Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's think some more on this obesity thing

Another look at the obesity levels known throughout the world raises a bunch of interesting questions. Now there are questions--like whether the higher BMIs of Polynesians might arise from naturally larger frames and such--but overall, we have a situation where Europeans in the U.S. are about twice as likely as Europeans in Europe to be obese--far greater variability than is seen state-to-state.  So what gives?

Is it culture?  Perhaps, but keep in mind that our foods and music styles are, by and large, developed from Europe's--and Europeans in Europe generally borrow a lot from U.S. culture to boot.  Genetics?  Well, each racial and ethnic group here is far more likely to be fat than in the "old country."  Wealth?  Tell that to European nations now enjoying a higher standard of living than we do here.  Plus, poor people are more likely to be obese.

The other factor that would influence all of us would be the way we have governed ourselves.  Could it be that as we subsidize foods best utilized for fattening livestock at the feedlot, provide nutritional guidance that completely ignores how most Americans eat, and require citizens to hide the costs of poor health choices with comprehensive medical insurance, we have created a perfect storm destroying our health?

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