A Better Weigh Center – Obesity in the News

Stress Hormone Measured in Hair Linked to Persistent Obesity, Study Finds
(ABC News, USA Today, HealthDay News)

British researchers found long-term exposure to the stress hormone cortisol is tied to increased levels of obesity and wider waists. The new findings, published in the journal Obesity, provide a link between long-term stress and obesity, however, it hasn’t been determined whether high cortisol levels are a cause or symptom of obesity. Investigators collected hair samples of about 2,500 people living in England, which was used to determine accumulated cortisol levels over the previous two months. The study found participants with obesity had significantly higher levels of cortisol than people who were normal weight or overweight. Those participants with higher cortisol levels tended to have larger waist circumferences (over 40 inches for men, over 35 inches for women and a risk factor for heart disease and other problems). People with higher cortisol levels also had higher BMIs — the higher the BMI, the higher the levels of body fat. The stress levels didn’t differ much between those who were normal weight and underweight. Moreover, higher cortisol levels were also tied to greater obesity levels that persisted over the four years examined.