Adolescent Diabetes on the Rise

This article is very interesting because it offers some perspective on the degree to which our children and adolescents have succumbed to the silent killer – a disease that causes all sorts of problems throughout the body : type 2 diabetes. The primary cause, as with adults, is excess weight and obesity. Indeed, childhood obesity is rising at a faster pace that that of adults and the problems isn’t going away any time soon. This article highlights the need for a renewed push to save our teens from problems that should never plague them in the first place.

More on this topic from NPR: A Dire Sign Of The Obesity Epidemic: Teen Diabetes Soaring, Study Finds : Shots – Health Blog : NPR

Our take: Childhood obesity is nothing new and while children’s bodies are better able to withstand many of the ailments that accompany obesity, there is a limit. As children become more and more obese they will begin to develop the very same comorbidities as obese adults. Each of these comorbidities can cause serious damage to the body, if left unchecked. The result, as we are seeing, will be ever younger diabetes patients and shortened lifespans with a poor quality of life. Childhood obesity in the United States is an epidemic the likes of which we have never seen before.

Papillary Thyroid Cancer and Obesity

We wanted to highlight this article because the link between certain forms of cancer and excess weight is becoming every clearer. Indeed, the study referenced in this article has made the connection – using their own methodology – between obesity and the increased virulence of papillary thyroid cancer. Ultimately, beyond the fact that obesity may indeed cause more aggressive thyroid cancers, it also complicates the surgery needed to treat it. This and similar research should be followed closely, especially in those patients who are at a higher risk of papillary thyroid cancer.

More on this topic at Medical News Today: More Aggressive Papillary Thyroid Cancer Found In Obese Patients

Our take: Dr. Duncan is one of the foremost thyroid and parathyroid surgeons in the United States and has been at the leading edge of several surgical techniques including the no neck scar thyroid removal. This, combined with his extensive experience in bariatrics, has given him first-hand experience with how obesity and excess weight affects other parts of the body. Ultimately, the findings of this study are not terribly surprising. Obesity takes a toll on the entire body and developing a definitive link between obesity and certain forms of cancer is an important next step.

Exploring The Rising Costs of Obesity

In this article, the rising costs of obesity are explored as they relate to the entire population of the United States. The article postures that we as a nation bear the brunt of the $150-190 billion a year cost of obesity through higher health insurance premiums and government expense. It can be boiled down to the fact that as our country as a whole gains weight, we pay more and more. How do we reduce the cost of obesity in the United States? A widespread solution to excess weight and obesity is still being explored.

More on this topic from the Editorial: The fatter the nation is, the more you pay

Our take: Weight loss surgery and medical weight loss programs are two of the most effective ways to lose weight, and keep it off, over the long term. The key however is prevention. While we will never fully stamp out obesity, we need to find out how to reduce its impact on our society. Whether it is through innovative government, corporate or school policies or alternately an incentive program, we are all looking forward to the answer that finally “clicks.”

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping Syndrome is a fairly common result of gastric bypass patients eating high fat or high sugar foods after surgery. Dumping can also happen as a result of drinking water or other liquids during a meal rather than between meals.

Generally speaking, dumping syndrome is not a life-threatening emergency, but it is very uncomfortable. It occurs when the food consumed passes through the stomach too quickly, dumping into the small intestine with very little digestion having taken place. It is also called rapid gastric emptying.

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Head Hunger – Are You Really Hungry?

Have you ever found yourself looking in the fridge or eating shortly after a large meal, almost as if you hadn’t just eaten? We all have once in a while and for most of us, this phenomenon is called head hunger. Head hunger is a mental, rather than physical, hunger that can be triggered by a variety of factors. Common causes can include emotions, visual stimulation and dehydration.

There is what looks a delicious meal or amazing sweet treat in just about every food advertisement – on TV, in a magazine or even in the grocery store itself. Advertising and marketing can certainly make you head hungry, even if you are physically full. Ultimately, the purpose of the commercial is to make you think about food and get you to buy the product. Dehydration is another cause of “mistaken hunger.” Sometimes we eat when we are actually thirsty.

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Vitamin Supplementation after Gastric Bypass Surgery

Because gastric bypass not only modifies the stomach pouch, but also the small intestine, patients who undergo the procedure may need to supplement their diet. Supplements may include some or all of the following vitamins & minerals: iron, vitamin B12, calcium, protein and others (please speak to your nutritionist for guidelines). The gastric bypass procedure alters the digestive tract in such a way that no matter how nutrition-dense your meal, it will likely not be enough to get your full complement of vitamins and minerals. That’s why patients will take vitamins daily, drink protein shakes regularly and be checked for nutritional deficiencies at annual checkups. Of course, a balanced nutritional intake from meals is still very important to general health and weight loss after surgery, so be sure to continue following your aftercare diet and exercise program.

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Predicting Cardiometabolic Risk

Have a look at this very interesting article about waist-to-height ratio as a predictor of cardiometabolic risk. The article, citing a recent study, posits that the waist-to-height-ratio is a better predictor of this risk than waist circumference or Body Mass Index, two very popular measures of obesity and cardiovascular risk. The study may lead the weight loss industry to modify its method of evaluating the risks of excess weight by either incorporating waist-to-height ratio or using it as the primary measure of risk. Either way, this study offers exciting insight into ways to measure risks associated with excess weight.

Read more at Medical News Today: Waist Less Than Half Of Height Helps You Live Longer

Our take: This is a very interesting article and the study referenced is a new take on measuring risk. As a weight loss surgery practice, with a non-surgical component, we know that there is no single, perfect predictive tool. Obesity is a complicated disease that manifests itself differently in every person. By incorporating several diagnostic tests, we can get an even better picture  of overall patient risk.

Learn More about Our New Medical Weight Loss Program

Medical weight loss, also known as physician supervised weight loss, is a non-surgical option for those who do not qualify for bariatric surgery, those who wish to lose between 10 and 30% of their excess body weight or bariatric surgery patients who wish to enhance their weight loss after surgery. A medical weight loss program is generally more effective than dieting and exercising unsupervised at home, because it not only offers the patient an effective diet and exercise plan, but it is also meant to train the patient to maintain a significant lifestyle change.

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Fitness Apps to Get Your Child Moving!

By Elizabeth Engasser

Disclaimer: Before having your child begin any exercise, please check with your child’s pediatrician or your primary care physician to ensure you’re choosing a safe and effective exercise routine.

In an age of smartphones and tablets, encouraging people to get moving and exercise can be a challenging task – even when it comes to our children.
Marc Major had this same thought when he created his app, Treasure Dash. “If your kids ar like most, they enjoy upbeat, colorful games on the iPhone or iPad , but all hat sitting around isn’t always good,” his game’s description reads on the Apple App Store.

Major isn’t wrong – according to the President’s Council of Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, only one in three children are physically active every day, and children nowadays spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen, whether it’s a TV, computer or a smartphone/tablet.

Wanting to create a way for kids to have fun and stay active, Major launched Treasure Dash and quickly saw the impact it could make on a child’s willingness to exercise. “I have footage of a friend’s son, he’s 10 years old, playing on a mini trampoline,” Major said. “He’s not motivated to do it by himself, but with this game, it becomes a whole new kind of fun exercise that he loves to do.”
Want to help your kid stay healthy, in spite of all the screen time? Check out these smartphone apps and games that encourage exercise, nutritional awareness and more:

Treasure Dash – Race for Lost Wonders
Developer : Cardiograming, LLC
Cost: Free
Platforms Available: iOS

This game is played by standing up and jumping in place to get your character to move, who will move around in the game as you move! By tapping the buttons on the screen, you can jump, attack and collect coins, jewels and fruit (the fruit gives you power ups!) While moving around at a quick pace can be exciting, take note: monsters can come out and attack you from any direction, so being alert is key! Future developments to this game may include a multiplayer setting, so your children will all be able to play together for extra fun.

7 Minute Workouts with Lazy Monster
Developer: Ihar Sviryd
Cost: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Platforms Available: iOS

The Center of Disease Control & Prevention recommends children get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, and this app makes it easy for you to not only keep track of this, but to exercise right alongside your children! In “LazyMonster,”” a little orange monster leads various workouts that don’t require any exercise equipment and can be completed in 30-second intervals- totaling up to 7 minutes of exercise by the end of each session. To keep kids coming back, the game has a built in rewards system that provides experience points and unlocks even more workouts.

Eat & Move-O-Matic
Company: Learning Games Lab, New Mexico State University
Cost: Free
Platforms Available: iOS

This app is an informative way for children to learn how many calories are in the foods they eat, and how long they’ll have to exercise to burn them off. Most of the foods are generic, such as sandwiches, and juices, but by rotating the activity wheel, your kids can be inspired to try out various activities, such as soccer, dancing and household chores.

NFL Play 60
Company: American Heart Association
Cost: Free
Platforms Available: iOS, Android

The game gets your children up and moving in place to outrun a coach following you in this endless running game. Collect coins to earn points, and along the way grab football power-ups and hearts for extra lives. As your child progresses through the game, they can unlock new characters, more power-ups and check out fitness tips for how to stay active outside of the game.

Company: Digido Interactive, Inc.
Cost: Free
Platforms Available: iOS

Have your kids get up and move while hunting for buried treasure! This app has a treasure hunting character that the player controls through walking (we tried it walking up and down the hallways of our office). Arrows on each side of the screen allow the player to rotate the direction that the character is moving so they can navigate to the buried treasure. At the completion of each maze, a new one is unlocked to keep the adventure going.

Yaye – Fitness Motivation and Chat for Small Groups
Company: YAYE, LLC
Cost: Free
Platform Available: iOS

This one is great for adults too!!!

A support system is vital for sticking with your fitness goals, and this app from creator Mike Salvaris helps you stay in touch with your team – even from great distances.

“Yaye” is an app that helps you connect with others to stick together while achieving like-minded exercise goals such as frequency of exercise, daily steps and overall weekly activity. This application ties in well with the iPhone’s health kit settings and provides opportunities for users to connect with others on their journey to better health.

Salvaris, who says the app has been used by support groups, grandparents with their grandkids and even members of various organizations (including the Obesity Action Coalition!) explanted that the overall mission of this app is simple: to motivate people to move at the support of their friends and family.
“It’s not just (an app) where you get on it and someone’s yelling at you to do something,” Salvaris said. “Instead of just hassling someone (to exercise), you’re actually doing something together, and I think that’s the thing that’s really resonating with people.”


By thinking outside the box, technology will continue to progress and there will be even more apps released that encourage movement and get kids and adults alike active. Setting a good example and exercising alongside your children is a great way to keep the momentum going, and keeping them motivated to get up and move!

The Link Between Obesity and Cancer

The Link Between Obesity and Cancer
By Taraneh Soleymani, MD

According to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery, 68.5 percent of adults in the United States has excess weight (Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25-29.9 kg/m2), 34.9 percent were affected by obesity (BMI 30-39.9 kg/m2( and 6.4 percent had sever obesity (BMI> 40kg/m2). Obesity is a condition associated with having excess body fat, defined by genetic and environmental factors that are difficult to control when dieting.

It is important to keep in mind that the ability to store excess calories as fat was once a useful adaptation so our ancestors could survive times when it was hard to find food. Now, however, we live in an environment where high calorie foods are readily available, so we no longer face long periods without eating. Instead, we face the risk of excess calories and fat storage.

Traditionally, adipose (fat) tissue was thought to be a place where fat was stored as fat cells (known as adipocytes). However, during the past decades we have learned that this tissue is an active thyroid gland, playing an important role in metabolism and the body’s endocrine system, which helps regulate hunger. It’s a connective tissue made up of different types of cells: fat cells, blood vessels and immune cells, among others.

When someone is affected by obesity, the tissue undergoes physiological changes causing it to not function normally. This dysfunction plays an important role in cancer development and its progression.

There are many causes of cancer, such as genetics, lifestyle, infection, radiation, chemicals and other environmental exposures. Some of these factors are under our control and can be changed. According to the National Cancer Institute, after not smoking, keeping one’s self at a healthy weight is the most important thing an individual can do to reduce their cancer risk.

The American Institute for Cancer research (AICR) reports that 38 percent of breast cancers, 50 percent of colon and rectal cancers, 69 percent of throat cancers, 24 percent of kidney cancers and 19 percent of pancreatic cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, balanced diet and by increasing physical activity.

To educate the public on lifestyle changes that could decrease cancer risk, the AICR and World Cancer Research Fund have collaborated to publish a report titled: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. In this report, an expert panel of renowned scientists reviewed thousands of scientific studies and developed 10 recommendations for cancer prevention:

1. Maintain a healthy weight and waist circumference
Aim for a healthy BMI between 18.5-25 kg/m2. The location where excess fat is stored in the body can influence cancer risk. Excess fat around the midsection, or “belly-fat,” increases the risk of certain cancers, such as colon, pancreas, uterus and post-menopausal breast cancer. It will also increase the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Waist circumference should not go about 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men.

2. Increase physical activity
We live in an environment where it has been made easy to follow a lifestyle with less movement: watching television, working on a computer, driving to work, etc. Physical inactivity has multiple harmful effects. It increases the risk of colon and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and cognitive decline. Any amount of physical activity is better than none, so start slow and build to a goal of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (any exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you breath harder) every day. Physical activity also helps you maintain a healthy weight.

3. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and limit high calorie foods
Juice with added sugar, soda and sweet tea are examples of sugar-sweetened beverages. They are easy to drink and make it easy to increase our total daily calorie intake. They have minimal to no nutritional value, high carbohydrate content and do not make us feel full. A healthy alternative is water or zero-calorie drinks like unsweetened tea.
Monitoring the calorie content of the food we eat can help us achieve and maintain a healthy weight. A calorie dense food has a high calorie content in every bite. These food items are generally processed and have more fat or refined carbohydrates and are low in fiber and water (i.e. French fries, pizza, cinnamon rolls).

4. Eat a plant based diet
Eating a plant-based diet that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes has several benefits. This diet has a higher content of fiber that is healthy for the intestines and improves the ability to digest foods you eat. Fiber helps with weight management. A plant-based diet also provides vitamins and minerals in their natural form that are necessary for normal body functions, and the antioxidants (molecules that help delay and prevent cell damage) percent in fruits and vegetables help protect the body cells from cancer-causing substances. The goal is to fill two-thirds of the plate with plant-based food items as often as possible.

5. Limit red meat and avoid processed meat as much as possible
There is a strong link between red meat (i.e. beef, lamb, pork) and colon and rectal cancers. The heme iron, which gives red meat its color, can damage the cells lining the colon. Eating up to 18 oz. of red meat per week is safe. However for every 1.7 oz above this limit, the risk of cancer will increase by 15 percent. Eighteen ounces of meat is a little more than one pound of meat you can eat safely per week, and meat is typically recommended to be served in a three ounce portion – about the size of a deck of playing cards.

6. Limit alcohol consumption
Studies have shown that alcohol can increase the risk of several cancers, such as mouth, throat, vocal chord, breast cancer and colon or rectal cancer in men. It is recommended that alcohol be limited to one drink for women and two drinks for men per day.

How much is one drink?
• 12 oz. of beer (1 regular sized can) (5 percent alcohol content)
• 5 oz of wine (about ¼ of a large glass and ½ of a smaller glass) (12 percent alcohol content)
• 1/5 oz. (1 shot glass) of 80-proof liquor such as vodka (40 percent alcohol content)
Both the American Heart Association an AICR do not recommend individuals who do not drink alcohol to start drinking. Limiting alcohol intake can also help with weight management.

7. Limit salt consumption
High salt consumption has been associated with increased risk for stomach and throat cancer as it can damage their lining. Processed meat has a high content of salt, especially when it is salt-cured or salt-pickled. Other processed food such as cereal, pizza, chips, canned soups, frozen meals and flavored noodles can increase salt intake above the recommended 2400 mg per day (about 1 teaspoon).

How much salt is enough?
Dietary Guidelines for Americans for a Healthier Life 2010:
• Reduce intake to less than 2300 mg per day
• Further reduce intake to 1500 mg per day for
o Adults ages 51+
o African Americans ages 2+
o People ages 2+ with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease

8. Avoid using supplements in place of natural nutrients
Supplements should not be used to protect against cancer. It is best to get the nutrients we need from our diet in their natural form. Also it is important to keep in mind that very high doses of vitamin and mineral supplements has been associated with increased cancer risk. Supplements are recommended for the following groups: women, children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old, seniors and bariatric patients.

9. Breast-feeding can help new mothers
It is recommended that mothers breast-feed exclusively for 6 months and then add other liquid and food to their baby’s diet. Breast-feeding is good for the mother and the baby. It protects the mother against breast cancer by reducing the caner producing hormones in the body, and it protects the child from becoming affected by excess weight or obesity.

10. Cancer survivors should follow all guidelines
AICR recommends that cancer patients follow the nine cancer prevention strategies stated in this article.
Our overall cancer risk is affected by our lifestyle over the span of our life. It is never too early or late to start cancer prevention, and most importantly, making small every day changes that are sustainable today can help lower the cancer risk throughout our lifetime.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports that only half of all Americans are aware of the link between obesity and cancer. An estimated 121,700 new cancer cases each year are related to excess weight, and 15-20 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to excess weight.

The types of cancer most commonly associated with obesity are:
• Post-menopausal breast cancer
• Colorectal (colon) cancer
• Esophageal (throat) cancer
• Endometrial (uterus) cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Pancreatic cancer

Obesity can also increase the risk for the following cancers:
• Liver cancer
• Advanced prostate cancer
• Gallbladder cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Stomach cancer
• Non-hodgkid lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes)
• Multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells)
• Cervical cancer

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