There is NO Obesity Epidemic

We are constantly hearing about a raging obesity epidemic that is sweeping the country. Recently we hit a landmark where over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese. The epidemic tragically hasn’t even spared our children who are ballooning at an alarming rate. There is no end or cure in sight for this ever-increasing problem. I think that the reason for this is that we are looking at the problem all wrong. Truth be told… there is NO obesity epidemic.

What is obesity anyway? It’s simple to diagnose. You take a person’s weight and compare it as a ratio to their height and voila!  If you are over a certain number then you are officially overweight or obese. We call this ratio Body Mass Index or BMI. It’s a useful number because it’s fairly reliable for identifying an increased risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some types of cancer. However, it’s definitely limited in its flexibility for different body types. But at its core obesity is really just a ratio. It’s not a disease or a virus, parasite or bacteria. Yet for some reason we talk about obesity spreading like the black plague; as if rubbing up against a chunky person on the bus or being sneezed on by a husky individual will cause you to start swelling.

Since there is really no “Obesity Disease” then there is no epidemic. Let me give you another way to look at obesity. It is a symptom. Just like a cough or a fever or hot flashes. Obesity is a symptom of a lifestyle problem or an endocrine problem or some other cause or disorder. Imagine if we treated a cough the way we treat obesity. Coughs can be caused by a cold, or smoking, or lung cancer, or choking on food, or a hundred other things. Most Americans cough and some coughs are dangerous and some aren’t so dangerous but we never talk about a “Coughing Epidemic”. The reason is because that would be far too vague. We would spend so much time looking for the perfect cough suppressant and making reality TV shows about finding people who cough and sending them to a ranch to teach them not to cough and so on and so on. It would be silly because there is a lot of stuff that causes a cough but the cough is not the big problem! It’s the food stuck in your throat or the cold or the lung cancer.

Unfortunately we approach obesity in this absurd way. We try to develop pills that keep us from absorbing nutrients like carbohydrates or fats. (Both of which are important to your health). We search rain forests and deserts for roots or magical plants that will curb our appetites or melt our fat away. There are creams, rubs, potions, engineered foods, crazy diets based on theories and cloaked in fake science. HORSE URINE! People are even using HORSE URINE to get skinny! Saddest of them all, we will even staple our stomachs or undergo other life-threatening operations to get rid of the fat. I just want to grab Americans like a Shake Weight and yell STOOOOOOOOOOP!!!

We need to stop treating the symptoms and start looking at why people are the way they are. There is no single cause for the growing rate of obesity. People are fat for a variety of reasons. You can’t treat it all the same. Just like a cough syrup is no cure for lung cancer; fad diets, 15 minute ab programs, and prepackaged meal plans are no cure for whatever is causing the symptom of obesity.  It’s time to stop with these silly cure-all approaches and to start discovering what the body is telling us when we pack on additional weight.  It’s time to figure out why our kids are so fat.  It’s time to wake up to the fact that the “weight loss industry” (I think it’s so ridiculous that we have an entire industry built around this) is a multibillion dollar juggernaut bent on selling you temporary results, quick fixes, and fake science.

So what do we do then?  There is too much to fit in this blog post but over the next few days I will be posting this doctor’s opinion on what can be done.  You might not like it but sometimes the truth is hard.  I’ll include some ways that you can figure out why you may be overweight or obese and what to do about it.  I hope to expose some of the get-thin-quick schemes out there and how they are aimed at mostly making your wallet thin.  I’ll even share my thoughts on a single ingredient that has probably done as much to make Americans fat and sick than any other food additive out there (…and no it’s not fat).

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Sonia Gatherum

    I love it Jason. I actually wrote me senior paper in college about obesity in children. It makes me so sad to see how obese our children have gotten. The personal trainer in me always wants to help.

  2. Josh Gum

    I presume you’ll be sharing your thoughts on sugar.. and I’m looking forward to it!

  3. Laura

    The truth hurts sometimes. But that doesn’t change the truth.

  4. Jason Young, DC

    Close…. but there are greater evils out there than sugar my friend…

  5. Jason Young, DC

    Can you handle the truth? 🙂

  6. Joan

    Jason, this is spot-on! Whatever happened to good old common sense??? I’m so tired of every single magazine that’s published having to include at least one article about how to lose weight through some new diet or exercise program. Really, this one is better than the one you publised last month? Even so-called health magazines have jumped on the weight-loss bandwagon to sell more magazines. I worked hard a few years ago to get to a great weight for me, but the charts still say I should lose 20 more pounds! Thanks again for this voice of reason and good thoughts. You rock, man!

  7. Witherly

    Great article, Jason. I bet I know the one ingredient! Do I get a prize if I get it right?:)

  8. Jason Young, DC

    Sure…. I’ll send you a prize. What’s your guess?

  9. Witherly

    corn syrup?

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