Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Why are we getting fatter?
Re: T&G article No end to Obesity Epidemic, May 8, 2012: In March of 2011 there was a little article in Scientific American about a study which showed that not only was there an obesity epidemic among Americans, but that it was worldwide. And more startling, there is an obesity epidemic among dogs and cats, feral cats, city rats, suburban rats - and laboratory rats! Laboratory rats, in cages, being fed carefully controlled standardized diets prepared by scientists, are getting fatter over the years, generation by generation! Now you tell me that wild rats, wild cats and laboratory rats are getting fatter because they're getting lazier and watching too much TV, playing too many video games! This totally upsets the whole national conversation about what we're doing wrong as individuals that's making us fat. The study, "Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics," by Yann C. Klimentidis and 11 other authors in the *Proceedings of the Royal Society B*, November 2010, is very impressive. It needs an answer. Why are we only beginning to hear about it now? Why wasn't it on the front pages of every newspaper in the world? Something is poisoning us all, something that is everywhere, something that reaches wild suburban rats and laboratory animals. Something that dieting and exercise won't fix. It could be in the food, in the air, or in something that is all present, like the plastics that our food is stored and processed in. It's probably not mainly in the water because that would produce local hot spots. Finding out what is doing this and dealing with it at whatever cost is what our national obsession should be. But if no one talks about it perhaps we'll be safer? Perhaps that's why a Google News search picked up almost no coverage anywhere.