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Health and sanity

Valentina Nicolae
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piqer: Valentina Nicolae
Sunday, 19 March 2017

More Than Fat

”For the first time in human history, overweight people outnumber the underfed, and obesity is widespread in wealthy and poor nations alike,” notes science writer David Berreby. He explains a few implications of having populations who are suffering from obesity: a number of diseases, like diabetes and heart and kidney ailments, are on the rise. And these diseases are more expensive to treat than others.

Governments develop health programs that basically say "it's all up to you to lose weight, it's just a matter of willpower and discipline”. Of course, aside from the shaming of the obese that this approach encourages, you have the potential for profit that it stirs, so businesses use these alleged shortages in will and self-control to sell their products, until it all becomes a big vicious circle.

But what if the obesity problem is more complex than just not being able to, you know, put the fork down?

"Consider, for example, this troublesome fact, reported in 2010 by the biostatistician David B Allison and his co-authors at the University of Alabama: over the past 20 years or more, as the American people were getting fatter, so were America’s marmosets. As were laboratory macaques, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys and mice, as well as domestic dogs, domestic cats, and domestic and feral rats from both rural and urban areas.”

Berreby gives an overview of the studies that investigated other possible factors that could have an influence on our weight gain. As it turns out, it's not just about how much we eat, but it's also about how our metabolisms change their biochemistry and fat storage when we're eating. That, the authors suggests — together with other aspects of modern life, such as the ability to control the light and temperature of our living environments — needs to be looked at in order to understand how obesity works and how we can deal with it. 

More Than Fat
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