Finally, an Intelligent Approach to Combating Obesity

Posted by in Health Matters

An interesting article comes from Australia about obesity. Professor Stephen Simpson recently received Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his work in obesity research. His message is simple and brilliant.

A Multi-Discipline Approach

Rather than looking for panaceas like a school lunch program, Simpson explains that obesity research needs to be redefined to reflect the complexity of the problem. He encourages a multi-discipline approach that recognizes the myriad of factors that influence obesity.

He cites the political and economic system that fosters processed foods with low nutritional value. He also points to our love affair with convenience, with technology such as cars, escalators, and elevators that keep us from expending energy. We have climate-control in our homes that may hinder the formation of brown fat.

Other Contributing Factors

I’d add some other factors to his list. Marketers and manufacturers who almost encourage women to stay full-figured with fashions that accentuate their curves remove an incentive to lose weight. And as a study by the Loyola University Health System points out, food and beverage industry shares the guilt by promoting misleading information. Coca-Cola, for example, recently produced marketing material that downplays the role of diet in obesity.

The point is that obesity is a complex problem, with many mitigating influences and causes. A solution, therefore, is not simply limiting the amount of ketchup in school lunches. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have an obesity issue.

Drawing on his research in entomologist, Simpson’s goal is to create a new cross-disciplinary approach. It would  addresses the complexity of the “obesogenic environment” that fosters obesity and its subsequent health consequences. Only then can millions of overweight and obese individuals truly embrace a healthy life on the road to wellness. Chris DR

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