The Epidemic Of America…Obesity

Obesity is a major problem in the USA but how much of it’s onset is due to actual physical problems and how much is due to the fast paced world we live in and perhaps laziness?  This week we talked about leptin and insulin’s signalling in obesity.  The first question asked by our discussion leaders was in the fast paced world we live in, is it more important to develop an anti-obesity drug or to promote healthy eating habits and exercise?  Personally I believe that the major cause for obesity is the convenience of being lazy and being able to live in such a way.  I think promoting a healthy lifestyle is the best course of action because not only will the rate of obesity be declined but all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle will enter into the lives of Americans, quality of life in America will increase and I feel that exercise and healthy diet are the best way to achieve that.

Another big topic we touched on was the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in countless foods we eat nowadays.  Leptin and insulin are signals in the body that tell us when we are full and when we are hungry.  HFCS slows the release of leptin causing us to not  to know when to stop eating and thus makes us eat more than we need.  The question was whether the government should regulate the use of HFCS or should the food companies be morally obligated to preserve human health.  I think that again the answer lies with the consumer and not the government or the food companies.  The reason HFCS is used in so many things is because the government rewards farmers for growing it, thus making it cheap to use.  If the government regulated the use of it they would have to stop subsidizing it and thus make it more expensive to use, thus making everything more expensive and making a lot of food unattainable to families that are poorer.  Again the answer is to promote better living habits because that will keep HFCS cheap while still reducing obesity.

The last big topic we covered was whether leptin resistance or the addiction to food had the major effect on obesity.  What this meant was whether we thought that something was physically wrong in people with obesity or whether obesity was effected more by the fact that people get addicted to the taste of the food that they can’t stop eating it. I think that it is a combination of both.  To be more exact I think that one causes the other which in turn causes the first to occur more.  What I mean is that people get addicted to the taste of food or eating itself, which causes the increased consumption of HFCS which causes leptin to be released slower, which causes you to eat more which increases consumption of HFCS…etc.  The only way I can think of fixing this aspect of obesity would be making food taste bad but let’s be honest that just isn’t going to happen.