Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

December 29, 2013

5 myths about obesity

The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings.

1. If you're obese, you can blame your genes.

As obesity rates have soared, some researchers have focused on individuals' genetic predisposition for gaining weight. Yet, between 1980 and 2000, the number of Americans who are obese has doubled — too quickly for genetic factors to be responsible.

So why do we eat more than we need? The simple answer: Because we can. At home and at restaurants, a dollar puts more calories on our plates than ever before. Before World War II, the average family spent as much as 25 percentof its total income on food — in 2011, it was 9.8 percent. And people eat out now more than in the past. In 1966, the average family spent 31 percentof its food budget dining from home — in 2011, it was 49 percent. Because restaurant meals usually have more calories than what we prepare at home, people who eat out more frequently have higher rates of obesity than those who eat out less. Meanwhile, the food industry has developed tens of thousands of products with more calories per bite, as well as new, effective marketing strategies to encourage us to buy and consume more than necessary. We should blame these business practices, which are modifiable, for obesity rather than our genes, which are not.

2. If you're obese, you lack self-control.

According to a 2006 study, "research on restrained eating has proven that in most circumstances dieting is not a feasible strategy." In other words: People won't lose weight by trying to eating less because they can't easily control themselves. Unfortunately, this puritanical view of personal resolve plays down how our surroundings and mental state determine what we eat.

Text Only
National and World
Local News
AP Video
3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train
Sister Newspapers' News