Genes vs Environment

I made the mistake of looking at this article (click on the link) while eating lunch the other day. Warning, it might make you lose your lunch, or at least lose your appetite.

But it did get me thinking. Why is this OK? I really do feel that we are looking in the wrong places for the “cure” to obesity. And Marion Nestle agrees with me. Researchers are spending so much time looking for the “obesity gene”, and while I think that research is important, I don’t think we are going to find the answer there. In 1980 we saw a marked increased in overweight and obesity in this country. It has steadily increased since then, more so than any past three decades of our existence. Do we really think that there was a change in the gene pool? Suddenly we just don’t have any self-discipline? I don’t think so. I think it will always come back to the fact that there is cheap, unhealthy food everywhere you go. And A LOT of it. We are only going to be as successful as our environment allows us to be. And right now our environment is toxic. The portions, the quality, the locations…it is too much. The mother who’s stroller is stocked for famine, drive through windows because heaven forbid you get out of the car to get your food, marketing campaigns that make food appear to be healthy and fast food restaurants in schools. Food has become too available and there is a constant draw to eat.
So what do you take from this? First, awareness that this isn’t normal or healthy. Second, realizing that you need to take control of your immediate environment to ensure you can lead a healthy lifestyle. And third, quit blaming genes. I realize we come in all shapes and sizes which does depend on genetic makeup. But I am not asking anyone to be skinny. I want you to be healthy. Find your healthy weight by eating well and exercising.
My husband had wise words for me a few years ago that apply here: “If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it. If you can control it, do something about it.”
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD