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Science in the City chews the fat on obesity

November 13, 2006

Source: McMaster University

by Danelle D'Alvise, Research CommunicationsNovember 13, 2006

There seems to be weekly headlines about the "obesity epidemic" worldwide and how Canadians are becoming more and more obese.

If you're confused by all of the studies, the varying definitions of obesity and how best to gauge other health risks related to obesity, then plan to attend Dr. Arya Sharma's free public lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Sharma, a professor of medicine and Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Obesity Research and Management, will be giving the next talk in the Science in the City lecture series, titled What is Obesity?

His lecture will tackle one of the gold standards for determining obesity--the Body Mass Index (BMI)--calculated by dividing your weight by your height, squared. If you don't want to do the math, there are dozens of web sites that will do the calculations for you. But is knowing your BMI the only way to determine obesity?

Sharma will explain the research which indicates that not everyone with an increased BMI is a high risk for obesity and that there are some people with a lower BMI who could actually benefit from losing weight. One of Sharma's favourite examples is that a well-muscled athlete could have the same BMI as an obese person.

Sharma will explore the many considerations besides BMI that need to be taken into account such as weight distribution (apple- vs. pear-shaped body type), familial risk and other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea when deciding whether treatment for obesity is warranted.

This lecture takes place in The Hamilton Spectator Auditorium located at 44 Frid Street in Hamilton. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the talk begins at 7 p.m. This lecture is free and all are welcome.

To reserve a seat, please e-mail or call 905-525-9140, ext. 24934.



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