HEALTH

CDC study finds obesity rates leveling off in 2005-06

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA After a quarter century of increases, obesity prevalence has not measurably increased in the past few years though levels are still high—at 34 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and over, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Since 1999, there appears to have been a leveling off in obesity among women, but the trend is less clear among men,” stated Cynthia Ogden, a CDC researcher and lead author of the study. “We do know however that the gap between men and women has narrowed in recent years, with men catching up to the higher rates among women.”

The study found:

  • More than 72 million U.S. citizens were obese (body-mass index of greater than 30) in 2005-2006. This includes 33.3 percent of men and 35.3 percent of women. The figures show no statistically significant change from 2003-04, when 31.1 percent of men were obese and 33.2 percent of women were obese;
  • Adults aged 40 to 59 had the highest obesity prevalence compared with other age groups. Approximately 40 percent of men in this age group were obese, compared with 28 percent of men aged 20-39, and 32 percent of men aged 60 and older. Among women, 41 percent of those aged 40-59 were obese compared with 30.5 percent of women aged 20-39. Women aged 65 and older had obesity prevalence rates comparable to women in the 20 to 39 age group;
  • There were large race-ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence among women. Approximately 53 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 51 percent of Mexican-American women aged 40-59 were obese compared to about 39 percent of non-Hispanic white women of the same age. Among women 60 and older, 61 percent of non-Hispanic black women were obese compared to 37 percent of Mexican-American women and 32 percent of non-Hispanic white women.

The report, “Obesity Among Adults in the U.S.: No Significant Change in 2005-06,” is the latest analysis based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by CDC?s National Center for Health Statistics. The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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GSK to market Merck’s Mevacor over-the-counter

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH What better way to try and get a statin sold as a nonprescription remedy than to sign on switch maverick GlaxoSmitthKline, the company that successfully switched complex OTC regimens associated with drugs like orlistat and smoking cessation products?

GlaxoSmithKline and Merck on Monday announced that they have entered into an agreement for the over-the-counter marketing rights for Mevacor. Under the agreement, GSK will have exclusive rights to market non-prescription Mevacor in the United States. Terms of the agreement are confidential but include milestone and royalty payments from GSK to Merck.

“This new partnership with Merck will enable GSK to address the important public health issue of high cholesterol and help patients better manage their health,” stated GSK chief executive officer JP Garnier. “OTC Mevacor will be a dynamic new addition to our fast-growing over-the-counter business and is further evidence of GSK’s ability to partner in new OTC switch opportunities.”

Merck had been planning to present to the Food and Drug Administration its justification to switch Mevacor OTC in December. It’s the third bite at the switch apple for Merck, this time without partner Johnson & Johnson. The companies will jointly seek approval of OTC Mevacor 20mg taken once daily to help lower cholesterol. OTC Mevacor 20mg is proposed for use in women age 55 and older and men age 45 and older with moderately elevated cholesterol and one or more heart disease risk factors.

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New supplement helps eliminate hangover-causing agent

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS Cheerz USA on Tuesday announced the release of IntelliShot, a Lemon-lime flavored 1.5 ounce nutrition supplement that contains a proprietary blend of immune system boosters and antioxidants that the company claims help naturally reduce and eliminate acetaldehyde, an organic chemical compound created as the body breaks down alcohol in the liver.

Acetaldehyde is popularly known as the chemical that causes hangovers. The company recommends taking one shot of IntelliShot following every third or fourth cocktail.

Cheerz USA chief executive officer Patrick Cochrane reported that the product has no effect on inebriation, does not absorb alcohol or lower BAC, nor will it circumvent the consequences of overindulgence. “Cheerz is for responsible social drinkers who want the ‘buzz’ without the dangerous lingering effects,” he said.

Approved for sale as a nutrition supplement by the FDA, the product sells online at www.CheerzHangover.com. The IntelliShot product is currently shipping to select nightclubs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Miami Beach, Fla.

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