Today’s Los Angeles Times has an excellent multi-part article, “What’s Making Us Fat?” which examined several of the more popular myths behind America’s obesity epidemic and ran them by a very strong panel of doctors and researchers throughout the country for comments. I’d heard of most of these myths: stress, high-fructose corn syrup, processed low-fat foods, medicines, and being born to overweight mothers with poor diets. However, I’d never heard of these factors: pollution, a virus, lack of sleep, and our non-smoking society.
Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who think that some sinister obesity virus is out to make us eat ourselves to death. And if that doesn’t kill us, then pollution which prevents us from burning fat will. As for blaming our flab on the absence of a pack-a-day nicotine habit, all I can say is that, even if it’s true, I’d rather live around overweight non-smokers than slender smokers. That’s just me.
While the doctors mostly ruled out pollution and the fact that so few of us smoke as legit reasons for a society to pack on pounds, they seemed to agree that our diminished shut-eye was a valid reason for many people’s obesity. According to the story, we now sleep one to two hours less a night than we did a generation ago, and when we don’t get enough sleep, we turn ourselves into pot heads with the munchies.
Personally, I’m bummed that they didn’t address my conspiracy theory: The thousands of cash-strapped school districts that cut P.E. from the daily curriculum raised a generation of people who never got the daily exercise bug.
What’s your theory?