Publications

2022
Jolin JR, Tu L, Stanford FC. Correctional Healthcare - an Engine of Health Inequity. J Gen Intern Med. 2022.
Campoverde Reyes KJ, Sabharwal S, Stanford FC. Legal Evolution of a Law Against Weight Discrimination in the United States: A Focus on Massachusetts. Am J Health Promot. 2022 :8901171221119795.Abstract
Weight discrimination heightens health inequalities, particularly among racial and ethnically diverse populations. We aim to research the legal evolution of the law against weight discrimination (S.2495) and raise awareness among lawmakers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We invited officials (n = 199) to attend a legislative briefing, and 25.6% completed a 14-question anonymous survey upon arrival. Contrary to our hypothesis, this first-of-its-kind study found that most policymakers are aware of weight biases. While S.2495 did not pass, the current bill S.2669, prohibiting body size discrimination, has recently been reported favorably by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means.
Kendrick KN, Marcondes FO, Stanford FC, Mukamal KJ. Medicaid expansion and health care access for individuals with obesity in the United States. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022;30 (9) :1787-1795.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate associations of Medicaid expansion with health care access for adults with obesity and to explore racial/ethnic differences in these changes in health care access. METHODS: Using 2011 to 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, the study compared health care access measures among adults who were aged ≥18 years and who had BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 and household income ≤ 138% of the federal poverty line by state Medicaid expansion status using a difference-in-differences approach with logistic regression. The authors further stratified the main analysis by race/ethnicity. RESULTS: Medicaid expansion was associated with improvements in health care access, including lower proportions of those without a usual source of care (-3.6%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -5.8% to -1.4%, p < 0.01) and cost as a barrier to medical care (-4.5%, 95% CI: -7.0% to -1.9%, p < 0.01). No significant changes were found in routine medical checkups in the last year (-1.8%, 95% CI: -4.4% to 0.8%, p = 0.12). However, across these measures, Medicaid expansion was consistently associated with better access among non-Hispanic White adults (-6.0% to -7.9%, p < 0.01) and not at all among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic adults (p > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid expansion was associated with significant improvements in health care access among adults with obesity, but these improvements were variable across race and ethnicity.
Jolin JR, Stanford FC. More to obesity than what meets the eye: a comprehensive approach to counteracting obesity stigma. Postgrad Med J. 2022.
Silver JK, Booth GS, Chatterjee A, Crusto CA, El-Sayed N, Fleming TK, Gavini N, Golden SH, Jacobs JW, Jagsi R, et al. Organizations in science and medicine must hold each other accountable for discriminatory practices. Cell. 2022;185 (17) :3073-3078.Abstract
Many organizations persist in working with others that engage in known, remediable structural discrimination. We name this practice interorganizational structural discrimination (ISD) and argue it is a pivotal contributor to inequities in science and medicine. We urge organizations to leverage their relationships and demand progress from collaborators.
Wronski M-L, Plessow F, Kerem L, Asanza E, O'Donoghue ML, Stanford FC, Bredella MA, Torriani M, Soukas AA, Kheterpal A, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 8-week intranasal oxytocin administration in adults with obesity: Rationale, study design, and methods. Contemp Clin Trials. 2022 :106909.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Obesity affects more than one-third of adults in the U.S., and effective treatment options are urgently needed. Oxytocin administration induces weight loss in animal models of obesity via effects on caloric intake, energy expenditure, and fat metabolism. We study intranasal oxytocin, an investigational drug shown to reduce caloric intake in humans, as a potential novel treatment for obesity. METHODS: We report the rationale, design, methods, and biostatistical analysis plan of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of intranasal oxytocin for weight loss (primary endpoint) in adults with obesity. Participants (aged 18-45 years) were randomly allocated (1:1) to oxytocin (four times daily over eight weeks) versus placebo. Randomization was stratified by biological sex and BMI (≥30-<35, ≥35-<40, ≥40 kg/m2). We investigate the efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of oxytocin administration in reducing body weight. Secondary endpoints include changes in resting energy expenditure, body composition, caloric intake, metabolic profile, and brain activation via functional magnetic resonance imaging in response to food images and during an impulse control task. Safety and tolerability (e.g., review of adverse events, vital signs, electrocardiogram, comprehensive metabolic panel) are assessed throughout the study and six weeks after treatment completion. RESULTS: Sixty-one male and female participants aged 18-45 years were randomized (mean age 34 years, mean BMI 37 kg/m2). The study sample is diverse with 38% identifying as non-White and 20% Hispanic. CONCLUSION: Investigating intranasal oxytocin's efficacy, safety, and mechanisms as an anti-obesity medication will advance the search for optimal treatment strategies for obesity and its associated severe sequelae.
Acholonu NO, Stanford FC. Sugary Beverage Advertising to Black and Hispanic Youth in the United States: A Call for Action. Pediatr Ann. 2022;51 (9) :e370-e372.Abstract
The obesity epidemic remains a major public health issue worldwide, and it is pronounced in the United States. As rates of obesity continue to increase, children now experience obesity at younger ages, which predisposes them to early-onset obesity-related diseases. Of note, Black and Hispanic children experience obesity at higher rates compared with their White counterparts. Although there are many factors that contribute to higher rates of obesity, the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is one such contributor. Despite the dire state of obesity in these populations, sugar-sweetened beverage companies continue to increase their advertisements to Black and Hispanic children, which can negatively influence the childhood obesity epidemic. This article discusses the effect that sugar-sweetened beverages and their advertisements have on children in underrepresented communities. [Pediatr Ann. 2022;51(9):e370-e372.].
Tanas R, Gil B, Marsella M, Nowicka P, Pezzoli V, Phelan SM, Queirolo S, Stanford FC, Pettoello-Mantovani M, Bernasconi S. Addressing Weight Stigma and -Weight-Based Discrimination in Children: Preparing Pediatricians to Meet the Challenge. J Pediatr. 2022.
Nimmala S, Kaur S, Singhal V, Mitchell DM, Stanford FC, Bouxsein ML, Lauze M, Huynh C, Pedreira CC, Lee H, et al. Changes in Sex Steroids and Enteric Peptides After Sleeve Gastrectomy in Youth in Relation to Changes in Bone Parameters. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022;107 (9) :e3747-e3758.Abstract
CONTEXT: Sleeve gastrectomy (SG) improves metabolic endpoints but is associated with impaired bone outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To determine mechanisms contributing to impaired bone health in youth following SG. METHODS: 12-month longitudinal observational study in a multidisciplinary tertiary-care hospital, including 64 youth 13-25 years old with moderate-to-severe obesity (51 females); 30 underwent SG and 34 were nonsurgical (NS) controls. SG was undertaken after a combined decision-making process between treatment team and patient. The main outcome measures were fasting blood for enteric peptides, sex steroids, sclerostin, and bone turnover markers (N-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen [P1NP] and C-terminal cross-linking telopeptide [CTX]); dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measures of areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and body composition; high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography; measures of volumetric BMD (vBMD); microfinite element analysis of strength estimates (distal radius and tibia). RESULTS: SG had greater reductions in body mass index (BMI) z-scores, serum estrone, and the free androgen index (FAI) (P ≤ .046), and greater increases in sclerostin, P1NP, and CTX (P ≤ .010) than NS controls. Fasting ghrelin decreased in SG vs NS (P < .0001); fasting peptide YY did not change. Most changes were driven by female SG participants. Among females (the majority of study participants), after controlling for baseline age and race, reductions in total hip aBMD Z-scores were positively associated with changes in BMI, lean mass, estrone, FAI, and ghrelin, and inversely with changes in sclerostin.. Decreases in total vBMD of the radius and tibia were associated positively with decreases in BMI. Increases in CTX were associated with decreases in BMI, lean mass, and ghrelin, and increases in sclerostin. CONCLUSION: Bone loss after SG in youth is associated with changes in body composition, sex steroids, sclerostin, and enteric peptides. These are potential targets for future preventative or therapeutic strategies.
Roser P, Bajaj SS, Stanford FC. International lack of equity in modern obesity therapy: the critical need for change in health policy. Int J Obes (Lond). 2022;46 (9) :1571-1572.
Yee V, Bajaj SS, Stanford FC. Paradox of telemedicine: building or neglecting trust and equity. Lancet Digit Health. 2022;4 (7) :e480-e481.
Majmudar MD, Chandra S, Yakkala K, Kennedy S, Agrawal A, Sippel M, Ramu P, Chaudhri A, Smith B, Criminisi A, et al. Smartphone camera based assessment of adiposity: a validation study. NPJ Digit Med. 2022;5 (1) :79.Abstract
Body composition is a key component of health in both individuals and populations, and excess adiposity is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Body mass index (BMI) and other clinical or commercially available tools for quantifying body fat (BF) such as DXA, MRI, CT, and photonic scanners (3DPS) are often inaccurate, cost prohibitive, or cumbersome to use. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the performance of a novel automated computer vision method, visual body composition (VBC), that uses two-dimensional photographs captured via a conventional smartphone camera to estimate percentage total body fat (%BF). The VBC algorithm is based on a state-of-the-art convolutional neural network (CNN). The hypothesis is that VBC yields better accuracy than other consumer-grade fat measurements devices. 134 healthy adults ranging in age (21-76 years), sex (61.2% women), race (60.4% White; 23.9% Black), and body mass index (BMI, 18.5-51.6 kg/m2) were evaluated at two clinical sites (N = 64 at MGH, N = 70 at PBRC). Each participant had %BF measured with VBC, three consumer and two professional bioimpedance analysis (BIA) systems. The PBRC participants also had air displacement plethysmography (ADP) measured. %BF measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was set as the reference against which all other %BF measurements were compared. To test our scientific hypothesis we run multiple, pair-wise Wilcoxon signed rank tests where we compare each competing measurement tool (VBC, BIA, …) with respect to the same ground-truth (DXA). Relative to DXA, VBC had the lowest mean absolute error and standard deviation (2.16 ± 1.54%) compared to all of the other evaluated methods (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). %BF measured by VBC also had good concordance with DXA (Lin's concordance correlation coefficient, CCC: all 0.96; women 0.93; men 0.94), whereas BMI had very poor concordance (CCC: all 0.45; women 0.40; men 0.74). Bland-Altman analysis of VBC revealed the tightest limits of agreement (LOA) and absence of significant bias relative to DXA (bias -0.42%, R2 = 0.03; p = 0.062; LOA -5.5% to +4.7%), whereas all other evaluated methods had significant (p < 0.01) bias and wider limits of agreement. Bias in Bland-Altman analyses is defined as the discordance between the y = 0 axis and the regressed line computed from the data in the plot. In this first validation study of a novel, accessible, and easy-to-use system, VBC body fat estimates were accurate and without significant bias compared to DXA as the reference; VBC performance exceeded those of all other BIA and ADP methods evaluated. The wide availability of smartphones suggests that the VBC method for evaluating %BF could play an important role in quantifying adiposity levels in a wide range of settings.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04854421.
Claridy MD, Perez NP, Czepiel KS, Acholonu NO, Stanford FC. Association Between Weight Promoting Medication Use and Weight Status Among Children and Adolescents in the United States. Acad Pediatr. 2022.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to 1) examine the prevalence of prescription medication use overall and 2) examine the association between weight promoting medication (WPM) use by therapeutic class and weight status among a nationally representative sample of the children and adolescents in the United States. This study also further investigated antidepressant medication use among this population. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2013 to 2018. Children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years were included in this study. RESULTS: Of the 68,057,468 derived participants (34,507,154 [50.7%] male; 33,564,059 [49.3%] aged 2-10 years; 34,905,058 [51.3%] non-Hispanic White), 14,895,618 (22.2%) used a prescription medication in the prior 30 days, 21.7% (3,235,323) of which were considered weight promoting. There was no significant difference between weight status and WPM use for overall prescription medication use. Nevertheless, for overall antidepressant medication use, those with obesity were less likely to be prescribed antidepressant WPM when compared to those with normal weight (adjusted odds ratios 0.4; 95% confidence interval 0.2-0.7). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that although there was no significant association between WPM use and weight status overall when examining the association by therapeutic class, most children with obesity were not using antidepressant WPM. This is reassuring and potentially an active attempt at avoiding the use of medications that have an exacerbating effect on weight gain. When choosing antidepressant medications, providers, parents, and patients consider the WPM effects and appropriately choose a medication best suited to the child's health status.
Johnson VR, Washington TB, Chhabria S, Wang EH-C, Czepiel K, Reyes KCJ, Stanford FC. Food as Medicine for Obesity Treatment and Management. Clin Ther. 2022;44 (5) :671-681.Abstract
PURPOSE: Nutrition is an important lifestyle modification used in the treatment of obesity. The purpose of this review is to highlight different dietary interventions used to promote weight loss in both adults and children. METHODS: A search using PubMed was performed for articles on topics related to nutrition and management and/or treatment of obesity in adults adolescents and children. The literature was reviewed and pertinent sources were used for this narrative review. DISCUSSION: There are many effective nutrition interventions used to treat obesity, including altering macronutrient composition, implementing different dietary patterns, and changing meal timing. Although these interventions can induce weight loss in adults, management of obesity in children is more difficult given their varied nutrition needs in growth and development. The use of food as medicine in obesity treatment is individualized based on patient's age, food preference, and concurrent medical conditions. IMPLICATIONS: Given the multifactorial etiology of obesity, treatment requires multidisciplinary care beyond nutrition intervention.
Czepiel KS, Stanford FC. The Many Names of Fatty Liver Disease: Strengths and Limitations of Metabolic (Dysfunction)-Associated Fatty Liver Disease. Child Obes. 2022.
Townsend MJ, Claridy MD, Bajaj SS, Tu L, Stanford FC. Obesity and Eligibility for Obesity Treatments Among Adults With Disabilities in the U.S. Am J Prev Med. 2022.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Obesity has been associated with disability; yet, the proportion who meet clinical criteria for obesity treatment among adults with disabilities remains poorly defined. Characterization of obesity and treatment eligibility by disability type may prioritize high-need groups. This study assessed the prevalence of obesity and eligibility for antiobesity pharmacotherapy and/or bariatric surgery in adults with disability. METHODS: This cross-sectional weighted analysis of the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, including self-reported health and sociodemographic information, was conducted in 2021. Burden of obesity defined by BMI and odds of meeting consensus criteria for antiobesity pharmacotherapy and/or surgery were calculated by functional disability type: vision, hearing, cognition, communication, mobility, and self-care. RESULTS: From 29,170 community-dwelling adult respondents (59.1% response), the overall prevalence of disability was 10%. The prevalence of obesity among adults with a disability was 40.1% vs 30.5% for U.S. adults overall (p<0.0001). An estimated 17.1% with disability met the criteria for both bariatric surgery and antiobesity pharmacotherapy; another 39.8% were eligible for pharmacotherapy alone (vs 7.9% and 33.2%, respectively, for adults overall; p<0.0001). In fully adjusted models, disability was associated with greater ORs for mild obesity (OR=1.2; 95% CI=1.1, 1.4), moderate‒severe obesity (OR=2.1; 95% CI=1.8, 2.3), and criteria for bariatric surgery (OR=2.4; 95% CI=2.1, 2.7) and pharmacotherapy (OR=1.3; 95% CI=1.2, 1.4). Mobility, self-care, and cognition disabilities were associated with eligibility for bariatric surgery and antiobesity pharmacotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with disabilities have higher odds of obesity and eligibility for antiobesity treatments. Comorbidities should be considered, accommodations should be provided, and insurance coverage should be expanded to ensure access to antiobesity treatments for adults with disabilities.
Yee V, Bajaj SS, Stanford FC. Building a pandemic supply chain - equity over equality. Nat Med. 2022.
Callahan EA, Vafiadis DK, Cameron KA, Stanford FC. A call for solutions for healthy aging through a systems-based, equitable approach to obesity. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022.
Aaron DG, Stanford FC. Medicine, structural racism, and systems. Soc Sci Med. 2022;298 :114856.Abstract
Medicine is having a reckoning with systemic racism. While some continue to believe medicine is apolitical and grounded purely in science, history and research reveal that medicine is inseparable from underlying systems, laws, and policies. Obesity is a useful case study. Weight loss trials have shown the immense difficulty in achieving and sustaining weight loss without addressing overlying systems. Barriers are double for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) with obesity, who must contend with multiple layers of oppressive systems. Increasingly, illness is not a matter of bad luck, but is a function of oppressive structures. COVID-19 likely originates in a deteriorating environment, we have an increasing global burden of disease from oppressive sales of food, sugar, alcohol, guns, nicotine, and other harmful products, and social inequality and resource hoarding are at a peak. Medicine can and must participate in redefining these systems. In doing so, it must center the experiences of BIPOC and push change that alleviates power disparities.
Bajaj SS, Stanford FC. The Ukrainian refugee crisis and the pathology of racism. BMJ. 2022;376 :o661.

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