Saturday, 28 March 2009

Mild obesity takes years off your life

reposted from:

If you are moderately obese (30-35 kg/m2) you are likely to be shortening your life by 2-4 years. You increase you risk of mortality by 30% & increase Systolic Blood Pressure by 5mm Hg for every 5 kg/m2 increase.

If you are moderately overweight (BMI between 30 and 35 kg/m2), you will probably live two to four years less than if you stick to your ideal weight, according to a major new study of obesity and mortality.
The research may help to resolve a long-standing controversy about whether mild obesity is actually a health risk. While it is accepted that being severely overweight reduces life expectancy, the effects of being slightly overweight have been hotly debated.

A team led by Richard Peto and Gary Whitlock of the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford, pulled together data from 57 studies, as part of a major study called the Prospective Studies Collaboration.
They looked at almost 900,000 people, mostly from Europe and North America, to see whether those with a higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to die early.
BMI is a measure of how obese a person is, based on their weight and height (calculate yours here). The ideal range is 22.5 to 25 kilograms per square metre.

People whose BMI was higher than 25 kg/m2 had shorter lifespans on average.

Middle-aged spread

Those who were moderately overweight, with a BMI between 30 and 35 kg/m2, lived two to four years less.

This level of mild obesity is now common, particularly among middle-aged people.

People who were severely obese, with a BMI between 40 and 45 kg/m2, lived eight to ten years less on average – a reduction comparable to that caused by smoking.

This level of morbid obesity is still rare.
The increase in early mortality was caused by a range of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, some forms of cancer and lung disease.
Whitlock says, "Excess weight shortens human lifespan. If you are becoming overweight or obese, avoiding further weight gain could well add years to your life."
Journal reference: The Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60318-4


In this collaborative analysis of data from almost 900 000 adults in 57 prospective studies,
overall mortality was lowest at about 22·5–25 kg/m2 in both sexes and at all ages, after exclusion of early follow-up and adjustment for smoking status.
Above this range, each 5 kg/m2 higher BMI was associated with about 30% higher all-cause mortality (40% for vascular; 60–120% for diabetic, renal, and hepatic; 10% for neoplastic; and 20% for respiratory and for all other mortality) and no specific cause of death was inversely associated with BMI.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Death link to too much red meat

Red meat can be high in saturated fat

Scientists have produced new evidence suggesting eating lots of red and processed meat damages health.

They found big meat eaters had a raised risk of death from all causes over a 10-year period.

In contrast, a higher intake of white meat was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death over the same period.

The US study, featured in Archives of Internal Medicine, was based on more than 500,000 people.

The need is for a major reduction in total meat intake
Dr Barry Popkin
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The researchers, from The US National Cancer Institute, found those whose diet contained the highest proportion of red or processed meat had a higher overall risk of death, and specifically a higher risk of cancer and heart disease than those who ate the least.

People eating the most meat were eating about 160g of red or processed meat per day - approximately a 6oz steak.

Those who ate the least were only getting about 25g per day - approximately a small rasher of bacon.

Conversely, those who ate the highest proportion of white meat had a lower risk of overall death, and a lower risk of fatal cancer or heart disease than those who ate the lowest proportion.

The researchers calculated that 11% of deaths in men and 16% of deaths in women during the study period could have been prevented if people had decreased their red meat consumption to the level of those in the lowest intake group.

Cancer compounds

The researchers said cancer-causing compounds were formed during high-temperature cooking of meat.

No one's saying that people should avoid bacon or burgers completely, but evidence tells us that cutting down on these foods can reduce the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases
Ed Yong
Cancer Research UK
Meat is a major source of saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer.

In addition, lower meat intake has been linked to a reduction in risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The latest study adds to a growing body of research linking high red and processed meat consumption to an increased risk of ill health.

Recent UK research found one in ten people has tried to cut down on processed meats, such as bacon, in the wake of previous reports linking them to cancer.

Writing in the same journal, Dr Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, stressed there were health benefits to eating some red meat.

But he added:

"The need is for a major reduction in total meat intake, an even larger reduction in processed meat and other highly processed and salted animal source food products and a reduction in total saturated fat."

Dr Mark Wahlqvist, a nutrition expert from Australia's Monash University, said

eating small amounts of red meat - around 30g a day - provided a good source of key nutrients.

He said: "Fresh, lean red meat of these amounts is likely to be of more benefit than harm."

Ed Yong, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said two large studies had now linked eating lots of red or processed meat to some cancers.

"No one's saying that people should avoid bacon or burgers completely, but evidence from large studies like this tells us that cutting down on these foods can reduce the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases."

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Mprize - Longevity and Rejuvenation research

home page:
reposted from:

The Mprize competition is designed to encourage and advance longevity and rejuvenation research, marshaling the widest array of resources and using the broadest spectrum of biological techniques available. In addition to  its direct effects on accelerating the development life extension therapies, the Mprize is designed to capture the imagination of the public, providing ever more powerful evidence that we can healthy lifespan: that biological aging aging is a tractable biomedical challenge.

The Mprize consists of two separate prize competitions:
  1. The Longevity Prize, awarded for the oldest-ever Mus musculus;
  2. The Rejuvenation Prize, awarded for the best-ever late-onset intervention.
In the competition for the Longevity Prize, money is awarded to the producer of the world’s oldest ever mouse. This is restricted to the species used in virtually all laboratory work, Mus musculus, but no other restrictions should be placed on the way in which the mouse's lifespan is extended, provided that the methods used maintain cognitive and physical wellbeing.

The Rejuvenation Prize rewards successful late-onset interventions performed on an aged mouse and has been instituted to satisfy two shortcomings of the Longevity Prize: first, it is of limited scientific value to focus on a single mouse (a statistical outlier); and second, it is very likely that interventions applied throughout life (as they are during Longevity Prize research) will always be ahead of those initiated late, and thus would have an ongoing advantage in a simple competition structure. Our most important end goal is not merely to extend life, but to promote the development of interventions that restore youthful physiology. By seeking interventions that are effective when initiated at a late age, this prize encourages scientific research that is most likely to benefit those reading these guidelines today.


A fund exists to provide the money for the Longevity and Rejuvenation prizes. This fund is open to contributions from anyone; donors can contribute to either or both prizes as they see fit. In addition, donors of amounts exceeding US$25,000 can choose to make their donation up front or as a pledge.

Longevity Prize

The Longevity Prize is won whenever the world record lifespan for a mouse of the species most commonly used in scientific work, Mus musculus, is exceeded.

The amount won by a winner of the Longevity Prize is in proportion to the size of the fund at that time, but also in proportion to the margin by which the previous record is broken. The precise formula is:

Previous record: X days
New record: X+Y days
Longevity Prize fund contains: $Z at noon GMT on day of death of record-breaker
Winner receives: $Z x (Y/(X+Y))

Thus, hypothetically, if the new record is twice the previous one, the winner receives half the fund. If the new record is 10% more than the old one, the winner receives 1/11 of the fund, and so on. The fund can thus never be exhausted, and the incentive to break the new record remains intact indefinitely. This is very different from a structure that specifies a particular mouse age at which the whole fund is awarded. We believe this to be a very important difference: public attention will be best engaged and maintained by a steady stream of record-breaking events that demonstrate how scientists are taking progressively better control of the aging process.

The developers of a record-breaking intervention will receive prize money every week from the point at which their oldest living mouse beat the previous record. The amount paid each week will be calculated as though their mouse had just died, and the total amount won so far by a living record-breaker will be prominently displayed on the Mprize web site.

Rejuvenation Prize
  1. The Rejuvenation Prize is not awarded for the life extension of an individual mouse but for a published, peer-reviewed study. The study must satisfy the following criteria:
    1. The treated and control groups must have consisted of at least 20 mice each.
    2. The intervention must have commenced at an age at least half of the eventual mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the control group.
    3. The treated mice must have been assessed for at least five different markers that change significantly with age in the controls, and there must be a statistically significant reversal in the trajectory of those five markers in the treated mice at some time after treatment began versus some time before it began. The experimenters select the comparison times, both before and after. It is acceptable for other markers to fail to show this reversal.
  2. The record that the next winner must beat is the mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the treated group.
Conveniently, the Rejuvenation Prize does not require the same rigorous validation procedures as the Longevity Prize, because the age involved is defined to be that reported in the publication of the study.

The amount won by a successful new Rejuvenation Prize record is calculated in the same way as for the Longevity Prize, but is only awarded upon publication of the study in question. Just as for the Longevity Prize, if the new record – the mean age at death of the longest-lived 10% of the treated group - is twice the previous one, the winner receives half the fund. Or if the new record is 10% more than the old one, the winner receives 1/11 of the fund, etc.

Aubrey de Grey video TED talk: Why we age and how we can avoid it

Aubrey de Grey (wikipedia)

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Georgina Street weight

BMI calculator for children here.

In October 2007 Georgina BMI was 17.8, placing the BMI-for-age at the 36th percentile for girls aged 13 years 0 months. This teen has a healthy weight.

Age: 13 years 0 months Sex: Girl
Birth Date: October 10, 1994 Height: 4 feet 11 inch(es)
Date of Measurement: October 28, 2007 Weight: 88 pounds

17 March 2009 Today Information Entered

Age: 14 years 5 months

Birth Date: October 10, 1994 Height: 5 feet 3 inch(es)
Date of Measurement: March 17, 2009 Weight: 96 pounds

Based on the height and weight entered, the BMI is 17.0 , placing the BMI-for-age at the 14th percentile for girls aged 14 years 5 months. This teen has a healthy weight.

Trend is downwards. Care! Check weight / height / G factorise - replot in 3 months.