Glossary of Terms


Advocacy organizations
Advocacy groups influence public opinion and/or policy, typically through media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research, or polls.

Amylin
Amylin is a hormone released from the pancreas and it slows gastric emptying, reduces food intake, and regulates blood glucose levels.

Appetite signals
Appetite signals are released by organs, including the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, and adipose tissue to tell the brain that you're "hungry" or "full".

Blood lipid
Blood lipid is the term used to describe the fatty substances found in the blood, which are necessary for normal functions.

Blood sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It is your body's main source of energy that comes from the food you eat. Your blood carries glucose to all of your body's cells to use for energy.

Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is a group of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. When the blood vessels are narrowed or blocked, they can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of progressive lung disorders associated with increased breathlessness. COPD includes two long-term conditions, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that often occur together.

Endocrine
Pertaining to hormones and the glands that make and secrete them into the bloodstream through which they travel to affect distant organs.

Endocrine disrupters
Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that can interfere with the body’s endocrine system and cause reproductive, developmental, neurological, and immune problems. Many everyday products contain endocrine disrupters including plastic bottles, toys, metal food cans, food, household cleaners, cosmetics, and pesticides.

Endometrial cancer
Endometrial cancer, sometimes also called uterine cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus, the female reproductive organ that houses and nourishes babies until birth.

Energy balance equation
Energy balance equation refers to the fact that the body must burn as many calories as it takes in to maintain weight. But, there are physiological pathways that control eating behaviors and metabolism. For people with obesity who experience weight loss, this energy balance is difficult to maintain.

Fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease occurs when excessive fat builds up in liver cells causing the liver to be enlarged, inflamed, and scarred. It can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure and is often caused by alcoholism, diabetes, obesity, and infections. Liver disease is very common in people with diabetes and/or obesity.

Fasting glucose level
Fasting glucose level refers to how much glucose (sugar) is in a blood sample after an overnight fast. Fasting blood glucose levels are commonly tested to detect diabetes. The normal blood glucose range is 70 to 100 mg/dl. Levels between 100 and 126 mg/dl point to pre-diabetes, and levels of 126 mg/dl or higher indicate diabetes.

Fuel
Fuel refers to nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat that our body gets/obtains from food.

Genes
Genes are made up of DNA and determine one’s traits and characteristics such as eye color and hair color. Over 100 genes are associated with obesity-related traits, such as body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR), and weight-related diseases. Genes are inherited from parents.

Ghrelin
Ghrelin is a fast-acting hormone released from the gastrointestinal tract and signals to the brain to increase food intake. Ghrelin is referred to as the "hunger" hormone.

HDL cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) is a class of lipoproteins (lipids and proteins) that carry cholesterol, a waxy substance found in all of the body’s cells, through the blood. HDL-C is known as the "good" cholesterol, and high levels are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Heart disease
Heart disease (a type of cardiovascular disease) affects the heart. It can present as heart failure, angina, arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, and coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the most common type of heart disease.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as high pressure (tension) in the arteries, the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The more blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure will be. Hypertension can eventually lead to heart disease.

Insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced/released from the pancreas in response to glucose ingested with food. It lowers the levels of glucose in the blood by helping blood glucose to enter the body's cells, where it can be used for energy or stored for future use. The lack of insulin causes a form of diabetes.

Insulin resistence
Insulin resistance refers to the body’s impaired response to insulin, in which cells fail to respond normally and take in glucose. This results in elevated levels of glucose in the blood (a key component of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome).

Leptin
Leptin is a hormone released from adipose tissue that has a major influence on the body’s energy balance. It acts in the brain to reduce food intake, increase energy expenditure, and provide information on overall nutritional status.

Medical intervention
Medical intervention is the practice of using an approach or treatment (such as prescription medication) to change the outcome or course of a condition.

Menopause
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her monthly menstrual cycle stops. It usually occurs naturally, most often after age 45, when the woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a group of metabolic risk factors linked to insulin resistance and associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It is defined as the presence of any three of the following: 1) increased waist circumference; 2) elevated triglycerides; 3) low HDL cholesterol; 4) hypertension; and 5) impaired fasting glucose.

Metabolism
Metabolism is the sum of physical and chemical processes by which large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules to make energy our body can use to build and maintain its cells. These processes are concerned with the absorption of the nutrients into the blood following digestion.

Obesity
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity and overweight as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 kg/mare considered to have obesity.

Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age that can impair the ability to lose and regulate weight. Up to 5 million women in the United States have been diagnosed with PCOS.

Pre-obesity
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology defines body mass index (BMI)-based categories of underweight, normal weight, pre-obesity, and obesity. The BMI range for pre-obesity is 25 kg/m2 to 29.9 kg/m2.

Progesterone
Progesterone is a sex hormone released in the ovary. It is involved in the menstrual cycle and the early stages of pregnancy.

Resting metabolic rate
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) comprises the largest proportion of total daily energy expenditure (~60%-70%) and includes basal energy needed to maintain integrated systems of the body and homeostatic temperature.

Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. Sleep apnea has been linked to obesity.

Testosterone
Testosterone is a sex hormone found in both men and women. It is one of the principle androgens, a group of hormones that causes the development of male sex characteristics (such as a deep voice and a beard). Testosterone also strengthens muscle tone and bone mass.

Triglycerides
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. They are needed for health, but in excess amounts triglycerides can raise your risk of heart disease and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome.

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), an important source of fuel for your body. Pre-diabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

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