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Is diet and exercise a huge oversimplification of obesity? Do we need an unprejudiced reconsideration?

My partner of 35 years passed away in 2010 aged 53. When we met, she weighed around (126 lbs/56kgs). Following childbirth (two pregnancies) her weight doubled. She ate healthily; typically fruit, cereal and salad. This makes me consider obesity. Many people without a weight problem attribute virtually all obesity to blame, failure, but is it as blatantly simple as diet and exercise? If my partner hadn't had her problems I’d probably believe it.

If a diet worked we'd all be on it and there'd be no obesity. Dieting is self-imposed famine and we, as with many other animals, are equipped to cope with famine. We eventually recover what we lost.

People without a weight problem think they're in control but how do they know they've taken in enough to keep them going until their next food? We need reserves to obtain our next food, even to chew it.

Do we keep every bit of nutrition in what we eat, does some of it pass right through? Intake travels at a rate through the system. Does a quick rate mean less is absorbed than with a slow rate?

Do we store more fat for winter but with the comfort of central heating we don't use it? Has the rise in home heating paralleled the rise in obesity rates?

Is "junk food" an abstract imagination of something fat people eat in large quantities? People focus on fat people eating in public who fit the prejudice but don’t notice others eating as much, or more, who aren't fat.

Is it right to determine all fat people failures? Are there no fat scientists, doctors, or professors? Are they clever in every department except food intake?

Pregnancy hormones reorganise how the metabolism handles food to some extent, providing for the foetus. Are there female dieticians for whom weight has become significantly difficult to control following pregnancy?

Why are there families where just one child is fat and has been since infancy, but the others aren't even though they're all been raised with the same care?

Do other animals exercise on a recreational basis?


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    Apr 9 2013: Hi Philip,

    Thank you for bringing up this topic, this is something that I have been debating with myself about more than a few times but have not been able to articulate here. I think many people ought to ask themselves those same questions you raised when they judge others. It has unfortunately come to fact that overweight people are robotically labeled as malfunctioning elements of society. There is (as you mentioned) a lot more than meets the eye: good nutrition is expensive; genetics are at play; illnesses also cause weight issues. Weight and appearance do not define a person, as you cannot judge a book by its cover.


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