Obesity Contagious Among Friends

In the seemingly desperate struggle to find a reason for obesity, the plot has taken another rather unexpected twist: Blame your obese friends. Seriously? A new study wants to suggest that obesity may be socially contagious. I suppose there could be something to that especially if groups of friends eat similarly. However, such distinctions are quickly becoming more and more obscured from view when research estimates that in the next 40 years, almost 1 in 2 people will be obese. It will be hard to find a non-obese friend if such is to be believed.

From my point of view, obesity is a disease of civilization similar to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. In any nutrition transition, not everyone manifests the same symptom of metabolic syndrome so I would not expect 1 in 2 to get obese, but it’s already pretty clear that 1 in 2 already show some symptom of metabolic syndrome. The majority of our population is pre-diabetic, 1 in 2 get cancer and heart disease is the most effective killer among all types. It’s interesting that diabetics have the highest risk for dying of any chronic disease and it’s much higher for them than the rest of us. One would think that this would suggest to the so-called experts that some aspect of getting the diabetic condition is common to getting all of the diseases. But specialization would claim this is too simplistic while simultaneously offering no alternative that is plausible.

Just because statistics say that obesity is common among friends, does not mean, however, that having obese friends causes obesity any more than having skinny friends causes one to become lean when it all comes down to it. Risk management is a perverse game to play when it comes to health. The “chance” of getting a disease is quite meaningless when the cause for the disease in the first place is not known (at least by most people). Similar correlations can be made with regard to family members, office workers, etc yet we see lean people in families and offices all over.

Obviously, we must dig a little deeper when we’re searching for cause. I think it’s quite irresponsible to keep floating these associations as causes because it ultimately makes people believe there is something to them that would lead us closer to a solution. I do agree that if a person eats the same way as a sick person, the odds of their getting sick increases as well. However, that does not automatically mean that the person will develop the sickness in question, unless we understand that the true illness that needs to be cured is metabolic syndrome, not obesity. When you focus on metabolic syndrome, only then can you decrease your risk of any of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

What is the cure for metabolic syndrome? Restrict or even eliminate consumption of carbohydrates. This is the only way to get out of the game of “risk” and into the game of “prevention.” As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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Posted on November 8, 2010 at 9:52 am by Charles · Permalink
In: Alzheimer's, Cancer, Diabetes, Diet, Disease, Heart Disease, Obesity

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