Science & Stigma With Obesity

Obesity is a common and serious health issue in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 1/3 of US adults have obesity and it’s on the rise. Obesity puts someone at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. So why is this such a rising issue and what is really happening biologically with obesity?


Obesity Science

Normally, when we eat food, there are two types on neurons in our brain that regulate our appetite. POMC-neurons tell us to stop eating and AgRP-neurons tell us to eat. Eating causes release of the hormone insulin, which activates POMC-neurons to get us to eventually stop eating. However, when obesity is present, we eat too much. This over eating causes our neurons to become stressed and overworked, which makes the normal insulin regulation work incorrectly. The POMC-neurons are unable to tell us to stop eating and the AgRP-neurons are over activated. This in combination with the reward system of our brain that responds positively to our favorite foods is no match for any sort of will power anyone may be able to muster.

Rethinking Obesity

Society paints this picture of obesity as this condition people have because they have no self-control around food and are lazy, living a sedentary life. This however isn’t the case for most people suffering from obesity. Obesity is a biological disease that effects how our brain functions. Take that in combination with many of the foods and food additives present in our society not being healthy and adding to the problem, basically a person is helpless against all odds. Treatment for obesity can be a lifestyle change, but also may require medication or surgery to reset the neurological imbalance that is present. As research into obesity continues, maybe we’ll be one step closer to finding effective treatments and even preventative treatments for obesity.

For more on the science behind obesity:

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