TED Conversations

Server and Cashier @ Boston Market, Operation: Prom

This conversation is closed.

What is your approach to childhood obesity?

50 years ago no one would have been "fat." This is a hot topic now and I want to know what you think about it and what we should do about it. Is it as prevalent as the media makes it?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 27 2011: It always frustrates me when I see people discussing the obesity situation, because so many people think they understand it when they really haven't got a clue as to why things are the way they are. Obesity is very closely linked to genetics and biology, and has--in many cases--little or nothing to do with the amount of calories you eat or burn each day. Fat cells are programmed to store a certain amount of the nutrients we take in, and in the case of the very obese, this will take priority over feeding the rest of your body; that means your body will turn carbs into fat before using it as energy for your body, regardless of how much you eat. This is why we see obesity occurring in very poor nations that have limited access to even the cheapest food, which goes to show that it's hardly about the quantity, but the quality of what we eat. Counting calories is very misleading, because what really matters are the TYPE of calories you're eating (proteins, carbs, fats).

    Anyone interested in this whole situation would greatly benefit from reading the work of Gary Taubes. Fat Head is also an interesting film that touches upon some of these ideas, but if you want a scientifically legitimate source, go with Taubes, who has published a couple books specifically addressing 'Why We Get Fat' (that's literally the title of one of his books).

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.