By David Edelman
Dr. Sharma, a renowned physician and top obesity blogger, calls attention to a fact: there is no root cause of obesity. This fact is extraordinarily important!
Too many people misunderstand why we gain weight, stereotype those who have gained excess weight, and give faulty advice on how to fix the situation.
Dr. Sharma’s reflection was triggered by reaction to his recent piece on emotional eating. Commenters pointed out that “too much emphasis on the emotional aspects of overeating simply adds another narrative to ‘pathologizing’ people with excess weight.” He reacts:
In other words, not only are obese people gluttonous sloths without will power, they are now also emotionally-wounded wrecks (you can chose, which of these is worse).
The fact, however, is that the vast majority of people with excess weight are none of these.
There are countless people with excess weight, who eat as much or as little as skinny folks; the problem of inactivity and sedentariness in Canada affects 95% of the population (and not just the 60% who are overweight or obese); throughout history, overweight and obese individuals have expressed incredible feats of determination and will power; and psychiatric wards are full of skinny people with mental illness.
Thus, as I have often discussed in previous posts, the ‘root causes’ of obesity are as diverse as not having enough money or time to eat to taking medications for your allergies. Throw in an ounce of genetics (any of the the 1000s of genes involved in appetite, hunger, metabolism), and you have the perfect scenario for continuous and fruitless debates on what is really driving the obesity epidemic.