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Concept: Body fat percentage


BACKGROUND: Gum Arabic (acacia Senegal) is a complex polysaccharide indigestible to both humans and animals. It has been considered as a safe dietary fiber by the United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1970s. Although its effects were extensively studied in animals, there is paucity of data regarding its quantified use in humans. This study was conducted to determine effects of regular Gum Arabic (GA) ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage among healthy adult females. METHODS: A two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial was conducted in the Department of Physiology at the Khartoum University. A total of 120 healthy females completed the study. They were divided to two groups: A test group of 60 volunteers receiving GA (30 gm /day) for 6 weeks and a placebo group of 60 volunteers receiving pectin (1 gm/day) for the same period of time. Weight and height were measured before and after intervention using standardized height and weight scales. Skin fold thickness was measured using Harpenden Skin fold caliper. Fat percentage was calculated using Jackson and Pollock 7 caliper method and Siri equation. RESULTS: Pre and post analysis among the study group showed significant reduction in BMI by 0.32 (95%CI: 0.17 to 0.47; P<0.0001) and body fat percentage by 2.18% (95%CI: 1.54 to 2.83; P<0.0001) following regular intake of 30 gm /day Gum Arabic for six weeks. Side effects caused by GA ingestion were experienced only in the first week. They included unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and bloating abdomen. CONCLUSIONS: GA ingestion causes significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage among healthy adult females. The effect could be exploited in the treatment of obesity.

Concepts: Health, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Acacia


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


To assess the predictive capacity of a recently described equation that we have termed CUN-BAE (Clínica Universidad de Navarra-Body Adiposity Estimator) based on BMI, sex, and age for estimating body fat percentage (BF%) and to study its clinical usefulness.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Fat, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Adipocyte, Dieting


BACKGROUND: Nearly one in five 4-year-old children in the United States are obese, with low-income children almost twice as likely to be obese as their middle/upper-income peers. Few obesity prevention programs for low-income preschoolers and their parents have been rigorously tested, and effects are modest. We are testing a novel obesity prevention program for low-income preschoolers built on the premise that children who are better able to self-regulate in the face of psychosocial stressors may be less likely to eat impulsively in response to stress. Enhancing behavioral self-regulation skills in low-income children may be a unique and important intervention approach to prevent childhood obesity.Methods/designThe Growing Healthy study is a randomized controlled trial evaluating two obesity prevention interventions in 600 low-income preschoolers attending Head Start, a federally-funded preschool program for low-income children. Interventions are delivered by community-based, nutrition-education staff partnering with Head Start. The first intervention (n = 200), Preschool Obesity Prevention Series (POPS), addresses evidence-based obesity prevention behaviors for preschool-aged children and their parents. The second intervention (n = 200) comprises POPS in combination with the Incredible Years Series (IYS), an evidence-based approach to improving self-regulation among preschool-aged children. The comparison condition (n = 200) is Usual Head Start Exposure. We hypothesize that POPS will yield positive effects compared to Usual Head Start, and that the combined intervention (POPS + IYS) addressing behaviors well-known to be associated with obesity risk, as well as self-regulatory capacity, will be most effective in preventing excessive increases in child adiposity indices (body mass index, skinfold thickness). We will evaluate additional child outcomes using parent and teacher reports and direct assessments of food-related self-regulation. We will also gather process data on intervention implementation, including fidelity, attendance, engagement, and satisfaction. DISCUSSION: The Growing Healthy study will shed light on associations between self-regulation skills and obesity risk in low-income preschoolers. If the project is effective in preventing obesity, results can also provide critical insights into how best to deliver obesity prevention programming to parents and children in a community-based setting like Head Start in order to promote better health among at-risk children.Trial registration Identifier: NCT01398358.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Randomized controlled trial, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Prevention, Early childhood education


BACKGROUND: Aerobic capacity (VO2max) is highly dependent upon body composition of an individual and body composition varies with ethnicity. The purpose of this study was to check the concurrent validity of the non-exercise prediction equation developed by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using percentage body fat as a variable in Asian Indian adults. METHODS: One hundred twenty college-aged participants (60 male, 60 female, mean age 22.02 +/- 2.29 yrs) successfully completed a maximal graded exercise test (GXT) on a motorized treadmill to assess VO2max. VO2max was then estimated by the non-exercise prediction equation developed by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using percentage body fat. Percentage body fat was calculated by three different models (Sandhu et al’s fat mass equation, Durnin-womersley’s 4 site percentage body fat and Jackson & Pollock’s 4 site percentage body fat) and was used in the above equation. The results of VO2max obtained using “gold standard” treadmill methods were then compared with the three results of VO2max obtained by Jackson et al’s equation (using three different models to calculate percentage body fat) and it was determined which equation is best suited to determine percentage body fat and in turn VO2 max for Indian population. RESULTS: Jackson et al’s prediction equation overpredicts VO2max in Asian Indian subjects who have a lower VO2max (33.41 +/- 14.39 ml/kg/min) than those reported in other age matched populations. percentage body fats calculated by the three equations were significantly different and the correlation coefficient ® between VO2max calculated by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using Sandhu et al’s equation for percentage body fat with VO2 max calculated using treadmill (gold standard) (r = .817) was found slightly more significantly correlated than the other two equations and was not statistically different from the measured value. CONCLUSIONS: This study proves that VO2max equation using Sandhu et al’s model for percentage body fat yields more accurate results than other studied equations in healthy college-aged participants in India.

Concepts: Fat, Body fat percentage, Exercise physiology, Cooper test, VO2 max, Physical fitness


Age-associated decline in muscle function represents a significant public health burden. Vitamin D-deficiency is also prevalent in aging subjects, and has been linked to loss of muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia), but the precise role of specific vitamin D metabolites in determining muscle phenotype and function is still unclear. To address this we quantified serum concentrations of multiple vitamin D metabolites, and assessed the impact of these metabolites on body composition/muscle function parameters, and muscle biopsy gene expression in a retrospective study of a cohort of healthy volunteers. Active serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3), but not inactive 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25OHD3), correlated positively with measures of lower limb strength including power (rho = 0.42, p = 0.02), velocity (Vmax, rho = 0.40, p = 0.02) and jump height (rho = 0.36, p = 0.04). Lean mass correlated positively with 1α,25(OH)2D3 (rho = 0.47, p = 0.02), in women. Serum 25OHD3 and inactive 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (24,25(OH)2D3) had an inverse relationship with body fat (rho = -0.30, p = 0.02 and rho = -0.33, p = 0.01, respectively). Serum 25OHD3 and 24,25(OH)2D3 were also correlated with urinary steroid metabolites, suggesting a link with glucocorticoid metabolism. PCR array analysis of 92 muscle genes identified vitamin D receptor (VDR) mRNA in all muscle biopsies, with this expression being negatively correlated with serum 25OHD3, and Vmax, and positively correlated with fat mass. Of the other 91 muscle genes analysed by PCR array, 24 were positively correlated with 25OHD3, but only 4 were correlated with active 1α,25(OH)2D3. These data show that although 25OHD3 has potent actions on muscle gene expression, the circulating concentrations of this metabolite are more closely linked to body fat mass, suggesting that 25OHD3 can influence muscle function via indirect effects on adipose tissue. By contrast, serum 1α,25(OH)2D3 has limited effects on muscle gene expression, but is associated with increased muscle strength and lean mass in women. These pleiotropic effects of the vitamin D ‘metabolome’ on muscle function indicate that future supplementation studies should not be restricted to conventional analysis of the major circulating form of vitamin D, 25OHD3.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Gene, Metabolism, Muscle, Adipose tissue, Muscular system, Body fat percentage, Muscle biopsy


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) burns fat to produce heat when the body is exposed to cold and plays a role in energy metabolism. Using fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography and computed tomography, we previously reported that BAT decreases with age and thereby accelerates age-related accumulation of body fat in humans. Thus, the recruitment of BAT may be effective for body fat reduction. In this study, we examined the effects of repeated stimulation by cold and capsinoids (nonpungent capsaicin analogs) in healthy human subjects with low BAT activity. Acute cold exposure at 19°C for 2 hours increased energy expenditure (EE). Cold-induced increments of EE (CIT) strongly correlated with BAT activity independently of age and fat-free mass. Daily 2-hour cold exposure at 17°C for 6 weeks resulted in a parallel increase in BAT activity and CIT and a concomitant decrease in body fat mass. Changes in BAT activity and body fat mass were negatively correlated. Similarly, daily ingestion of capsinoids for 6 weeks increased CIT. These results demonstrate that human BAT can be recruited even in individuals with decreased BAT activity, thereby contributing to body fat reduction.

Concepts: Metabolism, Obesity, Muscle, Fat, Adipose tissue, Body fat percentage, Classical mechanics, Brown adipose tissue


Background Replacing sitting with standing is one of several recommendations to decrease sedentary time and increase the daily energy expenditure, but the difference in energy expenditure between standing versus sitting has been controversial. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine this difference. Designs and methods We searched Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar for observational and experimental studies that compared the energy expenditure of standing versus sitting. We calculated mean differences and 95% confidence intervals using a random effects model. We conducted different predefined subgroup analyses based on characteristics of participants and study design. Results We identified 658 studies and included 46 studies with 1184 participants for the final analysis. The mean difference in energy expenditure between sitting and standing was 0.15 kcal/min (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12-0.17). The difference among women was 0.1 kcal/min (95% CI 0.0-0.21), and was 0.19 kcal/min (95% CI 0.05-0.33) in men. Observational studies had a lower difference in energy expenditure (0.11 kcal/min, 95% CI 0.08-0.14) compared to randomised trials (0.2 kcal/min, 95% CI 0.12-0.28). By substituting sitting with standing for 6 hours/day, a 65 kg person will expend an additional 54 kcal/day. Assuming no increase in energy intake, this difference in energy expenditure would be translated into the energy content of about 2.5 kg of body fat mass in 1 year. Conclusions The substitution of sitting with standing could be a potential solution for a sedentary lifestyle to prevent weight gain in the long term. Future studies should aim to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of this strategy.

Concepts: Statistics, Obesity, Randomized controlled trial, Body fat percentage, Confidence interval, Random effects model


It has been suggested that greater maternal adiposity during pregnancy affects lifelong risk of offspring fatness via intrauterine mechanisms. Our aim was to use Mendelian randomisation (MR) to investigate the causal effect of intrauterine exposure to greater maternal body mass index (BMI) on offspring BMI and fat mass from childhood to early adulthood.

Concepts: Genetics, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Coming of age


Current obesity prevention strategies recommend increasing daily physical activity, assuming that increased activity will lead to corresponding increases in total energy expenditure and prevent or reverse energy imbalance and weight gain [1-3]. Such Additive total energy expenditure models are supported by exercise intervention and accelerometry studies reporting positive correlations between physical activity and total energy expenditure [4] but are challenged by ecological studies in humans and other species showing that more active populations do not have higher total energy expenditure [5-8]. Here we tested a Constrained total energy expenditure model, in which total energy expenditure increases with physical activity at low activity levels but plateaus at higher activity levels as the body adapts to maintain total energy expenditure within a narrow range. We compared total energy expenditure, measured using doubly labeled water, against physical activity, measured using accelerometry, for a large (n = 332) sample of adults living in five populations [9]. After adjusting for body size and composition, total energy expenditure was positively correlated with physical activity, but the relationship was markedly stronger over the lower range of physical activity. For subjects in the upper range of physical activity, total energy expenditure plateaued, supporting a Constrained total energy expenditure model. Body fat percentage and activity intensity appear to modulate the metabolic response to physical activity. Models of energy balance employed in public health [1-3] should be revised to better reflect the constrained nature of total energy expenditure and the complex effects of physical activity on metabolic physiology.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Energy, Obesity, Muscle, Adipose tissue, Body fat percentage, Radiation