‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hey Kids, (Don't) Eat Your Heart Out

Everyone in a developed country not living in a cave can attest to hearing or reading about obesity. Whether it's TV news, the newspaper (paper?), news on your phone, or NPR (where news matters), basically, obesity is anything but the elephant in the room... So to speak. I generally loath reading articles and commentary about such weighty problems. But (and there's always one), I happened upon some interesting new research worth sharing.

Weight gain is very common during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This is not surprising; teenagers are used to being able to eat anything and everything at anytime and not gain any weight. However, when growth slows and inevitably stops, those 5 packets of two-minute noodles followed by a pizza, a can of fluorescent aerosol 'cheese' and a sleeve or two of double-stuffed Oreos, won't aid in keeping that girlish (or boyish) figure.

A new, and pretty landmark study followed a large cohort (almost 14,000) of US middle and high school students for 12 years. The researchers wanted to assess if BMI trajectories over the 12 years were associated with cardiovascular disease risk and other health markers.

The results showed:
  • Weight gain between ages 15-20 was associated with a greater chance of type II diabetes and high blood pressure compared to gaining weight between the ages of 20-27
    • Why? It's hypothesised that time spent at an elevated BMI compounds diabetes risk due to a loss of insulin efficiency over time, AKA insulin resistance (see ball boy analogy)
  • Current BMI (rather than weight gain over time) was more predictive of blood pressure status
    • Why? Likely due to the immediate effects of weight gain on blood pressure: The heart has to work harder to pump blood, etc
So as it turns out, lifestyle and weight trajectories during this transitional period do set the scene for health or health problems down the road. This information will (hopefully) inform parents, policy makers and health care providers to push for education at this critical age, where, let's face it: teens and pregnant women alike would murder a tub of ice cream using a mars bar as a spoon.
It's preferable to grow upward, rather than outward.

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