Obesity levels in the UK have doubled over the past two decades and 67% of men and 57% of women are now overweight or obese. Oh, and being obese can knock up to nine years off your life, so I guess it is good that scientists are actively working to combat this growing problem. Thing is, are they starting in the right place?
Obesity is not just about being fat. It raises the risk of many health problems including diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. There is no doubt that it is a serious issue. Obesity threatens to have parents outlive their children and there is a very real concern that it could bankrupt the National Health Service (NHS).
It surely has to be a good thing that the rise in obesity and ways to combat it are being researched throughout the western world. But, is anybody asking the right question?
I read today about a new diet injection that has just been approved by the European drugs regulator as safe and effective. The drug, which costs £2.25 per day, has been shown to help slimmers lose almost a stone more than if they had used methods such as counting calories and exercising.
Like most drugs, however, it has known (and probably unknown) side-effects. The most common of these is nausea. It is unclear how long patients need to take the drug, but the report I read said ”it could be for life.”
Ever heard the saying “addict a customer, you have a customer for life”? It is a seriously effective way of making profits, but is it really the answer to the obesity crisis?
I can’t help but think that all of the scientists are working to answer questions such as “how can we create something to fight obesity?” or “what can we do to help obese people lose weight, regardless of their lifestyle or diet?”
See, the thing is that the scientists are doing some clever stuff to try and find answers to these questions BUT I think they are all asking the WRONG BLOODY QUESTION!
So often in life we hold ourselves back by asking the wrong questions (this is something I often spend time discussing with my coaching clients).
If you ask me, the questions that need to be asked by the scientists and researchers are:
- What have we changed about our lifestyles in the last 50 to 100 years that is CAUSING the obesity crisis?
- What did our ancestors (who didn’t become obese) do that we could model?
- How can we educate our children to PREVENT obesity?
It seems to me that all the focus is on the symptom. My plea to any scientist reading in this is please, please, PLEASE focus on the cause. We don’t need injections that target our appetites, we need real food, grown in real soil. Food that feeds health on a cellular level and isn’t laden with man-made chemicals.
We may have made great progress in climbing the evolution ladder, but I can’t help thinking that recently it has been leaning on the wrong wall.
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