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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What if?

Across the spectrum of health publications and literature there is one prevailing thought on the subject of obesity. The one line of thinking is that obesity has increased exponentially in the last thirty years and the blame lies with sugary foods and video games. Adults and especially children have fallen prey to these culprits and their health has suffered as a result.

Some flesh out this hypothesis with the anecdotes of a Norman Rockwell portrait. They opine that when they were young they rode bicycles and ran around rather than sitting for hours in from of a television or computer screen playing games while piling on the pounds. Add to this their notion that all of their meals were home cooked and therefore healthier than what kids get today. What if there are other explanations for the so called obesity crisis?

Is it possible that what we eat or how much we eat has little effect on our girth? Could we not open up to the theory that no matter how much or how little we engage in physical activity our weight is little affected? These are distinct possibilities deserving of serious scientific inquiry because we all have different genetic makeups. No one of the over 6 billion people on the planet is alike. Consider that our hair colors and textures, eye colors and shapes, height, shoe size and so on are all different. Yet all of us in order to be healthy are supposed to have a similar weight set within a very narrow range.

What if it is just the case that some are naturally thin and some are naturally plump? What if it is our genetic makeup that determines this? For example I could assemble images of 4 or 5 members of my family all of who share the same basic body type and build. Is that a fluke? Is that an accident? No that is because we all share similar genetic building blocks. In fact those same people also share several common temperament and emotional traits. Again is this accidental?

What if weight and health are not as closely correlated as is currently thought? Sure extremes of weight on either side of the scale can have negative consequences but many studies show that a little around the middle is actually protective of health rather than destructive.

The truth is that a true science should not and cannot make a once for all definitive claim about anything. If they do they cease to be followers of true science which is the discovery of knowledge. To willingly close ones self off to other hypotheses seems quite unscientific.

What if the health community announced that they will no longer look at us with disdain for our weight or diet or lifestyle choices? Such might border on the miraculous. Science and the health establishment too often cross the line from reporting findings to binding personal beliefs on others. Such should not be the case since there are obvious alternative explanations for things in the real of health.

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