Is Obesity a Disease? [UPDATEd again]

TL;DR our society is sick UPDATE: just watch Fed Up

Having a reasonable metabolism and being moderately athletic, I never really had to worry about weight gain (unless you listen to my ascetic father who calls me fat). When I got older my body changed - well, actually it just got older. It takes longer to heal and also burns calories differently, it appears (or so I tell myself).

Anyways, other than having my experience of a flight to Texas seriously degraded by sitting next to someone who easily should have purchased the entire row of seats, and still might have run out of space for his voluminous frame, I never really had any reason to think about obesity or be concerned by it.

Over the last couple of years the levels of obesity have sharply risen, particularly amongst kids, and not just in the United States, the land of plenty - as any world traveler who used to be able to identify US tourists with ease and 99% accuracy can attest.

What has changed? Why are we getting fatter?

Even though we might not know it, food is a huge industry. And don't get me wrong, I think it is a testimony to modern agriculture that we don't have to spend our waking hours worrying about where we will get our next meal. But it seems to me the system has run out of the rudder a little. Food is an industry, and we live in a free market society, so industry wants to make money, shareholders and such. All those calories produced (way more than the per capita recommended consumption) want to be sold, and even though we waste an enormous amount of food, there still is a lot that somehow makes its way down our gullets.

With an abundance of food comes the challenge of the free market to somehow come up with a way to have your product purchased, to tweak the product, to gain an edge over the competition. Science! Yay! We know what we are hardwired to like, because our bodies need it. We are slaves to our body's evolution. Salt. Suger. Tastebud porn. By way of cramming more of what we are hardwired to crave into a product, we subconsciously can't resist eating more of it. More product sold. Shareholders rejoice.

That is only part of the problem, however.

It turns out, in the process of competition, some substances have made it into our food supply that aren't food, really, or at least not according to what we as a species have evolved to eat and digest. So while we are putting stuff into our bodies at least some of us might be less equipped to digest. Yet another industry is also churning out a product we are supposed to buy, or rather buy into.

The entire Beauty Industrial Complex.

We are bombarded by how we are supposed to look in form of ideals impossible to reach for mere mortals, who also have jobs and kids and a life. I know, it's an old soap box, which usually garnered the less then empathetic response from me: just ignore it and be yourself.

That is easier said than done, and is also affecting different people and even genders in different intensity.

So what am I trying to say here? People are getting fatter, and overall there's got to be a health concern for society at large, healthcare cost yaddiyadda.

What really got me thinking was a recent episode of Larry Wilmore, where he asked the question if fat shaming might be a Civil Rights Issue, and an article I read about where a woman receiving a fecal implant from an obese person made here overweight.

How ... what? Never mind the fecal implant, but the fact that you don't even have to eat more to become overweight? That was news to me.

So maybe there is more at play here than meats the eye (meat, get it?).

I have no answers whatsoever, which nobody should have expected after reading through several pseudo scientific sounding paragraphs, but I know that my feeling about the topic has become less ignorant and more nuanced. I did think I had all the answers and I am more inclined to think that I don't know shit. Is all I am saying.


researchers analyzed genetic samples from more than 300,000 people and identified more than 140 locations across their sets of DNA that play a role in obesity

so Darwin was right?