After 15 years of analyzing the DNA and health of more than 40,000 adults and children, researchers in the UK have identified a gene that contributes to obesity. The media has jumped on the story, and headlines all over the world are now pronouncing things like:
- Having Trouble Squeezing into Your Jeans? Blame it on Your Genes
- Proof: There IS a gene that makes you fat
Is there a gene that contributes to obesity? Sure! But proclaiming that there's a “gene that makes you fat” is totally irresponsible. How does a gene explain things such as?
- The US has twice the obesity rate of Canada even though they are both immigrant populations living next door to each other. Obesity rates worldwide have soared over the last 25 years.
- Immigrants who are thin in one culture become fat when they move to another culture where obesity is already a factor.
Let's be clear here. Even though there is a gene that may give some people a “tendency” to become overweight, it still comes down to:
- Consuming more calories than you burn.
- Not exercising enough so that you store those extra calories as fat, not muscle.
This is not a question of blame. It's a question of lifestyle. I'm not talking about going on a diet for a few months. For the most part, diets don't work -- mostly because they're unbalanced and unsustainable. I'm talking about changing your lifestyle -- permanently.
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Is there a gene that contributes to obesity? Sure! But proclaiming that there's a “gene that makes you fat” is totally irresponsible.
PS: And it's worth noting that strong links are starting to be established between fluoridated water and the obesity epidemic.