The fundamental premise of "the obesity crisis" and all size based discrimination and prejudice is the deeply ingrained belief that body size is the result of personal choices.
This axiom seems so intuitively true and is beaten into us every day of our lives that it is hard to consider any other alternative, it is as self evident as it comes, it's something that everyone "just knows".
But is there any scientific basis for the axiom that body size is a choice?
We owe it to ourselves both intellectually and morally to explore the alternative hypothesis fully, what we must remember is that almost all of the information we receive through the media comes from a vested interest, the sheer volume on the anti-size side of the argument is so great that we have to take it upon ourselves to explore the alternative hypothesis.
What would you say if I said that your average body weight over your lifetime was as predetermined by your genes as your height?
In other words your body size is almost entirely based on your genes.Dr. Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller University:
The commonly held belief that obese people can simply decide to eat less and exercise more to control their weight is “at odds with substantial scientific evidence illuminating a precise and powerful biological system that maintains body weight within a relatively narrow range (10-20 pounds),”
"The heritability of obesity is equivalent to that of height and greater than that of almost every other condition that has been studied,”
Equivalent to that of height? Do you know that it's a FACT that tall people are statistically happier, healthier, smarter and earn more than short people? Don't you realise that your child's failure to grow tall means they will live a life of sadness, disease, stupidity and poverty? Why aren't you pushing your kid harder to gain more height! You must be a bad parent or your child is just lazy and lacking willpower, if you really cared about their life you would insist that they gain height!
Enough facetiousness but still, the point remains that if millions and millions of people consistently tried and failed to change their eye colour or height we would be right in assuming that it's pretty much impossible and we wouldn't see it as some moral or mental failing.
But how can that be true? We all see fatties stuffing their face all the time! Surely they're overeating to get that big?
andThis is just one study of a profusion of others, both clinical and epidemiological, over the past fifty years demonstrating that fat children (and adults) as a group normally eat exactly the same as thin people. Multiple researchers, using a variety of methodologies, have failed to find any meaningful or replicable differences in the caloric intake or eating patterns of the obese compared to the non-obese to explain obesity, concluded David Garner, Ph.D. and Susan Wooley, Ph.D., for example, in their review of some 500 studies on weight in Clinical Psychology Review.
Why you see fat people stuffing their faces is due to confirmation bias when you see a skinny person eating a cupcake your brain won't register it as a meaningful event but when you see a fat person eating a cupcake, you can't help but think "they shouldn't be eating that!" and you will remember it.
Overeating is actually incredibly hard for the human body to maintain in the long term and is similar to starvation in many ways (Almost everyone's willpower will fail to maintain it for any meaningful length of time).Canadian researchers looked at the diets of more than 130,000 kids in 34 countries and reported in a recent issue of Obesity Reviews that fat kids even eat the least sweets, and that kids’ body weights had nothing to do with how many fruits, vegetables or soft drinks they consumed.
Ultimately I thought of this analogy; Greyhounds may be at lower risk for certain diseases than St Bernard's but that doesn't mean you should try and turn a St Bernard's into the size of a greyhound through calorie restriction and exercise, by doing so you'll cause more health problems than you'll fix. Of course St Bernards need exercise and to be at a healthy weight but that healthy size is specific to St Bernard's. (if you say a St Bernard's weight is in proportion to it's height then just replace the greyhound with an afghan hound, their "BMIs" would be very different).
It would be ludicrous to recommend a single "ideal" weight for "dog", just as it is ludicrous to recommend a single "ideal" weight for "human".