WASHINGTON – Laboratory medicine experts are using genomics, metabolomics, and other cutting-edge clinical testing methods to advance the understanding of obesity. A special issue of AACC’s journal Clinical Chemistry, “Obesity: Innovative Approaches to Overcome Obstacles,” highlights the latest innovations in the field that could lead to more effective public health policies to curb this epidemic.

Obesity has become one of the greatest health concerns of our time, with one-third of the world’s population now considered to be overweight or obese. This condition raises the risk for serious health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, with the average medical spending for obese individuals coming in at $3,271 per year compared with $512 per year for non-obese individuals. Even more worryingly, no country since 1980 has experienced a decline in obesity in spite of public health efforts aimed at reversing the upward trend in its prevalence.

One factor hindering the development of a successful public health strategy is that experts are still unsure of what dietary factors are fueling this epidemic. A novel study in this special issue now provides compelling evidence in support of the theory that processed carbohydrates are the culprit. The roles that other factors play in the development and management of obesity, such as physical activity, genetics, and neurohormonal mediators, are also topics of much debate and are central to research in this special issue of Clinical Chemistry. Papers in this issue examine the efficacy of treatments such as dietary change, exercise, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery. In addition to showcasing research that could influence future public health policies, the issue overviews the impact of current public health initiatives to prevent obesity and promote dietary change, and explores in detail whether a sugar tax would be beneficial.

“It is timely to devote this special issue of Clinical Chemistry to the problem of obesity and current research to inform strategies for addressing the problem,” wrote issue editors and obesity experts Drs. Ian Young, Elizabeth Selvin, Cara Ebbeling, and Bruce Lee, in the preamble to the special issue. “We hope that the articles selected will provide the interested reader with a comprehensive and current overview of obesity and its consequences, something which will continue to have a major impact on public health, the planning and delivery of healthcare, and the practice of laboratory medicine for the foreseeable future.”

For more about the findings in the special Obesity issue, follow us on Twitter at @Clin_Chem_AACC.

About AACC

Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of progressing laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.myadlm.org.

Clinical Chemistry is the leading international journal of clinical laboratory science, providing 2,000 pages per year of peer-reviewed papers that advance the science of the field. With an impact factor of 8.008, Clinical Chemistry covers everything from molecular diagnostics to laboratory management.