Disease Proof

No Really, Obesity is Bad

Obesity news is never good. It’s like stubbing your toe or hitting every traffic light during rush hour. But did you know, at one time carrying a little extra weight was a good thing? No? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Eat to Live:
Those who genetically store fat more efficiently may have had a survival advantage thousands of years ago when food was scarce, or in a famine, but in today’s modern food pantry they are the ones with the survival disadvantage. People whose parents are obese have a tenfold increased risk of being obese. On the other hand, obese families tend to have obese pets, which is obviously not genetic. So it is the combination of food choices, inactivity, and genetics that determines obesity1. More important, one can’t change one’s genes, so blaming them doesn’t solve the problem. Rather than taking and honest look at what causes obesity, Americans are still looking for a miraculous cure—a magic diet or some other effortless gimmick.
Makes sense to me, especially in this country. We’re bombarded with food—and food commercials—so unless you’re facing economic hardship, how much is good fat storage really helping you? In fact, it sure seems like that ability to store fat is going to do more harm than good.

For example, check out this study concluding that overweight people more likely to get asthma. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters is on it:
"Overweight and obesity significantly increases the risk of developing asthma," said Dr. E. Rand Sutherland of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, who wrote the study.

"If you can substantially reduce the amount of overweight or obese people, you might also get a reduction in the number of new cases of asthma," Sutherland said in a telephone interview.

Sutherland and colleagues, writing in the April issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, said a significant reduction in the incidence of overweight or obese people could cut the number of new asthma cases in the United States by 250,000 per year.

In children, where the incidence of asthma is five times higher than in adults, the researchers suggested that even small weight reductions could have a big impact in reducing the number of new asthma diagnoses.
1. Bouchard, C. 1996. The causes of obesity: advances in molecular biology but stagnation on the genetic front. Diabetologia 39 (12): 1532-33.
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