical set-up, lab work, 10-weeks of weight loss services and all nutritional supplements, and are valued more than $500 each – will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis from Sept. 1 to 30, 2016, using an online entry system at www.mwlcgiveaway.com.  Applicants must complete a short entry form and describe in 100 words or less why they are interested in MWLC’s Pro-Teen weight-loss services.

Consequences of Childhood Obesity

Updated:  8/22/18 Did you know that today, about one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are considered overweight or obese, and this number continues to rise?  The negative consequences associated with this excess weight in children, ranges from physical to psychological and social.  The impact of obesity in childhood can have life-long effects and lead to a shorter life expectancy, making this an extremely important health issue.

For children and adolescents, adult BMI categories are further divided by sex and age, due to changes that occur during growth and development.  Growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are used to determine children’s BMI.  Children and adolescents with a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentile are considered to be a healthy weight.  Children with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentiles are generally considered to be overweight, and those with a BMI at or above the sex-and age-specific 95th percentile of the population on this growth chart are typically considered obese.

Overweight and obesity are the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and are influenced by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Childhood overweight and obesity can lead to health consequences into adulthood, and obese children and teens are more likely to become obese adults.  Children who are obese have a greater risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and asthma, joint problems, fatty liver disease, gallstones, and heartburn, and psychological issues such as poor self-esteem and depression.

Childhood obesity can be prevented through the actions of children and their parents. Promoting an environment of healthy eating and physical activity for children can help reduce the risk of obesity and the negative consequences that come with this condition.

Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

and https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html

Are Diet Soda Drinks Better Than Regular Soda?

Updated: 10/25/18 Simple logic would suggest that swapping a full sugar drink for a diet version cuts calories from your diet, yet such drinks have a mixed reputation. There is public concern about some sweeteners and current research is concluded that low-calorie sweeteners may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Studies looking at large groups of people have shown obese people tend to drink more fizzy diet drinks than those maintaining a healthy weight.

A study of US adults in the American Journal of Public Health showed 11% who were a healthy weight, 19% of those who were overweight and 22% who were obese drank diet beverages.

A study in the journal Obesity that followed 3,700 people for eight years showed those consuming the low-calorie sweeteners put on the most weight.  The researchers were left asking the question: Are artificial sweeteners fueling, rather than fighting, the very epidemic they were designed to block causing weight gain or are obese people turning to the diet drinks in effort to control their weight?

People may assume diet beverages must be healthy choices because they are not sugary beverages, but the critical thing for people to understand is we don't have the evidence, and further research needs to be done.  Although experts say that in an ideal world we'd all be drinking water, a study in Obesity journal even suggests "pre-loading" with water half an hour before eating actually helps people lose weight.  A diet beverage would be useful to have in your diet as a transition, from drinking regular soda every day if you find it too difficult to stop.

Learn more about making healthy choices by calling Medical Weight Loss Clinic at 1-800-GET-SLIM!