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Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Health, Society | 8 comments

The Growing Obesity Epedemic


Anyone who opens their eyes and pays attention knows there are more overweight people.  We are told it is because  we eat bad food and don’t get enough exercise.  But is it really that simple?  According to David Berreby maybe not.

And so the authorities tell us, ever more loudly, that we are fat — disgustingly, world-threateningly fat. We must take ourselves in hand and address our weakness. After all, it’s obvious who is to blame for this frightening global blanket of lipids: it’s us, choosing over and over again, billions of times a day, to eat too much and exercise too little. What else could it be? If you’re overweight, it must be because you are not saying no to sweets and fast food and fried potatoes. It’s because you take elevators and cars and golf carts where your forebears nobly strained their thighs and calves. How could you dodo this to yourself, and to society?

But what if humans are not the only species putting on weight?

Consider, for example, this troublesome fact, reported in 2010 by the biostatistician David B Allison and his co-authors at the University of Alabama in Birmingham: 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. In fact, the researchers examined records on those eight species and found that average weight for every one had increased. The marmosets gained an average of nine per cent per decade. Lab mice gained about 11 per cent per decade. Chimps, for some reason, are doing especially badly: their average body weight had risen 35 per cent per decade. Allison, who had been hearing about an unexplained rise in the average weight of lab animals, was nonetheless surprised by the consistency across so many species. ‘Virtually in every population of animals we looked at, that met our criteria, there was the same upward trend,’ he told me.

So what’s going on.  We live in an increasing man made chemical soup.  We breath it, we drink it, we eat it and it comes in contact with our skin.  Our rivers and hence our drinking water is full of not only industrial chemicals but prescription drugs.  The meat that we eat is full of hormones and antibiotics.  We ingest so many man made compounds and increased levels of natural compounds that there is no way to anticipate their reactions and inter reactions.  Does our diet of processed foods and a lack of exercise put us at risk?  Of course it does.  But is that the entire story?  Something to think about!  What do you think about it?

via Rod Dreher

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  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    thanks ron
    I’d have to say from most of our family fighting the good fight over the decades re weight and exercise etc, that it still holds true, less calories more exerise= lower weight. That the hand-mouth activity done more consciously and overall bodily activity upgraded, makes people lose weight to the good. Regardless of all else, including the unspeakable numbers of chemistry dumps and toxins in food, air and water–

    and the latter being the real story, the horror and the grief of our time– and weight being the least of it, early and long suffering illnesses and too early death being the most of it. I’m convinced Ron that there is the equiv of nicotine delivery in many processed foods that sets up glucose allergy/addiction and makes people crave MORE beyond their own reason… rather because of a assault on thebody.

  • SteveK

    Beans and rice… Beans and rice… But as that’s all many can afford, and eat they must…

    I’ve seen slim, trim teens morph into lard. because beans and rice was all they could afford.

    edit to add: “Nutter” input on how well ‘they’ look as fatties would be most appreciated… Any reference to ‘god’s will’ would give you extra points in my book.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Ron: “Epidemic”

  • PW

    For two decades I lived overseas, mostly on a small farm in a rural area of a poor nation. Food choices were limited and, I have to admit, delicious! — because the food was fresh and locally grown/bred. It taught me how to eat. Eat till you’re not hungry, not until you’re too full to eat more. Eat until you feel energized, not until you feel sated, lethargic. Result: a whole new attitude about life and energy that gets us out of that eating-as-reward followed by exercise-as-punishment routine.

    And then, as Ron wisely points out, there are all those additives in what’s available to us away from home… Here’s one solution:

  • Today

    Yikes! That picture of the guy with the big belly could have been me 3 years ago. I agree that we are living In a chemical soup and a world that companies like Monsanto would like to see even more chemical and Genetically Modified. Add all of this to sitting in front of a tv or computer monitor and you have a fat producing machine. I like the responses to your article as well. In my case, at 63 years of age, retired, 5’5″‘, 213lbs., heart disease and type II diabetes, my doctor said it was time to join the local YMCA. In 3 years, I have been able to learn about healthy foods, increase activity in exercise classes and I now weigh 170lbs. I feel so much better now, both physically and emotionally. If I have any advice, it would be to find the type of movement that works for each person. As an introvert, I would never have believed that I would enjoy being in fitness classes, but, group classes and excellent instructors make the difference for me. Also, I try to eat healthy food in reasonable quantities. As they say, if I can do it, anybody can do it.

  • ShannonLeee

    I think studies like these are more about PR than they are good science. I think the destructiveness of this sort of scienced-up excuse is beyond imagination. Today, congrats on your hard work and amazing results. We need more PR about people changing their lives.

  • sheknows

    Thanks Today and congratulations! Exercise is the key to keeping pounds off for sure, but another factor that hasn’t been discussed too often is stress.
    That might also explain why animals have been putting on the pounds as well. Human encroachment and vanishing habitats have changed their behavior as well. And if anyone who looks at the stats knows, more lower income peo[le are on-the-average higher weight. A lot of stress.

    Exercise can take care to alleviate both problems. Although some animals ( not polar bears certainly) are gaining weight, you won’t find obesity in their species as an ” epidemic”.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Thanks Ron….Steve K…i could eat pinto beans every day for the rest of my life and never tire of them, and have never had a weight problem… good source of protein for us vegetarians..agree with you on the rice, not much nutritional value there.

    @ Dr. E.

    I’m convinced Ron that there is the equiv of nicotine delivery in many processed foods that sets up glucose allergy/addiction and makes people crave MORE beyond their own reason… rather because of a assault on the body.

    My brother received a Phd in Food technology, he was Vice Preident and head of Research&Development for a well known snack food company. One day asked him about the Frito Lay advertisement: ” Betcha can’t eat just one.” He said the reason they could use that ad is because each of their products are ‘chemically formulated’ for a burst of flavor that dissipates rapidly, thus leaving one to reach for more.

    “Burst of flavor that dissipates rapidly”… i think there are many products that have that formulation.

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