Understanding Obesity

 

Person standing on scaleAccording to the CDC, about 70% of adult Americans are overweight, and 35% are obese – roughly one in three American adults. This “obesity epidemic” developed rapidly here in the United States, where the obesity rate has more than doubled in the last forty years. While we have the dubious distinction of being the world’s obesity leaders, the epidemic is not confined to us; obesity rates are climbing in every country in the world that measures them.

We are still trying to fully understand the causes of the obesity epidemic, but it’s generally accepted that the problem is mainly environmental; changes in our activity levels and our diets are to blame. We were endowed by our creator with genes meant for a world of scarcity. When food was scarce and danger abundant, we were fit.

A metabolism of such high efficiency, unfortunately, works too well when the living is easy, like now. When evolution taught our bodies to cling tightly to energy, it didn’t anticipate that too much food was soon going to be a problem. Human genes don’t know what to do with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Our metabolism keeps on storing energy as though that buffet is about to close forever, and there seems to be no easy way to turn this around.

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