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U.S obesity rates unchanged
January 17th, 2012
02:04 PM ET

U.S obesity rates unchanged

The prevalence of obesity in the United States seems to have plateaued, according to data released Tuesday.  The numbers show 35.7% of U.S. adults and almost 17% of U.S. children and teens are obese.

"There's been no change in the prevalence of obesity in recent years in children or adults," says Cynthia L Ogden, Ph.D, an epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and the leading author of the report.  "But I think looking over the last decade, it's interesting to see how the prevalence of obesity in men has caught up with the prevalence of obesity in women."

Ogden and her team compiled the data from 2009-2010 using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey measured the height and weight of almost 6,000 men and women and calculated their Body Mass Index (commonly known as BMI) to determine if they were obese.
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Why you can't sleep when you're in pain
January 17th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Why you can't sleep when you're in pain

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

Patients often come to me with symptoms they describe as "fatigue" or "tiredness." The first task is to tease out exactly what they mean. To a sleep doctor, fatigue and tiredness usually mean the body needs or wants to rest, whereas "sleepiness" suggests that the mind wants to rest.

Patients with any pain syndrome often come in complaining of fatigue or tiredness. Their bodies have trouble falling and staying asleep. Sleep and pain are both ultimately controlled by the central nervous system. Poor sleep and pain form a vicious cycle - uncontrolled pain makes sleep difficult (if not impossible) and, in turn, the resulting poor sleep makes it more difficult to adequately control the pain.

Most physicians know very well that poorly controlled pain will cause difficulty sleeping. But they often don’t think about the patient having a separate sleep disorder that may be fueling the pain.
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Head injuries and excess weight a hazardous combo for NFL players
Linebackers and linemen tend to make helmet-to-helmet contact on nearly every play.
January 17th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Head injuries and excess weight a hazardous combo for NFL players

Professional football players already vulnerable to memory loss and cognitive problems stemming from repetitive head injuries may be at even greater risk if they also carry excess weight, as many of them do.

In a small new study of retired NFL players, researchers found that overweight players had less blood flow to key areas of the brain and lower scores on mental-function tests than former players of normal weight.

"There was a very significant relationship: As their weight went up, their reasoning scores and memory and attention scores went down," says the senior study author, Daniel G. Amen, M.D., founder and medical director of Amen Clinics, a neuropsychiatry clinic and research center based in Newport Beach, California.
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Paula Deen: Diabetes is not 'a death sentence'
January 17th, 2012
09:04 AM ET

Paula Deen: Diabetes is not 'a death sentence'

Paula Deen, star of the Food Network’s “Paula’s Best Dishes,” built her reputation on traditional Southern favorites such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet tea and butter lots and lots of butter.

For years her show and articles such as “7 Things Paula Deen Fried and Ate” sparked rumors that the cooking icon had diabetes. She was often criticized for promoting food high in fat and calories at a time when about a third of American adults are considered obese.

Now Deen is going public with a diagnosis she received three years ago during a regular checkup with her doctor: She has Type 2 diabetes.

“I’m great,” she said on NBC’s "Today' show Tuesday morning. “I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence.”
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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