Learn more About Diabetes and a healthy Diet for Prevention and Maintenance.

Diabetes is a rapidly growing threat in U.S. society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 to 2012, the rate of diabetes among adults quadrupled, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (2014). Around 200,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to diabetes (CDC, 2014).It is calculated that the prevalence of diabetes cases in U.S. (both type 1 and type 2) will increase by 54% from 2015 to 2030 (Rowley, et al., 2017). Because of the soaring rates of diabetes, it is important to take measures to prevent diabetes, and also to help individuals manage diabetes effectively.

So what is diabetes? 

It is a chronic condition in which the body does not correctly process food for the body’s energy needs. Food is typically converted into glucose and stored in the body to be used for energy. However, with diabetes, the hormone, called insulin, does not do its job correctly in spreading the glucose throughout the body as energy. With diabetes, there is either too little insulin, or the insulin is not used correctly.

 One of the most helpful websites is by the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org. On this website, you can learn more about diabetes whether you are managing it personally, or helping to support a family member or friend with managing diabetes. This website has a lot of information on recipes, family activities, medications, available resources, and emerging research findings, that can help improve diabetes management. There are diabetes cookbooks that can help a variety of people, whether looking for simple meals, or more challenging meals or deserts that can feed the entire family and guests. For example, did you know that whole grain use decreases the risks of diabetes? According to Chanson-Rolie, et al. (2015), for every 45g of whole-grains in the everyday diet, there is a 20% reduction in relative risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, even if one family member has diabetes, then these dietary adjustments can help reduce the risks to other family members.

For anyone who wants to reduce their own risks, switching to whole-grans and cutting out refined grains can make a major difference. Whole grans includes the following: Dark bread, cooked oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain breakfast cereal brand and types, bran, brown rice, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous, and more. In contrast, here is the list of refined grains that are known to increase diabetes risks: English muffins, biscuits, muffins, white bread, pasta, cakes, sweet rolls, refined-grain cereals, pancakes, waffles, pizza, and white rice (Liu, et al., 2000).  Learning more about food and everyday exercise and lifestyle factors can significantly help with management and prevention.


CDC. (2014). Diabetes Report Card. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liu, S., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., … & Willett, W. C. (2000). A prospective study of whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. American journal of public health90(9), 1409.

Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from yesterday, today, and future trends. Population health management20(1), 6-12.

Diabetes- the difference.

“So I’ll wait ’til kingdom come, All the highs and lows are gone, a little bit longer and I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine”
– A Little Bit Longer, Jonas Brothers- 

This song was written by Nick Jonas. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2005. This was actually the same year I was diagnosed as well. I myself have come to terms with being a diabetic and having to take insulin almost every time I eat. The one thing about it that gets really old really quick is the statement ” You don’t look like a Diabetic!” So in this blog I am going to do a little background on Type 1 diabetes and the difference between type 1 and type 2.


To start I am going to talk about the differences. Type 1 is when your pancreas produces little to no insulin. This makes all type 1 diabetics insulin dependent.  Type 2 is when your pancreas still produces normal levels of insulin, your body is just not able to absorb it. Type 2 diabetics can start on pill forms to help control their diabetes but then may needed insulin to help down the road.

As you can see there is a major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Another major difference is that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereas type 2 is a multifactorial one. This means that for type one the immune system has attacked the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. So basically, there is a war going on in the body and the immune system thinks that it is doing the right thing but made it so the body can no longer produce the right amount of insulin. With type 2., there is still the production of insulin the body just decides that it no long knows what to do with it and becomes very resistant to it, like a child who doesn’t want to wear a coat even though their parent said they would need it.

Type 2 has many causes like obesity and the disease runs in the family. Type 2 is usually diagnosed after the age of 40. Type 1 however the cause if it is unknown and is usually diagnosed in childhood, which to me makes sense seeing as I am 1 of 5 kids and there is no family history of it that I know of. I know type 2 runs on my papas’ side of the family but he is in no blood relation to me and as you can tell type 1 and type 2 are a very different thing.

There are reasons on why everyone automatically assumes that all diabetics have type 2. That is because it is more widely talked about. This could also be that 95% of diabetics are type 2 and that means that only 5% of diabetics have type 1. Knowing this information makes me understand more where the statement “you don’t look like a diabetic” comes from and it also makes me want to educate more people about the difference more.

Iliades, C., Salomon, S. H., Upham, B., & Roan, S. (n.d.). What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/difference-between-type-1-type-2-diabetes/.

Medical Providers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jchdonline.org/index.php/all-topics/49-programs-and-services/health-education/295-what-are-the-main-differences-between-type-i-and-type-ii-diabetes.

T1D Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/about/.

Sensory processing disorder

                                        Sensory processing disorder

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) has been a hot topic amongst many medical professionals. Is SPD a real thing! How is SPD treated?  The purpose of this blog is to provide information through a variety of various media regarding the disorder. This blog will also provide a forum for others to share their opinions and personal experiences regarding SPD!

 SO…what is sensory Processing disorder?

The brains of persons with SPD have trouble processing various inputs or information such as; (sounds, sites, smells, and touch). This input then causes an abnormal response or “symptoms”.  Some symptoms may include; yelling, hyper activity, poor posture,  poor attention, tiredness, and over sensitivity to the environment. The video below accurately describes SPD in short. 

How is sensory processing disorder treated? 

Sensory processing disorder is typically treated by occupational therapist. Occupational therapist use a variety of techniques. The most widely talked about is sensory integration therapy.  This video paints a good picture of Sensory integration and how it is applied.

                                               So what makes SPD debatable

*Sensory processing disorder has been argued by some medical professionals that SPD is a symptom exclusively of autism.

* Some medical professionals and evidence based research supports that sensory integration therapy is ineffective.

*Until recently, no known anatomical evidence showed any disparities in those with SPD. More research must be conducted


Article:  White matter microstructure is associated with auditory, tactile processing in children with and without sensory processing disorder. (2016) 

Summary: “Researchers at UC San Francisco have found that boys and girls with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have altered pathways for brain connectivity when compared to typically developing children, and the difference predicts challenges with auditory and tactile processing.”( S. Leigh, 2016)  

Link to full study https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnana.2015.00169/full

Article : Sensory processing difficulties, behavioral problems, and parental stress in a clinical population of young children, (2012)

Summary:  The article talks about sensory processing disorder and how it can relate to behavioral problems among young children. This study followed 59 children from an outpatient clinic. Each participant filled out a behavioral checklist as well as a sensory profile. Out of the 59 children 55.9% of them reported sensory processing difficulties. Based on these results the article suggest that some children who obtained difficulties with sensory processing would benefit from therapies that target these concerns. The article also related these results to parent stress. Parents of children with sensory difficulties reported a much higher level of stress than parents with children who did not have sensory difficulties.

link to Full study


 Please post additional Research Blogs here: 


Personal thoughts 

I do believe that sensory processing disorder requires additional research regarding diagnostic testing and treatment interventions. Occupational therapist and other practitioners utilizing sensory integration therapies should continue to imply the use of evidence based practice. Research both supports and disproves the use of sensory integration as well as the validity of calling SPD a disease.

Please post personal thoughts or additional videos here: 





Gourley, L., Wind, C., Henninger, E. M., & Chinitz, S. (2012). Sensory Processing     Difficulties, Behavioral Problems, and Parental Stress in a Clinical Population of Young Children.Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(7), 912-921.  doi:10.1007/s10826-012-9650

Howe, F. E., & Stagg, S. D. (2016). Erratum to: How Sensory Experiences Affect Adolescents with an Autistic Spectrum Condition within the Classroom. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(6), 2273-2273. Doi:10.1007/s10803-016-2791-8

Leigh, S. (2016, January 26). Brain’s Wiring Connected to Sensory Processing Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/01/401461/brains-wiring-connected-sensory-processing-disorder

Ricon, T., Sorek, R., & Yeger, B. E. (2017). Association between Sensory Processing by Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and their Daily Routines. TheOpen Journal of Occupational Therapy, 5(4). doi:10.15453/2168-6408.1337

Fact or Fiction: Does stigma affect how Schizophrenia is portrayed?


Photo By:  http://palmsbh.com/what-can-you-do-for-mental-health-month/

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. 1.1% of those adults in the U.S have Schizophrenia. Those who have a mental illness sometimes deal with what is called stigma. 

A stigma is: the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. When someone has a mental illness, common stigmas are: dangerous, crazy, psycho, frightening, and so on. 


“A chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves” (nimh, 2016). Symptoms include:

  • hallucinations,
  • delusions 
  • “flat affect,”
  • decreased communication,
  • difficulty managing daily activities/routines, 
  •  decreased functioning,
  • trouble paying attention, and more. 

Image result for Schizophrenia images

Photo By: psycom


This first clip is of the film Donnie Darko (2001). In the movie, the main character has Schizophrenia and continuously hallucinates about a rabbit named Frank who constantly gets inside of his head and tries to portray the end of the world. 

Watch from 1:00-2:00 and you will get a glimpse of how Schizophrenia is portrayed in this film. 

This film does a great job of exaggerating Schizophrenia and although some may experience a few or all of these intense symptoms, it is more often less severe. In contemporary films, there is an abundance of misinformation about symptoms, causes, and treatment in the media.  In an article called “Portrayals of Schizophrenia by Entertainment Media” by P.R Owen a PhD Psychiatrist goes into how characters portrayed in the media are typically Caucasian males and showed signs of “positive” Schizophrenia which includes delusions and hallucinations.


This article drives home how the media projects the stigma of mental illness and how the public is more influenced by the portrayal of Schizophrenia in the film. 


The next clip is from CNN and Anderson Cooper (the primary CNN anchor) undergoes a simulation of Schizophrenia. This clip only shows a select few symptoms of Schizophrenia. 

From the medical source National Institute of Mental Health  “NIMH” a clear definition is given along with “positive,” “negative.” and “cognitive” symptoms of Schizophrenia are explained. In this clip, mostly “positive” symptoms are being observed. This clip does a good job of  accurately representing those particular symptoms. However, the other symptoms are left out leaving the public to believe that these are what every person with this mental illness experience and thus, enhances the stigma yet again.  


This last media clip is from a TED talk that is told by a woman who lives with Schizophrenia. This woman goes into how she did not know when she was younger what was wrong with her and how it is harder to diagnose in younger children. However, as she entered college she was finally able to get a diagnosis.  

Watch 3:00-4:30 to get a general idea of this clip however the entire clip is extremely informative.

 The medical source Mayo Clinic which is a non-profit organization that offers professional and clinical research. Mayo Clinic describes how early onset symptoms of Schizophrenia in children is harder to diagnose even though the symptoms are very similar to those in adults. This information backs up what is discussed in this clip and also viewing someone with the disorder is extremely beneficial. She speaks upon the stigma of her disorder and even captions the title of this clip “I am not a monster” because that is how the public views mental illness sometimes. 


All of these clips have qualities that help portray Schizophrenia. However, as mentioned in the very last clip, with the help of medication or other sources, mental illnesses can be easily managed and people can live in society without ever revealing they have a mental illness. In my professional opinion, stigma is very real and what is seen in the movies should only be looked at by face value. It is Hollywood after all. If we only relied on what we see in the movies then we would of course believe the stigmas. That is not to say that all media does not accurately depict certain disorders but other sources should always be put into consideration for more accurate definitions or symptoms are needed. 


Image result for schizophrenia stigma

Photo By: Sasha Kalis


  • Childhood schizophrenia. (2016, September 29). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from



  • Owen, P. R., PhD. (2012, July 1). Portrayals of Schizophrenia by Entertainment

Media: Retrieved October 31, 2018, from


  • Schizophrenia. (2016, February). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from



Childhood Vaccinations – Helpful, NOT Harmful

Children are given shots (vaccines) at a young age because this is when they are at highest risk of getting sick or dying if they get these diseases. Newborn babies are immune to some diseases because they have antibodies they get from their mothers, usually before they are born. However, this immunity lasts a

Image result for childhood vaccinations safefew months.
Most babies do not get protective antibodies against diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, or Hib from their mothers. This is why it’s important to vacci nate a child before she or he is exposed to a disease.


What is a vaccine? Why are they so important?
Vaccines are our best defense against infections that may have serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, cancer, and even death.

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations before the age of two years to protect children against 14 infectious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease (CDC, 2015).
  • Vaccines contain weakened or killed versions of the germs that cause a disease. These elements of vaccines, and other molecules and micro-organisms that stimulate the immune system, are called “antigens.”
  • Babies are exposed to thousands of germs and other antigens in the environment from the time they are born. When a baby is born, his or her immune system is ready to respond to the many antigens in the environment and the selected antigens in vaccines.

Image result for 2018 CDC recommended immunization schedule

Vaccine Safety – Debunking the Myth

Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives (Knopf, 2017). Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people,  including children, to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.

Many parents have common misconceptions about childhood vaccinations and believe they may cause serious side effects – like autism- and choose not to vaccinate their child. Others believe there are too many recommended vaccinations compared to 20, 30 years ago. Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature (Knopf, 2017).

Vaccinations save thousands of lives every year and have eradicated many diseases such as the measles, mumps, and rubella. However, because parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, these diseases are making a comeback and claiming the lives of innocent children.

Image result for childhood vaccinations safe

How are vaccines tested for safety?

Every licensed and recommended vaccine goes through years of safety testing including:

  • Testing and evaluation of the vaccine before it’s licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended for use by the CDC.
  • Monitoring the vaccine’s safety after it is recommended for infants, children, or adults

Vaccines are tested before they’re given to the public

Before a vaccine is ever available for use, it’s tested in labs and this process can take several years.  The FDA uses the information from these tests to decide whether to test the vaccine with people (Gould, 2017).

During a clinical trial, a vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to get vaccinated. Clinical trials start with 20 to 100 volunteers, but eventually include thousands of volunteers. These tests take several years and answer important questions like:

  • Is the vaccine safe?
  • What dose (amount) works best?
  • How does the immune system react to it?

Throughout the process, FDA works closely with the company producing the vaccine to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. All safety concerns must be addressed before FDA licenses a vaccine.

Every batch of vaccines is tested for quality and safety

Once a vaccine is approved, it continues to be tested. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches to make sure the vaccine is:

  • Potent (It works like it’s supposed to)
  • Pure (Certain ingredients used during production have been removed)
  • Sterile (It doesn’t have any outside germs)

FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the factories where the vaccine is made. This helps make sure the vaccines meet standards for both quality and safety.

Vaccines in the Media

In 1998, an article was published by Andrew Wakefield in the Lancet paper that stated that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine contained toxic substances that went into the bloodstream, traveled to the brain, and caused children to develop autism (Gould, 2017). However, Wakefield had been paid by a company with a patent pending on a rival measles vaccine as well as acted unethically and participated in slander and fear mongering for to gain profit. This discovery was too late to reverse the public’s belief that vaccinations were unsafe.

Public figures like Jenny McCarthy and the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald Trump have vocalized their opinions regarding the correlation between childhood vaccinations and autism. Political figures and celebrities have created confusion and fueled inaccurate discussion on this topic for years (Gould, 2017).

In this video clip from CNN during the Republican Presidential candidate debate, Donald Trump, states he is in favor of vaccinations, but believes the doses are too big for children. He then tells a story about a two-year-old child who was perfectly healthy prior to receiving vaccinations, but then developed autism a week after receiving vaccinations.

  • Even though evidence-based guidelines and professional recommendations have been published, the public still believes public figures and celebrities over proven data (Gould, 2017).

This video clip posted by CNN debates Jenny McCarthy’s beliefs that vaccinations cause autism. The narrator discusses how in this celebrity suffused culture, McCarthy’s claims could have a deadly impact on scaring parents away from vaccines. Jenny McCarthy is one of the first celebrities to publicly claim vaccinations cause autism after her son was diagnosed with developmental delays. In this video, she states vaccinations “triggered” her son’s autism.

Why is there an uprise in Autism today?

Prevalence of autism has changed because of advanced diagnostic fashions, changing diagnostic criteria, and more trained diagnosticians, a willingness to accept a particular diagnosis, earlier age diagnosis, and better recording systems (Taylor, 2009).  Basically, it’s a big coincidence that there are more vaccinations recommended by the CDC and the uprise in autism diagnoses. The CDC supports the Institution of Medicine’s (IOM) conclusion that there is no relationship between vaccinations and autism (Taylor, 2009).

This video clip by CNN interviews two mothers and why they chose not to vaccinate their children. One mother claims there are too many vaccinations recommended by the CDC. Another claims she does not trust the MMR vaccination because she believes her children are healthy.

Anti-vaccination believers argue that autism has been increasingly more prevalent today compared to 20 years ago, and there are more required vaccinations children need today than there were back then (Knopf, 2017). Vaccinations against infectious diseases has been advancing with the increase of available technology, which explains why there are more vaccinations required for children to receive compared to 20 years ago.

Don’t wait, vaccinate!

The CDC website provides an excellent venue for curious citizens inquiring about vaccination safety and how they work. It also has the most up to date schedule recommended for children to receive certain vaccinations. Vaccinations are safe, effective, and they protect the public from deadly diseases.




Gould, K. (2017). Vaccine safety: evidence-based research must prevail. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 36(3), 145-147.

Knopf, A. (2017). Vaccines do not cause autism: Pediatricians fight back against anti-science. Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter331-2.

Taylor, B. (2006). Vaccines and the changing epidemiology of autism. Child: Care, Health & Development32(5), 511-519.



Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that develops before the age of three and involves impaired social interaction as well as communication. Also commonly seen is a small range of interests and activities for a person with ASD. Originally this disorder was discovered in 1943, by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner. The people with this disorder can have various levels of intelligence ranging from low to normal, as well as difference in severity of symptoms. The key component in all of these children is the lack of social and communication skills.

1 in 68 children in the US have ASD. This is a 30% increase from two years ago, in which it was 1 in 88 children were diagnosed. The reason for this dramatic incline is unknown, it is also possibly that awareness has made it easier for children to be diagnosed earlier during there development.According to Autism speaks many symptoms of the disorder consist of but are not limited to…

Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:                            By 6 months, no social smiles or other warm, joyful expressions directed at people
By 6 months, limited or no eye contact
By 9 months, no sharing of vocal sounds, smiles or other nonverbal communication
By 12 months, no babbling
By 12 months, no use of gestures to communicate (e.g. pointing, reaching, waving etc.)
By 12 months, no response to name when called
By 16 months, no words
By 24 months, no meaningful, two-word phrases
Any loss of any previously acquired speech, babbling or social skillsPossible signs of autism at any age:
Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
Has highly restricted interests
Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping,                          rocking or spinning
Has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors

Children may demonstrate some of these behaviors, but not all. Also children who develop some of these behaviors, may not be autistic. If you believe your child may have ASD, contact your pediatrician for testing. Early intervention is extremly important for these children.

Many interventions for ASD are home bases therapies such as

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

Causes of ASD… These can be genetic in origin from either parent on chromosome 16 or even a spontaneous gene change during embryonic development. Increase age of either parent also increases the risk, as well as birth complications, premature birth and the birth of multiples such as twins and triplets. ASD is also linked to abnormal brain development at an early age. Women who have been exposed to German Measles or during the course of their pregnancy also put their child at t a higher risk of developing the disorder. Although it is a common myth, vaccines do NOT cause Autism Spectrum Disorder! 

These children are also at risk for many other comorbidities. Such as…Epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, selective or restricted eating habits , sleep disturbances, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD and ADHD), Anxiety, Depression, and Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Those who have ASD also commonly engage in self injurious behaviors such as but not limited to…head-banging, hand-biting, and excessive self-rubbing and scratching. Which if not monitored can lead to concussions and life-long brain damage. These behaviors tend to be coping mechanisms for too much sensory stimulation, whether it be environmental or internal stressors. With help from early intervention sometimes these self-injuries behavior can be replaced with functional and non-destructive behaviors.

In Conclusion…ASD is a disorder of sensory processing. What may feel normal to a neurotypical brain could be extremly distressing to the ASD brain. These children can lead very happy and healthy lives with early intervention services as well as love and understanding. Remember April is ASD awareness month, more information about advocacy events can be found at www.autismspeaks.org.

Great Informational References  

Causes: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-more-autism/what-causes-autism

Warning signs: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/from-first-concern-to-action/learn-signs

Services: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/from-first-concern-to-action/access-services

Autism Friendly Events: https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-friendly-events

For those who are more audio or visual learners, I attached two great videos to help explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first is an animated explanation of the disorder. The second video is facts about ASD and even covers popular myths about the disorder as well.

The Truth About Weight-loss Surgery

Mama June has recently made headlines for her tremendous weight-loss. She is the newest celebrity to add her name to the list of people attributing their weight-loss to bariatric surgery. Other celebrities on the list include Star Jones, Randy Jackson and Al Rocker. These celebrities make it look easy; obese one day, thin the next. But what happens in between the before and after picture? The public has a perception of weight-loss surgery as the ‘easy’ way out, the ‘quick fix’ for obesity. However, research shows, that while the results may happen fast, there is nothing easy about undergoing weight-loss surgery.

Here is what the women of The View had to say about Mama June’s recent weight-loss.

Discussions like these lead to more questions rather than answers. Weight-loss surgery is more than just a before and an after. It is an entire journey. Here are some misconceptions and facts about weight-loss surgery.

People who undergo weight-loss surgery are lazy.

Wrong! Americans are constantly trying to lose weight, but many are failing at the attempt. People are not overweight because they are lazy. American culture makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. An estimated 34.2% of U.S adults aged 20 years and older are overweight, 33.8% are obese, and 5.7% are extremely obese (Nardulli, 2012). Once a person reaches the point of obesity it is very difficult to get back down to a healthy weight and maintain that weight. Obesity is a chronic disease that presents significant challenges for treatment long term. For lifestyle interventions, only 20% of people attempting weight loss can achieve and maintain 5% weight loss over a year (Stoklossa & Atwal, 2013).

Surgery is a quick fix for rapid weight-loss.

Wrong! Surgery should not be viewed as a cure, or quick fix. Instead, it is a tool to help get someone to their weight-loss goal. Diet and exercise are still important components to overall success. Patients must adhere to a strict nutritional regimen to ensure safety and success. Also, patients who undergo surgery must consider the risks of surgery as well. When examining a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, the perioperative and postoperative mortality rates are 0.29% and 0.34%, respectively, with complication rates of 13%.14,23 Rare complications occur in the early postoperative period. Serious complications include difficult-to-remedy proximal leaks (4.9%) and bleeding from the long gastric staple line (2.4%) Most complications occur in the late postoperative period. These include gastroesophageal reflux (23%), vomiting (18%), gastric tube stricture (2.3%;), stenosis (2.4%), leak (2.4%), incisional hernia (2.4%), gastrocutaneous fistula, and weight regain (Ma & Madura, 2015).

The Doctors discuss the science behind bariatric surgery.

Does insurance cover weight-loss surgery?

This is often determined by the individual insurance company. Some companies will cover the cost without issue. The easiest way to get covered is through the recommendation of a doctor. However, this does not always mean the insurance company will cover the cost. Coverage is determined on a case by case basis so individuals interested in undergoing weight-loss surgery should check with their insurance carriers.  The cost of the surgery, without complications, is approximately $13,000 dollars (Nardulli, 2012).

Is weight-loss the only benefit of surgery?

No! Quality of life and reduction of comorbidities are other major reasons why individuals seek surgical intervention. Obesity contributes to approximately 300,000 premature deaths each year because of health-related complications (Agala, 2017). Obese individuals often suffer from a variety of comorbidities that negatively impact their overall health and well-being. Some comorbidities include hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea and hyperlipidemia. Those who are overweight also suffer from psychological issues like anxiety and depression (Parks, 2015).

Who qualifies for weight-loss surgery?

  1. A person with a BMI ≥ 40, or more than 100 pounds overweight.
  2. A person with a BMI ≥35 and at least two obesity-related comorbidities.
  3. Inability to achieve a healthy weight loss sustained for a period of time with prior weight loss efforts (Agala, 2017).

The Doctors discuss another celebrity who had great results with bariatric surgery.

Weight-loss surgery is not a quick fix, it is a journey. It is not as simple as the media portrays it to be. It is a choice for a better, healthier lifestyle!


Agala, R. A., Almusaiad, S. M., Alsufi, A. M., Aldhiafah, Z. A., Muzaffar, A. H., Al Ghamdi, S. S., & … Alaeq, R. A. (2017). A Critical Review on Risks versus Benefits of Bariatric Surgery. Egyptian Journal Of Hospital Medicine, 279-284

Ma, I. T., & Madura II, J. A. (2015). Gastrointestinal Complications After Bariatric Surgery. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 11(8), 526-535.

Nardulli, J. A. (2012). The Road to Health Is a Battle Hard Fought: Support for Requiring Coverage of Bariatric Surgery for an Expanded Group of Qualified Individuals. Journal Of Legal Medicine33(3), 399-415.

Park, J. (2015). The meanings of physical appearance in patients seeking bariatric surgery. Health Sociology Review24(3), 242-255.

Stoklossa, C. J., & Atwal, S. (2013). Nutrition Care for Patients with Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery. Gastroenterology Research & Practice, 1-7.








What We Really Know About Obesity


In the United States, more than 2 in every 3 adults are classified as overweight or obese as well as more than 1 in every 3 children. With so much media attention directed towards the obesity epidemic occurring throughout much of the world, it can often be difficult to determine what information is fact, fiction or an over-simplification. The goal of this article to look at various claims made in the media regarding the causes of obesity and compare them with peer reviewed evidence.

Clip #1:

This initial clip takes aim at the efforts to place a junk food tax on items containing high levels of sugar and saturated fat that contribute substantially the problem of obesity. The types of items most prominently targeted include soda and fast food. The narration of the video uses a relatively neutral tone about the issue, but the individuals interviewed here are strongly in favor of this kind of policy that would in turn use the new tax revenues to provide subsidies for fresh produce and other healthy options. It’s suggested that this new cost dynamic will modify people’s behavior in a way that makes them more likely to buy healthier options, thus improving the health of the population overall. Evidence suggests however that solely changing the cost of different kinds of food has minimal effect on overall health. (Silva, Leng, Rawof & Vilakazi, 2016)

Despite higher taxes on junk food showing some decreases in consumption, there is a lack of evidence for any connection to improved rates for obesity. People eating less junk food is certainly a good place to start, but as a self contained method for decreasing obesity it’s lacking. There are also ethical issues raised that go unaddressed in this news piece. Such a tax would undoubtedly be regressive in how it prohibits low income individuals the autonomy to eat what they chose to at its actual market value. (Silva et al., 2016) While those involved in public health policy are decidedly against obesity, for many this issue boils down to a political debate of whether or not government should intervene in such a punitive way on these products.

Clip #2:

This next topic explores the role that proximity to supermarkets plays in the prevalence of obesity, produce consumption and intake of sugary drinks throughout various communities. This video clip from a PBS news hours segment places significant blame for the obesity crisis on lack of easy access to supermarkets for families who live in these “food deserts”. The video explains how for individuals without means of transportation and who live in areas with only convenience stores or fast food easy available, that obesity rates will be higher.

Research does support that people targeted for an obesity intervention, focusing on nutritional education, who lived closer to large supermarkets had better outcomes. (Fiechtner, Kleinman, Melly, Sharifi, Marshall, Block & Taveres, 2016) This leaves a much more nuanced conclusion that supermarket proximity can positively influence reduction in BMI for those actively working towards improved nutrition, but shouldn’t be considered an isolated modification that can significantly alter obesity rates on its own.

Clip #3:

The final source examined is a TED Talk given by a chef named Jamie Oliver called “Teaching Children about Food.” In his presentation he advocates a number of interventions aimed reducing childhood obesity. Among the concepts talked about were early childhood education in school about the importance of eating fresh, whole foods as well as the removal of sugary drinks from the cafeteria. Oliver makes positive claims about the effectiveness of this approach as he’s already begun to see results in his own community.

Our peer reviewed source uses a systematic review of intervention programs targeting obesity in elementary school children. Requirements for inclusion in this study were methods revolving around increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well decreases in sugar sweetened beverages. In addition, the students were educated about nutrition as well given increased opportunity for physical activity. A majority of these studies found a positive connection between intervention and a reduction in BMI. (Brown, Buchan, Baker, Wyatt, Bocalini & Kilgore, 2016)



  Brown, E. C., Buchan, D. S., Baker, J. S., Wyatt, F. B., Bocalini, D. S., & Kilgore, L. (2016). A Systematised Review of Primary School Whole Class Child Obesity Interventions: Effectiveness, Characteristics, and Strategies. Biomed Research International, 20161-15. doi:10.1155/2016/4902714

  Diniz Silva, A. C., Hiang Leng, T., Rawof, N., & Vilakazi, B. (2016). Implementation of a “food tax” to prevent obesity: A critical appraisal. Diabetes & Primary Care, 18(3), 126-130.

Fiechtner, L., Kleinman, K., Melly, S. J., Sharifi, M., Marshall, R., Block, J., & … Taveras, E. M. (2016). Effects of Proximity to Supermarkets on a Randomized Trial Studying Interventions for Obesity. American Journal Of Public Health, 106(3), 557-562. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302986