We don’t know why we’re all so fat
One of the most ridiculous aspects of the “blame the individual” approach to obesity is the overall trend of fatness throughout the country and the world over the past few decades.
The rates of obesity have skyrocketed and we simply don’t know why. Here are a few reasons that are consistently trotted out:
- People have become lazy. (Actually this one’s easy. In fact we’re getting more exercise and it doesn’t seem to help. And for that matter, exercise doesn’t make you lose weight.)
- We’re eating too much fast food.
- We’re drinking too much soda and generally eating too much sugar.
- We’re watching too much TV/ playing too many video games.
- There are too many food options constantly surrounding us.
- Our portion sizes are too big.
- We’re just eating too much of everything. In some sense this is a tautology. The question is why.
- Glyphosates in our grains are making us fat.
- Our internal stomach biomes are messed up and make us fat.
- Bad genetics make us fat. This one’s easy too, since our gene pool hasn’t changed that much recently.
- Dieting itself makes us fat.
So, there are tons of reasons, and I’m sure I missed some. The tricky thing is, all of them sound plausible, and none of them are likely the single answer. Likely it’s a combination of a bunch of them.
But the truth is, we don’t know. And people hate not knowing stuff, so they pretend they know. That’s not helpful. We need to be scientists and try testing out hypotheses.
The biggest problem with testing the above hypotheses is that many of them are hard to avoid environmental factors of modern life. You can take the soda machine away from a high school but then the kids will just buy soda at the nearby corner store.
Until we’ve figured it out, I’d like us to admit I don’t know why we’re all so fat. And I’d like us to stop blaming individuals, especially children.