OU Professor Dispels Obesity Myths

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An Ohio University professor is doing research on obesity to discover how big of a problem it really is.

Professor of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness Darlene Berryman says there are many misconceptions about obesity.

She says the difference between being overweight and obese is actually about how much fat tissue a person has.

"We usually simply use BMI as a body fat indicator but I want to point that someone can be classified as overweight but still have too much fat tissues," said Berryman.

She says both having too much, and too little, body fat causes metabolism problems.

One myth says all body fat is the same, but Berryman says where the fat is located on the body makes a difference.

Fat under the skin has positive effects, and fat around organs has negative ones.

Berryman says researchers are still learning about fat tissue to learn how to combat it, but simple exercise and eating right is a good way to start.

"There's a lot of things that they can do, but one simple thing for them to keep in mind is that there's no magic pill, there's no one simple way that works for everyone," said Berryman.

Berryman's research focuses on mice models, which can represent different body compositions.  Some mice, she says, are very lean, but unhealthy and die young.

Other mice are obese and live longer.  Studying the mice allows her to examine what it is about fat that can cause problems in the human body.

Berryman discussed her research and obesity myths at the final Ohio University Science Cafe presentation of the year earlier this month.