Over the past several decades, the United States has seen dramatic increases in the incidence of obesity. But the epidemic is not confined to this country; similar increases are being seen worldwide as other countries adopt Western high-calorie foods and a sedentary lifestyle.
Recent data from the National Statistics Office in Korea, for example, indicate that nearly a third of Koreans - about 10 million people - are overweight, with numbers increasing by about 400,000 annually.
Researchers at the Seoul National University Hospital in Korea recently reported that the use of meal replacements twice daily was an effective strategy for reducing body weight and body fat, and for improving indicators of obesity-related conditions.
The study, published in the February issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice, followed 75 obese men and women with the metabolic syndrome - a cluster of factors including high blood pressure, a large waist measurement, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, and low blood levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol - for a period of 12 weeks.
All subjects replaced two meals a day with liquid meal replacements (Herbalife Formula 1, Korean formula) but were randomly assigned to consume a diet of either a standard amount of protein - about 15 percent of total calories - or double the amount of protein from a higher protein plan.
At the end of 12 weeks, both groups lost weight and both groups lost weight in the belly area. But, in the subjects who followed the diet most strictly, the people in the high protein group lost more body fat (and less lean body mass) than the people consuming the standard amount of protein.
"These findings indicate that meal replacements are a very valuable strategy for losing weight and body fat," said Belong Cho, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Family Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital and lead researcher on the study. "With the increasing incidence of overweight and obesity in Korea, there is a critical need to find ways to help individuals lose weight and decrease their risk of developing obesity-related disorders such the metabolic syndrome," he added.
The incidence of the metabolic syndrome in Korea has increased from 18.6 percent to 23.6 percent between 1998 and 2001, paralleling similar increases - from 34.5 percent to 39 percent - over the same time period in the U.S. Dr. Cho added, "We have demonstrated the effectiveness of meal replacements for weight loss, and this approach could have far-reaching benefits in addressing obesity which has become a worldwide problem."
Cho is a member of Herbalife's Nutrition Advisory Board (NAB). The NAB is made up of leading experts around the world in the fields of nutrition and health who educate and train Herbalife independent distributors on the principles of nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyle.
The NAB is chaired by David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
About Herbalife Ltd.
Herbalife Ltd., is a global network marketing company that sells weight-management, nutrition, and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife products are sold in 70 countries through a network of over 1.9 million independent distributors. The company supports the Herbalife Family Foundation and its Casa Herbalife program to bring good nutrition to children. Please visit Herbalife Investor Relations for additional financial information.