On Friday in class we touched on how to create opportunities for college students to incorporate more exercise throughout their day. On Monday in class we defined obesity in a couple of different ways and discussed the pros and cons in terms of health of being obese. What I'd like to blog about today has to do with what we discussed on Friday and Monday, as well as the readings we had over the weekend.
In non-obese individuals, there's a hormone produced by our body that functions to suppress our appetite. It basically sends a signal saying "Eat less, store less, and metabolize more"! But the amount of leptin that is released is directly proportional to how "full" our adipocytes are. But what about in obese people? They actually have higher levels of leptin! The problem though is that their bodies are insensitive to leptin's effects. They might have something wrong with their leptin receptors or they may just have a fewer number of leptin receptors. Studies show that this issue is a contributing factor to the development of obesity, diabetes, and sterility.
Type 2 diabetes often develops in obese people due to the combined effects of inadequate insulin secretion/responsiveness. Obesity, however, often leads to pre-diabetic symptoms like hyperglycemia or hyperinsulinemia (and then eventually to type 2 diabetes). The scary part is finding treatment before these conditions persist.
So what kind of ways are out there that can ultimately suppress food intake and increase people's energy expenditure, especially of individuals who have issues with leptin? Besides eating a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and resorting to hormone supplements for receptors, one can simply increase their physical activity. I'd like to share an article on TIME that talks about how profound Facebook has been in increasing the number of marathon runners within the last couple of years. Yesterday in class we mentioned how our friends have a high potential of influencing us when it comes to what we end up ordering/eating and transforming our perception of what the body norm is based on our friends' bodies. Facebook has had such a profound effect that since 2008, marathon finishers in the U.S. have increased by 10%. We're more likely to do something when we see a friend of ours doing it and sharing it online! Click here for article
Although the influence of Facebook is great, I believe that more should be done in combating this link between obesity and diabetes because the complications that could result are due to vascular damage and the number of organs that can be affected by this are just way too many to list.