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Concept: Body shape


Background Although the rising pandemic of obesity has received major attention in many countries, the effects of this attention on trends and the disease burden of obesity remain uncertain. Methods We analyzed data from 68.5 million persons to assess the trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adults between 1980 and 2015. Using the Global Burden of Disease study data and methods, we also quantified the burden of disease related to high body-mass index (BMI), according to age, sex, cause, and BMI in 195 countries between 1990 and 2015. Results In 2015, a total of 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults were obese. Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in more than 70 countries and has continuously increased in most other countries. Although the prevalence of obesity among children has been lower than that among adults, the rate of increase in childhood obesity in many countries has been greater than the rate of increase in adult obesity. High BMI accounted for 4.0 million deaths globally, nearly 40% of which occurred in persons who were not obese. More than two thirds of deaths related to high BMI were due to cardiovascular disease. The disease burden related to high BMI has increased since 1990; however, the rate of this increase has been attenuated owing to decreases in underlying rates of death from cardiovascular disease. Conclusions The rapid increase in the prevalence and disease burden of elevated BMI highlights the need for continued focus on surveillance of BMI and identification, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to address this problem. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.).

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Overweight, Body mass index, Body shape, Bariatrics, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Variation in the human fecal microbiota has previously been associated with body mass index (BMI). Although obesity is a global health burden, the accumulation of abdominal visceral fat is the specific cardio-metabolic disease risk factor. Here, we explore links between the fecal microbiota and abdominal adiposity using body composition as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in a large sample of twins from the TwinsUK cohort, comparing fecal 16S rRNA diversity profiles with six adiposity measures.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, Body mass index, 16S ribosomal RNA, Abdomen, Body shape


To investigate whether improving adherence to healthy dietary patterns interacts with the genetic predisposition to obesity in relation to long term changes in body mass index and body weight.

Concepts: Genetics, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Body shape, Weight gain, Body weight


Obesity, typically quantified in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding threshold values, is considered a leading cause of premature death worldwide. For given body size (BMI), it is recognized that risk is also affected by body shape, particularly as a marker of abdominal fat deposits. Waist circumference (WC) is used as a risk indicator supplementary to BMI, but the high correlation of WC with BMI makes it hard to isolate the added value of WC.

Concepts: Death, Obesity, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Value added, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


BACKGROUND: We have previously identified in a study of both self-reported body mass index (BMI) and clinically measured BMI that the sensitivity score in the obese category has declined over a 10-year period. It is known that self-reported weight is significantly lower that measured weight and that self-reported height is significantly higher than measured height. The purpose of this study is to establish if self-reported height bias or weight bias, or both, is responsible for the declining sensitivity in the obese category between self-reported and clinically measured BMI. METHODS: We report on self-reported and clinically measured height and weight from three waves of the Surveys of Lifestyle Attitudes and Nutrition (SLÁN) involving a nationally representative sample of Irish adults. Data were available from 66 men and 142 women in 1998, 147 men and 184 women in 2002 and 909 men and 1128 women in 2007. Respondents were classified into BMI categories normal (<25 kg/m(2)), overweight (25-<30 kg/m(2)) and obese (≥30 kg/m(2)). RESULTS: Self-reported height bias has remained stable over time regardless of gender, age or clinical BMI category. Self-reported weight bias increases over time for both genders and in all age groups. The increased weight bias is most notable in the obese category. CONCLUSIONS: BMI underestimation is increasing across time. Knowledge that the widening gap between self-reported BMI and measured BMI is attributable to an increased weight bias brings us one step closer to accurately estimating true obesity levels in the population using self-reported data.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Overweight, Mass, Gender, Body mass index, Ontology, Body shape


Aspects of the female body may be attractive because they signal evolutionary fitness. Greater body fatness might reflect greater potential to survive famines, but individuals carrying larger fat stores may have poor health and lower fertility in non-famine conditions. A mathematical statistical model using epidemiological data linking fatness to fitness traits, predicted a peaked relationship between fatness and attractiveness (maximum at body mass index (BMI) = 22.8 to 24.8 depending on ethnicity and assumptions). Participants from three Caucasian populations (Austria, Lithuania and the UK), three Asian populations (China, Iran and Mauritius) and four African populations (Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal) rated attractiveness of a series of female images varying in fatness (BMI) and waist to hip ratio (WHR). There was an inverse linear relationship between physical attractiveness and body fatness or BMI in all populations. Lower body fat was more attractive, down to at least BMI = 19. There was no peak in the relationship over the range we studied in any population. WHR was a significant independent but less important factor, which was more important (greater r (2)) in African populations. Predictions based on the fitness model were not supported. Raters appeared to use body fat percentage (BF%) and BMI as markers of age. The covariance of BF% and BMI with age indicates that the role of body fatness alone, as a marker of attractiveness, has been overestimated.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape, Physical attractiveness


There is accumulating evidence of condition-dependent mate choice in many species, that is, individual preferences varying in strength according to the condition of the chooser. In humans, for example, people with more attractive faces/bodies, and who are higher in sociosexuality, exhibit stronger preferences for attractive traits in opposite-sex faces/bodies. However, previous studies have tended to use only relatively simple, isolated measures of rater attractiveness. Here we use 3D body scanning technology to examine associations between strength of rater preferences for attractive traits in opposite-sex bodies, and raters' body shape, self-perceived attractiveness, and sociosexuality. For 118 raters and 80 stimuli models, we used a 3D scanner to extract body measurements associated with attractiveness (male waist-chest ratio [WCR], female waist-hip ratio [WHR], and volume-height index [VHI] in both sexes) and also measured rater self-perceived attractiveness and sociosexuality. As expected, WHR and VHI were important predictors of female body attractiveness, while WCR and VHI were important predictors of male body attractiveness. Results indicated that male rater sociosexuality scores were positively associated with strength of preference for attractive (low) VHI and attractive (low) WHR in female bodies. Moreover, male rater self-perceived attractiveness was positively associated with strength of preference for low VHI in female bodies. The only evidence of condition-dependent preferences in females was a positive association between attractive VHI in female raters and preferences for attractive (low) WCR in male bodies. No other significant associations were observed in either sex between aspects of rater body shape and strength of preferences for attractive opposite-sex body traits. These results suggest that among male raters, rater self-perceived attractiveness and sociosexuality are important predictors of preference strength for attractive opposite-sex body shapes, and that rater body traits -with the exception of VHI in female raters- may not be good predictors of these preferences in either sex.

Concepts: Male, Female, Sex, Gamete, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape, Female body shape, Physical attractiveness


BACKGROUND: Research involving more representative samples is needed to extend our understanding of the broader impact of obesity in hip or knee joint disease (arthritis and OA) beyond clinical settings. Although population-based research has been conducted in the United States, how these findings translate to other countries is unclear. Using a national approach, this study explored associations between obesity and the burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia (in terms of prevalence, pain, stiffness, function, Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and disease severity). METHODS: A random sample of 5000 Australians (>=39 years) from the federal electoral roll was invited to complete a mailed questionnaire to identify doctor-diagnosed hip arthritis, hip OA, knee arthritis and knee OA and evaluate the burden of these conditions. Validated questionnaires included the WOMAC Index, Assessment of Quality of Life instrument and Multi-Attribute Prioritisation Tool. Body Mass Index (BMI) was classified into underweight/normal weight (<=24.99 kg/m2), overweight (25--29.99) or obese (>=30). Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds of arthritis and OA, with demographic and socioeconomic variables included in the models. Associations between BMI and other variables were investigated using analysis of covariance, with adjustment for age and sex. RESULTS: Data were available from 1,157 participants (23%). Overweight participants had increased odds of knee arthritis (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.87, 95%CI 1.14-3.07) and knee OA (AOR 2.11, 95%CI 1.07-4.15). Obesity was associated with higher prevalence of hip arthritis (AOR 2.18, 95%CI 1.17-4.06), knee arthritis (AOR 5.47, 95%CI 3.35-8.95) and knee OA (AOR 7.35, 95%CI 3.85-14.02). Of those with arthritis or OA, obese individuals reported more pain (for hip arthritis, hip OA and knee OA), greater stiffness (for hip arthritis, knee arthritis and knee OA), worse function (all diagnoses), lower HRQoL (for hip arthritis and hip OA) and greater disease severity (all diagnoses). CONCLUSIONS: This national study has demonstrated that the odds of arthritis and OA was up to 7 times higher for obese individuals, compared with those classified as underweight/normal weight. Concurrent obesity and joint disease had a marked impact on several key aspects of wellbeing, highlighting the need for public health interventions.

Concepts: Cancer, Obesity, Quality of life, Osteoarthritis, Body mass index, Gout, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


Risk of substance dependence (SD) and obesity has been linked to the function of melanocortin peptides encoded by the proopiomelanocortin gene (POMC).

Concepts: Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Body shape, Body weight, Proopiomelanocortin, Melanocortin, Melanocortin receptor agonists


High intensity exercise is considered as an effective means for reducing body fat. The aims of the present study were to investigate (1) whether body mass would be lost and body composition would change and (2) whether variables of anaerobic fitness prior to the intervention period would be related to loss of body mass and changes in body composition in overweight and obese children and adolescents.

Concepts: Time, Obesity, Physical exercise, Exercise, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Dieting, Body shape