15 Jun Obesity: Laziness or A Disease?
We are so quick to judge those who are obese or overweight. This is a hot topic, seeing as many folks feel that obesity is partly due to laziness. Oftentimes people forget that obesity is a disease, one that is, in part, caused by genetic pre-dispositions and environmental factors. Yes, there are some who can tame these pre-dispositions and change the course of their lives, but are there resources for those who are not so fortunate?
Other Factors Influencing Obesity
Recent research has found that a multitude of factors are involved in obesity. Specifically, gut health and its correlation with obesity is drawing great attention. The idea is that bacteria lives in our gut, aiding in absorption and overall function. It has recently been identified that a poor diet can lead to a change in the bacteria, leading to a weaker, less diverse gut environment. In turn, this poor mix of bacteria leads to excessive energy production, meaning your body takes in more calories than it normally would. This is just one example of the external factors that scientists believe may contribute to obesity. Another example would be a hormonal imbalance; whether it is since birth or at a certain stage in your life, such as menopause; your hunger and fullness cues may be altered.
Making excuses is not the aim, but understanding that it is not purely laziness that leads to obesity is important. Yes, obese and overweight individuals may consider increasing their exercise, reducing fast food intake, and cooking at least two of their meals a day; this could lead them to be closer to 200 pounds rather than 300 pounds. Even this “small change” would lead to a healthier future, but the concept of everyone weighing 98 pounds and only eating raw vegetables is just not obtainable for most people. Long-term health is the most important reason to change your habits, and that means making changes to help lead a healthier lifestyle. This includes eating a more varied diet, exercising more, and overall, mind and body care.
Being a little less judgmental and offering assistance to those who are struggling with their weight are two ways you can help. A little kindness and support goes a long way. Studies show that more people keep the weight off who have support groups than those who don’t; clearly there is something to be said for a little encouragement.
Valentine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, currently working at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. At the hospital she covers general medicine floors. Eventually, Valentine hopes to open up a private practice along side her hospital position. Valentine believes in providing practical nutrition knowledge, encouraging others to think logically when it comes to their health. Follow Valentine on twitter or check out her website.