Obesity

Obesity in Paradise

“I’m so worried for my life because I know I’m too heavy,” he tells SBS Dateline. “I’m so worried because I really love my wife and my kids and my family.”

Tavita is from Apia, the capital of Samoa, where there is an obesity crisis.

A former taxi driver, he would drink two litres of sugary soft drinks each day and regularly eat mutton flaps, a cheap cut of fatty meat imported from New Zealand.

Why exercising in the cold isn't such a bad idea after all

Did you know when our bodies are exposed to cold over time, they actually start to change to keep themselves warm?

"We start to build up a tissue ... that we call brown adipose tissue — so brown fat," Dr Dino Premilovac from the University of Tasmania said.

"It's more muscle-like than it is fat-like in what it does.

"If we expose our bodies to the cold environment, the way our bodies deal with it over a long period of time is to produce more brown fat."

Brown fat's purpose in the body is to produce heat to warm up the blood, in turn keeping the body warm.

Broken fat switch

Scientists at Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute believe they have found a mechanism in the brain that coordinates the conversion of food into white fat or brown fat in the body.

The study was conducted on mice, but evidence suggests it would likely apply to humans as well.

White fat is how humans store energy, and excess storage leads to obesity, while brown fat actually produces heat and burns energy.

Food health-rating labels failing to reveal added sugars, study finds

Professor Bruce Neal from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney reviewed more than 34,000 packaged foods with health-star ratings.

These are the voluntary front-of-pack labels, designed to help people make healthier choices.

But health experts said naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables and dairy were treated the same as sugars added during food processing.

World's most obese nation

recent study found that more than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of that -- but this is nothing new.

Pregnancy weight gain a health concern

But increasingly, there is a new concern.

It is estimated about half of Australian women are entering pregnancy overweight or obese, with many putting on excessive weight while pregnant.

Jane Raymond, manager of Maternity and Newborn in NSW Health, said weight gain tends to be cumulative and lasting during child-bearing years..

"Pregnancy now is called an independent risk factor for obesity," Ms Raymond said.

Increasingly, research is linking a pregnant mum's weight to the health of her child.

Sugar tax would prolong Australians' lives more than two years, Melbourne researchers find

In an article to be published in the PLOS (Public Library of Science) Magazine, modelling by the university's Centre for Public Health Policy concludes that taxing foods that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fats — as well as subsidising fruit and vegetables — would also save $3.4 billion in healthcare costs.

"The study suggests that taxes and subsidies on foods and beverages can potentially be combined to achieve substantial improvements in population health and cost savings to the health sector," the article reads.

Dietitians plead: Don't be afraid of eating fruit if going sugar-free, fructose-free

"I think there is a bit of confusion about where sugar is found and which are the ones we should be reducing and which are the ones we should be including," dietitian Charlene Grosse told ABC Radio Perth.

Ms Grosse said the mainstream promotion of sugar-free diet programs, constant warnings about the consumption of soft drinks and fruit juice, and reports about the impact of high-fructose corn syrup additives had fed into a belief that even fresh fruit could be bad for your health.

Intense cleanse, weight loss, kick-start: Will a detox diet really rid your body of toxins and make you healthier?

Promising to rid your body of the "toxins" resulting from poor diet and lifestyle, the claim is these diets will leave you cleansed and revitalised — and perhaps a few kilos lighter to boot.

But do these programs, which often involve consuming expensive powders and potions, really do anything to improve your health?

Want to avoid looking like Santa this festive season? Here are some ways to avoid a holiday blowout

It's no wonder the festive season is a peak time for weight gain many of us spend the entire year ahead trying to reverse.