AID FRIDAY. MAY 29, 1993 HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL OVERWEIGHT AMERICA Over the limit ^^ w ^SM. +rJLM.^s M.JLM.M.M.M.I, Experts say Americans are eating too much, exercising too little •By The Associated Press . inth e ri B knfrf B flthfrnm n iir n ,,BP«fnrnVw,« WASHINGTON — Americans are just too iifat, researchers say, with 54 percent of all adults heavier than is healthy. If the trend ^continues, experts say that within a few generations virtually every U.S. adult will (•be overweight. .' The percentage of overweight Americans .:has increased by about a third in the last 20 :-years, and more hefty adults are on the way •because more than 25 percent of today's < children are overweight or obese, says obesity researcher James O. Hill. •i' "The trend will continue. There is no indication that it will turn around. Actually, :iit seems to be getting worse," said Hill, the ; i director of the Colorado Clinical Nutrition -rResearch Unit at the University of Col- •!orado. "The predictions are that it is in- t creasing at such a rate that we'll all be over•i weight at some point." People stay at the proper weight if they eat only the amount of food need to fuel their physical activity. Americans now generally eat far more than they need and exercise far less than they should, he said. Hill blames the environment: Americans have too much food available, social situations encourage overeating, restaurants compete by offering bigger and bigger serv- "Becoming obese z's a normal response to the American environment" James 0. Hill Colorado Clinical Nutrition Research Unit ings and technology has made it possible to avoid exercise. "Becoming obese is a normal response to the American environment," said Hill, lead author of a study appearing today in the journal Science. "If the environment continues to encourage high (food) intake and low activity, then we'll all be overweight." The body, he said, has mechanisms to prompt people to eat when they are undernourished. But there are no such mechanisms "to stop us from eating if there is a lot food around," Hill said. Being overweight or obese is not just a personal problem but a genuine public health threat, said Hill. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic disorders. Some studies have shown an increase of up to a 60 percent in the risk of death from all causes for obese people. . . A study by the Institute of Medicine estimates that obesity costs the United States about $70 billion annually in direct health care expenses or in lost productivity. "We can't become complacent about this epidemic of obesity, which seems to be worsening over time," Dr. JoAnn Manson, a specialist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, said in Science. Another researcher, Steven Blair, of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, said Americans are spending $40 billion a year on weight- loss treatments. "This approach is clearly not working," he said. Science has yet to find a magic pill that cuts weight gain without unhealthy side effects, and in any case many researchers believe that any such drug will have to be combined with diet and exercise. Scientists still are searching for all the genes that may be linked to weight gain. Genes, some say, may contribute to 40 percent to 70 percent of obesity cases. Hill believes public policy changes are needed to control what he calls "the fat epidemic." He said it took government action to reduce the health threat fr,pm cigarette smoking, and government policies may be appropriate to control obesity. ' v T DEAF GENE Discovery could help the deaf By Scripps Howard News Service Scientists have for the first time repaired genetic deafness in a family of mice unable to hear for generations and have tied a nearly identical genetic defect to inherited deafness in some humans. Researchers at the University of'Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor report today in the journal Science that they were able to find the mutated gene responsible for deafness in a family of mice whose ancestors were exposed to X-rays in 1928, damaging a point on the llth chromosome. The gene codes for the produc- tion of an enzyme that's thought to produce the hair-like fibers in the inner ear that transfer sound waves to the auditory nerves in the brain. With this knowledge in hand, researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders went in search of the human counterpart of the gene mutation, documented to cause hereditary deafness in families in Bali and India. Finding the defective gene is the first step toward developing new treatments that someday could restore hearing in children and adults, researchers say. NEWS TALK 91O THE • WORLD WIDE RICK MACH SHOW || WINDOWS, INC 4pm-Spm Weekdays REPUCEMEHT WINDOWS MADE IN SAUNA Where windows are our business, not just a side line. FREE ESTIMATES 826-17O1 1-8OO-783-1711 736 N. 9th. Salina ^ANTIBIOTICS v. Drug-resistance link disturbs scientists Cpncern centers on use 6f : antibiotics in livestock for human consumption By The Associated Press ^WASHINGTON — Worried scientists say farmers using antibiotics in chickens, cattle and fruit orchards are creating drug-resistant germs that can wind up in the food people eat, a disturbing twist on the growing concern that antibiotics are fast losing their power. Scientists have long suspected that farming was adding to the problem of antibiotic resistance, but now they're finding the first strong evidence: A salmonella strain impervious to five antibiotics is rampant in Britain. U.S. scientists this month reported it has sickened thousands of Americans, too — including nearly killing a Vermont dairy farmer. Chickens sold in Minnesota were contaminated with another germ, campylobacter, resistant to a powerful antibiotic. The U.S. government is about to impose stiff new requirements on makers of new animal antibiotics, and the World Health Organization is calling experts to Geneva next week to search for other solutions. "We're at the point right now where we ... have got to do something," said Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who discovered the campylobacter risk. "This can't continue." Some industry groups deny there's proof that antibiotics on the farm harm human health. Others acknowledge some risk — but insist it must be balanced with the realization that antibiotics are vital to animal health. But the Food and Drug Administration considers the threat serious enough that it is preparing stiffer rules for new animal antibiotics, including requiring manu- facturers to track treated animals for early resistance signs. Antibiotics are losing their power fast against numerous germs, particularly those spread in hospitals. Most to blame are doctors who overprescribe drugs and patients who take them improperly. But scientists say antibiotics on the farm are helping foodborne germs mutate, too, even as the government is under pressure to approve more agricultural drugs. Almost half the 50 million pounds of U.S.-produced antibiotics is used in animals — 80 percent to help animals grow faster, not treat disease. For more information, contact your Salina Journal marketing consultant at 785-823-6363 or 1-800-827-6363. 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