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Popcorn for pets? Healthy treats your pet can enjoy

It’s no secret there is an obesity epidemic in the human population. As humans are growing larger, their four-legged companions are following a similar path.

University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center Nutritionist, and associate professor, Julie Churchill, says that an estimated 54 percent of dogs and cats are overweight or obese.

It’s important to feed your pet a well-balanced diet, including healthy treats.

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Overweight girls with a positive body image gain less weight over time

Body shaming has been a popular topic this year, sparking debates on whether it is detrimental or motivational. A new study from the University of Minnesota shows body shaming may be linked to weight gain in young girls.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, shows overweight girls with a positive body image gain less weight later in life as compared to girls with negative self-images

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Research Snapshot: Obesity can lead to the alteration of specific genes

In a new study from the University of Minnesota, researchers found there are numerous areas of the genome where obese and non-obese individuals differ in terms of their “methylome.”

Essentially, the researchers found that the level of DNA methylation (addition or subtraction of a methyl group on the DNA molecule) was related to level of body mass index (BMI), a marker of obesity. These differences in methylome are a type of “epigenetic” variation, which does not involve the genetic sequence itself, but rather is thought to alter which genes are turned “on” and “off” at a given point in time in a given tissue. Typical genetic sequences do differ but data shows these differences go beyond that.

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U of M study finds sit-stand workstations help improve blood pressure, reduce cardiometabolic risk

You’re likely sitting down as you read this, but perhaps you should stand instead.

On average, adult Americans spend more than 7.5 hours per day sedentary (not counting sleep time), and employed adults in primarily office jobs spend up to 75 percent of their time at work sitting.

Recent studies also suggest that even modest decreases in sedentary time can help reduce your risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and premature mortality.

Still sitting?

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Research Snapshot: More research-based evidence needed in legislative discussions about childhood obesity in Minnesota

How our legislators make decisions depends on a variety of factors such as expert beliefs, constituents’ opinions, political principles and research-based evidence. And while we’d like to think more decisions are made utilizing research-based evidence, a new study by researchers at the School of Public Health and the Medical School at the University of Minnesota along with collaborators at the American Heart Association and the Public Health Law Center found only 41 percent of all formal legislative discussions over childhood obesity-related bills in Minnesota from 2007-2011 cited some form of research-based evidence.

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New sugar recommendations are bittersweet

What do sweet and sour chicken, fruit yogurt, and pasta sauces have in common? It may surprise you, but all of these pre-packaged foods typically contain more than your recommended daily amount of sugar.

According to new draft guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO), people should try and limit the amount of sugar they consume to 5 percent of their daily calorie intake. But if 5 percent is too difficult, the WHO has determined that to avoid weight gain and minimize risk of diseases like diabetes, absolutely no more than 10 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake should be made up of sugar.

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