Sunday, January 15, 2012

Medical Professionals Shirk Responsibility for Obesity Epidemic

I was listening to an interview show on the radio this morning, where several medical professionals  condescendingly advised type II diabetics and people with obesity-related ailments to lose weight.  Hog swaggle!  The reason America is facing an obesity epidemic is because our medical paradigm is proving itself unable to grapple with the most serious health problem of our times.  The medical establishment weasles its way out of taking responsibility for the obesity problem  by humilating its victims for lacking sufficient "will power."


After living in Asia several years ago, I kept asking myself why don't women in those countries gain weight as they age?  Why are so few people morbidly obese or even overweight?   Do millions (or actually billions) of people in this part of the world have more "will power" than we do in the West?  Of course not.  Asian residential patterns do compell them to do more walking than we do.  But the  primary issue is diet.  The American diet is toxic at a fundamental level, creating over time, blood sugar imbalances that make it impossible for people with normal levels of "will power" to control unhealthy food cravings.

So what does this observation have to do with the American medical establishment?  In the early 1900's, physicists began noting a growing number of anomalies in the Newtonian view of the way the world works.  It forced a paradigm shift, which led to the discovery of quantum mechanics, ushering  in the information age, computer technologies and a mind-boggling number of technological innovations.

The obesity epidemic is the health anomaly, which should have alerted us to the fact that our current medical paradigm is deeply flawed. But it hasn't.  Why else would the fifty percent of the American public that is overweight have to depend on diet books, condescending lectures about the health benefits of lettuce over Ben & Jerry's ice cream, or bariatric surgeons chopping away at peoples' digestive organs in hopes of reducing food intake? People are not overweight because they lack the cognitive ability to recognize the health benefits of broccoli over Godiva chocolates. It is rather because the biochemistry of their bodies generate cravings for unhealthy fats, sugars and carbohydrates. And this has nothing to do with will power.   

The American Medical Association should be at the forefront of  pushing for actual research into the complex biochemistry of nutrition and lobbying the food industry to reduce the toxicity of what they sell, rather than offering little more than platitudes about the benefits of choosing salad over potato chips.