New Genes IDd in Obesity: How Much of Weight is Genetic?

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Two studies zero in on DNA-based drivers of weight. Is obesity written in our genes?

In two separate papers, published in the journal Science and in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), researchers describe new genetic factors that could explain weight gain in some people. In the Science study, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studying mice found a rare genetic mutation that prevented the animals from burning off fat calories. They also found the same gene was mutated in a group of obese people. And a team based at University College London reported in JCI that a specific form of a gene previously linked to obesity, FTO, can increase craving for high-fat foods.

The discoveries add to the growing body of knowledge about the biology behind weight, and the results confirm that while it’s represented by a single number, weight is the complex combination of a multitude of different metabolic processes, from brain systems that regulate appetite to enzymes that control how efficiently calories are turned from food into energy that the body needs. Making matters even more confusing, these factors are also likely influenced by environmental contributors such as diet and lifestyle.

In the mouse study, the research team determined that mutations in the Mrap2 gene led the animals to eat less initially but still gain about twice as much weight as they normally would. While their appetites returned, these mice continued to gain weight despite being fed the same number of calories as a group of control animals. That led the scientists to figure out that the mice with the mutated gene were simply sequestering fat rather than breaking it down for energy. The mice, like people, possessed two copies of the gene, and mice with even one defective copy experienced significant weight gain, although not as much as those who had two mutated versions of Mrap2.

The scientists found a similar pattern among a group of 500 obese people; they detected four mutations in the human version of Mrap2, and each of the obese individuals possessed only one bad version of the gene.

(MORE: Study Identifies Four New Genetic Markers For Severe Childhood Obesity)

In the British study, the researchers divided a group of 359 healthy men of normal weight by their FTO gene status. The majority of the men had low-risk versions of the gene, while 45 of the participants had mutations that have been linked to greater appetite and caloric consumption. To figure out how the altered genes were affecting appetite, the team measured levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin both before and after meals that the participants ate; the men with the mutated form of FTO did not show the same drop in ghrelin levels, signifying that they were full, as the men with the low-risk form of FTO.

Genome wide association studies, which compare genetic makeups of obese individuals to those of normal weight, are making it easier to flesh out important genetic factors contributing to weight, and researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say that to date, these studies have identified over 30 candidate genes on 12 chromosomes associated with body mass index.

“Thus far mutations in about eight genes are known to cause obesity in humans. But these mutations account for under five percent of the obesity in our society, and certainly are not, by themselves, responsible for the current obesity epidemic, since the mutation rate in these genes could not have changed dramatically during the past twenty years,” says Dr. Joseph Majzoub, the chief of the division of endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and an author on the Science paper. “However, mutations in these genes have led to the discovery of pathways that are important in energy balance in humans, giving us hope that drugs can be developed that affect these pathways to prevent excessive weight gain, either by curbing appetite or increased burning of calories.”

(MORE: What Mice Can Tell Us About Obesity and Genetics)

Here is a round-up of some recent genes, and their products, that have been linked to obesity :

Leptin: Often referred to as the “obesity hormone,” leptin is made by fat cells and acts as a thermostat for the body’s energy needs. Each individual has his own leptin threshold; if leptin levels fall below that amount, the brain understands that the body is starving, and needs more calories. If leptin levels are maintained or surge above that amount, the brain knows that it doesn’t need to take in more food. Unfortunately, while mouse studies showed that overweight mice had lower levels of leptin, the same wasn’t true of obese people, who generally show higher levels of leptin in their blood. Somehow, researchers how believe, these people are not getting the signal to stop eating, which is referred to as leptin-resistance.

Ghrelin: This gene makes an appetite hormone that can make foods look more desirable–especially high-calorie ones — by influencing the brain’s reward system. Some studies have found that  people who are sleep-deprived have increased ghrelin levels, which may explain why lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain.

Neuropeptide Y: One of the brain’s many chemicals, neuropeptide Y may trigger eating by manipulating appetite, possibly resulting from changes in mood and stress levels. It may also contribute to an increased deposition of fat from food calories.

(MORE: Childhood Obesity: Scientists Find Two Gene Variants that Predispose Kids to Weight Gain)

116 comments
JenniferIllsleyMilford
JenniferIllsleyMilford

I'm obese. At just 5'1", I weigh over 250. Here is the thing though. My diet was very controlled growing up. I ate the same way as my skinny sibling growing up. I was active growing up (except when my asthma got in the way, which was a result of genetics, not my weight problem). My mom was thin and my dad, while not thin was definitely under control. I never understood why I had such a hard time with my weight. Then I hit puberty early and by the time I was 12, I had a bra size that would make a porn star jealous but had gained the weight to match it. Around this time my great aunt moved to town. The first time they put us in a room together, everyone's eyes went wide. Here was this very active woman who looked so much like me, there  was suddenly no question where my weight and massive chest size has come from. With the exception of her severe psoriasis, I looked like a younger version of her (the psoriasis showed up for me when I was in college).


There is simply no question that my weight problems are a result of the genetics that I got from that part of my family. Just as there is no question that my little brother was luckier to get the tall skinny genes from another branch of the family tree.

EricVanBezooijen
EricVanBezooijen

Genetics is what makes some people be able to eat anything and not exercise and still not gain any weight, while others have to watch every calorie to manage their weight. However, it's only a predisposition for gaining weight if you do not eat right and do not exercise. You still have to have a bad diet and be sedentary to actually gain the weight. Genetics can't explain the huge difference between the obesity rates in Western countries with sedentary lifestyles and easy availability of calorie-dense junk food and other countries where the population is very active and junk food is not available or is too expensive for the average citizen.

LlordEevil
LlordEevil

I certainly think its a little of both genetics and the environment affecting obesity.  Genetics also affects behavior and because of this alone we would say genetics and obesity are linked.  

apregister08
apregister08

How many people have you seen who are super skinny and have never worked out in their life.  Yes, genetics plays a huge part in this.  It doesn't mean that weight can't be controlled though.

jefnvk
jefnvk

Do I believe there are genetics that may make it a bit harder for some to regulate weight?  Absolutely.  Do I believe that is the reason we have so many morbidly obese?  No.


If genetics is the case, why is obesity a relatively new phenomenon?  Shouldn't we have seen massively obese for the past few hundred years?

MarlaShin
MarlaShin

As an adoptee, I have a perspective others don't. My dad was the sort that could eat anything and not gain, Mom is average. I've fought my weight my entire life. . Some time back I tracked down some of my birth-mother's family and for the first time in my life saw blood relatives. At 5'5" and 180 lbs, I'm one of the thin ones. some of it has got to be genetic. 

sweetdigs
sweetdigs

BTW, there's a very good reason USA and Mexico are the fattest countries in the world..and it has nothing to do with genetics. 

sweetdigs
sweetdigs

No, it just seems that way because fat adults raise fat children. 

BradMadiuk
BradMadiuk

No it's not. It means they eat too much. It REALLY IS that simple.

MikeLand
MikeLand

I walk into a rural based Walmart Super Center.  Well, it was scheduled to be a Hypermart until Walmart dropped that designation.  But when it opened, it was, at the time, the biggest Super Center in the USA with 45 cash stands.  On the first day it opened, it did $1.5M in sales.  This Walmart serves an exclusive 10 county region of the state.  So, I'm walking into one of the entrances and see something along the line of this article.  Rounding the end cap of the aisle I see a huge dad with a ginormous electric cart.  He was 600lbs if that.  Then behind him is mom, with her own huge cart.  She was surely 500 and made honey booboo's mom look like Miley Cirus.  Next is the son who has his own card and was surely 300 lbs himself but only around 10 years old.  Then the final member is sister who looks 8 and is 200lbs herself, has really bad edema, and is wearing pop bottle glasses.  I see this family tooling down the front of the store and i could not but help see what they had in their baskets attached to the handle bars.  I see meats, Little Debbie snacks, Coke, chips, and ice cream.  I then think that obesity is not necessarily hereditary unless if the whole family eats the same.

lanbr3
lanbr3

Look at pictures of people (in grade school, high school, adults) from 1950 and 1960.  Kids played outside, adults mostly did some form of manual work.  Wow, almost no fat adults or kids.  

Food stamps started in the 1960s.  There are now 15 means tested food giveaway programs.  A lot of people work in non manual jobs, kids spend all their time on a computer or game machine.  Now kids in grade school are fat, kids in high school are fat, adults are fat.  Wow, I wonder if there could be a connection?

MikeMcEwen
MikeMcEwen

In the end, isn't it calories consumed vs. calories burned?  I Would think that even a person w/ the defective gene could control his weight if he control his diet.

MikeMcEwen
MikeMcEwen

My question is:  Can even people w/ this gene problem be able to lose weight under the proper setting.

vgupta123
vgupta123

When all other explanations fail (or even if they don't), blame it on the genes. The genome has no lawyer, so it won't even sue TIME for libel. 

The genome wide association studies that are used to find these associations between genes and obesity are a bit like studying all possible association between 10,000 baseball statistics and 10,000 stock prices, and concluding that Exxon's stock price is correlated with the number of home runs scored by a California team on Fridays. 

Most readers don't understand statistics (most TIME writers don't either) well enough to know how worthless this type of evidence is. The researchers often do know that such evidence is worthless, but they will say what their sponsors want them to say. And the sponsors want people to believe in genetic causes because it is good for their business.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

The problem with stories about the research done for the causes of obesity is every dumb, hateful, person who never had the problem "weighs" in. Pun intended. What is so terrible about learning obesity is complicated by the genetic mutations may fail to turn off the appetite center in the brain? There are people who may get help from this kind of research. But, if they got thin, you wouldn't have anyone to despise any more.



sybaris63
sybaris63

Look at pictures of crowds of people in 70's and compare them to pictures of crowds of people today.

This study would have you believe that in the last 40 years some sort of genetic mutation took place in 2/3 of the people, specifically people in the U.S..

I've got some ocean front property in Arizona to sell, cheap!

 

penrose8
penrose8

Another excuse for fat people to claim that it was not their fault. I think that most of this comes from a society that is never hungry. I really don't believe that genes play too much of a role, just enough to use the excuse. Stop eating sugar, stay hungry that last hour before dinner and take responsibilitymfor your health.

zjdraper
zjdraper

Whatever the case, we definitely need these "fat" genes. Eugenics doesn't work, because even a bad trait in one environment can be good or even essential in another. If humanity finds itself in a famine scenerio worldwide at some point in the far future, and we don't have any "fat genes" left, we die. Simple as that. Only people with genes that allow them to quickly store up fat would survive that. People need to stop worrying about if their genes are good or bad, because the answer is: Yes, No, and Maybe, for each and every gene. It's all context sensitive, so find your context.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

Why is this a surprise?  

It took millions of years for human beings to evolve to our current state.  For 90% of that time, food was scarce at best, nonexistent at worse.

Those are the circumstances that most peoples' genes are adapted for.  You can't erase millions of years in the space of a few decades.  There are numerous people out there who do practically nothing but work out and nitpick their diets in an effort to be "healthy" weight, yet they lose weight to a certain point and then plateau.  They can't just work out more or cut their diets more, because they've already done as much as they can't without damaging their health. 

Their genes still think that food as scarce, so those same genes insist that the individual has to have X amount of fat at all times.  No amount of diet or exercise will change that.

Lack of fat is not the only, and certainly not the best, indicator of health.  People who are overweight, sometimes by a lot, but still exercise and eat right still have healthier hearts, bones, and organs than a person of the "correct" level of fat that doesn't exercise or eat right.  You can exercise until you have no time for anything else, but eventually most people will reach a point where their body just refuses to let go of any more fat.

gary
gary

So, when we see a family ,mom,dad,two or three kids all severely overweight , is it cultural, bad parenting , or  bad genetics or a combination of all these factors.

Rob1984
Rob1984

omg, humans are such a stupid species. Stop eating mcdonalds every day, stop eating cause its supper time. Listen to your body, i'll tell you when you are hungry.

asdjklghty
asdjklghty

@EricVanBezooijen While I agree with what you say, being active a lot means nothing. You might think it's possible to burn off the calories from a Whopper. It is but it comes with a price; muscle loss. The only way to gain weight for most people, is to eat more calories than needed. Exercise can burn some calories but if a person eats, more than he or she needs, weight gain will follow even if they exercise. I know a guy who does swimming, badminton and basketball and he is fat. I could list others I know who are pretty active and they are fat. 

And also, in Asian countries like China, there are lots of fat people. "Western" food can be blamed but if you look those eating the traditional Chinese diet, or kind of traditional diet, you'll see that there are many fat people. Both of my grandpas are from China and they lived in Hong Kong for a while. My grandpa on my dad's side is fat. He doesn't eat western food and just eats traditional Chinese food.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@jefnvkThe article clearly states that most obesity is not caused by genetics:

[“Thus far mutations in about eight genes are known to cause obesity in humans. But these mutations account for under five percent of the obesity in our society, and certainly are not, by themselves, responsible for the current obesity epidemic, since the mutation rate in these genes could not have changed dramatically during the past twenty years."]

vgupta123
vgupta123

@lanbr3 Thank god for photography in the 50s and 60s. Otherwise, the experts would tell us that obesity rates haven't really risen so fast (because fast rise contradicts the genetic explanation). Rather we now have better technology to diagnose obesity.

jagonzo1962x
jagonzo1962x

@lanbr3 Even in the 70's and 80's people were skinny. Do remember Farah Fawcett? That was how a lot of woman looked back in the 70's. 

MikeLand
MikeLand

@lanbr3  

You have some good points.  Man, we stayed out to dark 40 and played hard.  We would come home just exhausted and go right to bed and sleep through right until dad came into the room singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning" to wake us up.  We hated it but it did get us up.  If we didn't get up, then he went into the whole song.  We went to school and the physical fitness was like a small version of Marine boot camp.  Yes, we did have Kennedy's physical fitness plan and that meant having to climb that 30-foot tall rope and ring the bell on the ceiling of the gymnasium.  Then on Wednesday night, we went to church and had supper and then went out to the Youth corp.  We played some sport and then went to the service.  Then it was choir practice for our parents and we hit the gym and played like there was no tomorrow.  I was usually covered head to toe in sweat.  We went home and went right to bed.   Fast forward to today and my nephews.  They go to school and there is no physical fitness or PE.  They get out of class and rush home to hook up the Wii so they can game online.  They are only interrupted by supper and then go back and maybe do some homework.  Then they get ready for bed and are restless because they have had no physical activity.  They also go to church on Wednesday night but after the dinner they attend AWANAS where they regurgitate their bible verse and then get their lollipop.  Then its service time and then they go home to the Wii.  Neither of them can run all that well because there has been no time in their lives where they had to actually run.  They can't toss a ball to save their lives and if there is a wifi loss in the home, they get horribly depressed and bored.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@MikeMcEwen 

It is no where near that simple for most people.

Stored fat is what allows human beings to survive periods of drought and famine.  It is what allows women to be able to successfully carry a healthy fetus to term and nurse that child afterwards, which is why anorexics and extreme athletes often stop having their periods altogether; their body doesn't have enough fat to support a baby, it knows it, so it's trying to make sure the woman doesn't get pregnant when they clearly don't have the physical means to carry it to term without killing themselves.

Your genes have millions of years of data that says "We have to have this minimum amount of fat in order to survive, if we go below that threshold it means we are out of food and we need to hang on to every calorie we can get!"

This threshold is different for every individual.  Some people have a higher threshold, others have a fairly low threshold.  It's not a hard and fast rule, more of a spectrum, but in general, you see the following trends:

-Women have a higher fat threshold than men, so men can lose a lot more weight before hitting what many doctors and personal trainers call "the Plateau."

-People whose ancestors came from colder, harsher climates tend to have higher thresholds than people whose ancestors came from warmer, milder climates.  This includes many people of Northern European descent (i.e., a majority of white Americans), people of British, Scottish, Scandinavian, etc. descent.  Compare this to white Americans who are mostly of Central, Western, or Southern European descent:  French, Spanish, Italian, German (Germany sits between North and Central Europe), Greece, etc.  They tend to have a much lower threshold, thanks to a longer growing season and milder winters. They could afford to lose more fat, because they could still find food during the winter; their counterparts in the frozen north could not.

If you have a certain threshold for fat deposits, and you try to push past that, your efforts at losing weight will often backfire.  Instead of losing more weight, you suddenly start gaining more weight, despite "doing everything right."  This is because your body is in a panic, it thinks that the loss of the fat means there is a famine and if it doesn't save what's left than you will starve.

You might know better, but your body does not.

A better benchmark for health is your heart, your lungs, and your bones.  Keeping your heart rate and blood pressure within a certain level, keeping your lungs clear and healthy, and maintaining healthy level of bone density should be the true goal of diet and exercise, NOT the amount of fat on your body or the number on a scale.  Trying to force your body to drop too much weight can negatively impact your heart and bones, and thus is ultimately counter-intuitive.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@MikeMcEwen Yeah, I was wondering that as well.  I mean, if your body literally won't burn fat, that's got to be tough.  Because it implies that the only way to even possibly get rid of that fat build up is to literally starve yourself -- and even then, I'd be interested in finding out how well it works.  What's the chemical mechanism preventing the fat from being broken down, I wonder?

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@MikeMcEwen

The point should not be "losing weight."

The emphasis should be on whether or not your internal systems are healthy.

Human beings have to have a certain minimum level of fat to stay healthy.  Fat insulates the body, provides cushioning and support for muscles and bones, and provides a steady supply of nutrients in order to avoid sudden drops or spikes in blood sugar during times of famine.

Take a look at professional, Olympics-level weightlifters versus people who do hard labor for a living and professional body builders.  Body builders have a  lot of impressive muscle and little to no fat, but their muscle is ultimately useless; it is for show only.  People who work hard labor, with a lot of heavy lifting, are quite muscular but often have a significantly higher amount of fat, especially around the midsection.  This fat is important because it provides additional support and cushioning, and increases balance by lowering the center of gravity to allow the individual to lift heavy loads above their head without causing them to fall, or causing their back to snap backwards. 

This is also why women in general tend to have better balance than men:  your center of gravity is usually wherever the widest point in your body is, which in turn is usually the point where you carry the bulk of your weight.  For women this is usually in the hips, whereas for men the center of gravity is much higher, near the chest and shoulders.  The closer your center of gravity is to the ground, the more stable you are and the better your balance.

Professional weight-lifters fall between these two extremes:  More muscle and less fat than hard laborers, but way more fat and less clearly sculpted muscle than body-builders.

Here's a great visual guide to "beef," that summarizes these differences (you have to click on the thumbnail image to make it big enough to read):

http://coelasquid.deviantart.com/art/Abdomination-How-to-draw-beef-132538271

There are copious amounts of snark there, just as a warning.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@SmoothEdward1 That's exactly the problem.

Implying that having a perfect (by their definition) body is purely a matter of willpower makes them feel they are better than others.  That's all it's ever been.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@sybaris63 Genetics is just one factor of many.

Culture also plays a role.

Remember that between the 1950s and the 1970s, portion sizes continued to rise because people still saw being able to eat excessively as a sign of prosperity.

They also tended to look down on eating fresh food because, again, being able to eat food out of those fancy new packages that were coming on the market meant you had more money.

This page gives a pretty good summary of just how different peoples' attitudes about food were back then, and exactly how unhealthy we know they are today:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheFifties

Basically, today's obesity epidemic is a direct result of folks in the 1970s thinking unhealthy eating habits were quite the opposite, and raising their children accordingly.  Combine that with a genetic predisposition to holding on to fat, and things balloon very quickly.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@zjdraper Thank you!

I really don't understand why it so hard for some people to comprehend that these genes evolved for a darn good reason, and most people are NOT using them as an excuse.

There is a huge difference between a reason and an excuse.

lanbr3
lanbr3

@gary It's a family with no discipline and without brains enough to keep their mouths shut. 

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@gary Like a lot of things, it's a combination of ALL of those factors.

Genetics loads the gun, all the other factors pull the trigger.

Genes that developed during lean times are going to want to hang on to every bit of fat they can grab, because your individual genes are not smart enough to realize that you don't have to worry about starving during the winter anymore.

Culture can contribute by encouraging certain foods and discouraging others.  Cultural eating habits and traditions are based on what was available in the area that culture developed, and what wasn't available, and what their people needed to eat more of in order to survive.  

Most Americans are of mixed European descent, correct?  And most of those are of Northern or British Isles descent in particular.  Take a look at the climate of those areas:  long, extremely cold and wet winters where, in some areas, the ground completely froze, in addition to very short, very dark, very wet summers.  The only foods that could be easily raised or grown were things like potatoes, cabbage, a few very hardy grains, etc.  As for livestock, many of these areas were swampy or mountainous, so that limits you to smaller animals or animals that can handle treacherous terrain:  goats, chickens, pigs, a few breeds of small, hardy cattle.  Not much fish either, not when the lakes and rivers were frozen over and most of the sea-going fish had migrated to warmer waters.

Now, look at the average American diet:  Lots of meat, lots of starch, not many green vegetables, and most of our "traditional" fruits are small berries that would be available in limited quantities.  A good example is the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner:  Turkey (not the healthiest bird, being very pale and dry), bread, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin or apple pie.  Not very healthy now, but at the time, this was all our ancestors could hope to get.

Even those foods were scarce, so our ancestors, all the way to 1947, tended to stuff their faces every chance they got, because they had no idea when they would be able to eat again.  In some areas, like the South, they also added lots of frying oil and breading to increase the amount of calories they could get in one sitting.

Now compare that to food from places like France, Italy, or China.  They had a much longer harvest season, better access to trading routes (it's much harder to convince merchants to risk colder waters, hypothermia is a nasty way to die and icebergs...let's not go there) to get a wider variety of foods, spices, and different varieties of seeds that they could breed for different results.  These were the "bread baskets" of their parts of the world.  In French, Italian, and Chinese cuisine, you see more lean meats, more green vegetables, more fruits, etc.

Don't think I need to explain what bad parenting does.  Not just by leaving a bad example; abuse and neglect, or an emotionally stressful environment (parents fighting all the time, etc.) can trick a growing child's body into assuming that "I might starve to death if I don't stuff my face at every chance and hold onto every single molecule of fat!"

Sorry for the rant; I just find these subjects very fascinating!

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@Rob1984 Really?  So...people who carry more weight than you think is necessary "only eat McDonalds?"  And that's the only reason they have more fat?

I'm 5' tall, female, about 130 lbs, of mostly Irish and Scottish descent.  I do a lot of walking and taking the bus, I'm relearning how to ride a bicycle (bit difficult with all the jerks on the trails), I participate in swimming competitions, and I usually spent my free time wandering around very large plant nurseries (a good 2-3 hours of walking, several times a week).

I tend to eat very small amounts of food at meals, to the point of earning nicknames regarding my "bird stomach."  I avoid foods that are greasy or excessively fatty, because they just don't taste good to me and the smell of the grease makes me feel sick.

I wear size 2 jeans, usually a size small or extra-small top, but according to the BMI I am at least 20 pounds overweight.

So...I clearly only eat McDonald's, right?  I'm clearly not exercising enough, despite having a 26" waist.  I'm clearly a disgusting fat slug because I don't fit the BMI index, nevermind the fact that my blood pressure and all other indicators of health have always been normal or slightly better than normal.

Because fat is the only thing that matters, and it is all my fault for not eating right by some anonymous Internet Keyboard Crusader's standards. :)

radjacks
radjacks

@RekkaRiley @MikeMcEwen 

Your comment about midsection fat providing some benefit to the hard laborer has zero foundation in science.  Yes, the body does need some fat and other energy to survive, but beyond a certain small amount, people are just overweight. Period.  Your views, while long-winded, sound uninformed and borderline quack-ish.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@RekkaRiley @SmoothEdward1 ?  Do you really think someone weighing 400 lbs, who is unable to walk easily around the block (as a former friend of mine was) is "healthy"? 

Sure, being 20 lbs "overweight" is largely a matter of perception.  But there comes a point when activities are sharply limited by weight and health is sharply affected.  Recognizing that is not just a matter of wanting to "feel better than others".

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@sybaris63 Pardon me, I pasted the wrong link.

I forgot that they separated the Useful Notes section from the actual media Trope page.

Here is the Useful Notes page on The Fifties:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/TheFifties

The section on food and drink habits in particular is a little over halfway down the page. 

They also have similar pages for other decades, and a whole host of other subjects.  Very fascinating reading, with suggestions for where to pursue more specific examples.  

skullaria
skullaria

@RekkaRiley @zjdraper I had a very fat grandmother who had 9 children.  When she was young, she was VERY shapely.  I suspect that her body's tendency to store fat actually gave her an advantage in finding a mate and starting to reproduce EARLIER in life.  She was like...Dolly Pardon stacked...as a young woman!

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@The_Observer_7 @RekkaRiley I'm not quite sure I understand your statement.  Could you elaborate?

If it was sarcasm, then you are aware that sarcasm does not carry over very well in text?  Not without some kind of modifying sign at least, hence why many gamers include "/sarcasm" at the end of a joke, to confirm what they meant.

I'm going to take a guess and assume you are referring to my statement about evolution.

Yes, it took millions of years for human beings to evolve to their current state.  For most of that time, food and resources were scarce.  Our bodies evolved for that environment, not our current one.  Even in the United States and other first-world countries, food has only been available in excessive amounts to the majority of the populations since just after World War 2.

That's, let's see...let's take a conservative estimate and say WWII was completely finished, in all the theaters of war (Pacific, European, etc.) by 1947.  That means we have only had approximately 66 years of surplus food for everyone.

66 years is nowhere near enough time to erase data that took several million years to build up.

While you as a whole human being may be intelligent enough to understand that you really don't need to be storing extra fat in order to survive the winter, the individual systems and organs that make up your body are not that smart.

If your genes are saying "According to our data, we must have a minimum of X calories stored in Y area in order to maintain our survival," no amount of diet and exercise will convince your body to let go of that fat.  Not without triggering your body into trying to store MORE fat, because now it thinks that there's a famine going on.  

Many people who are trying to lose a lot of weight reach a point where, despite all their efforts at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, they suddenly start gaining weight again.  This is because they pushed things too far, and now their body is panicking and assuming that "we're starting to run out of food, we need to start saving up again!"


Rob1984
Rob1984

lol, you are stupid. If you fit in a size 2 pant, and yet follow your bmi and think you are fat, then you are stupid. 

TerenceP.Brashear
TerenceP.Brashear

@radjacks@RekkaRiley@MikeMcEwen
 

Rekka sounds like Marilyn Wann........all her science comes from fellow bloggers and not clinical work that is subjected to peer review.

The article is discussing obesity:

"Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat."

Having too much body fat it obesity and is clinically proven to not be healthy.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@skullaria @JenniferBonin @RekkaRiley @SmoothEdward1 I never said otherwise.  I'm absolutely aware that some people are unlucky and drew the short straw genetically.  I'm also aware that, depending on your job and required daily activities, some people have it easier to automatically get in "ordinary" exercise -- my sisters are out "exercising" in their farm fields every day, while I get less "ordinary" exercise seated at my work desk, for example.

Despite that, I think it's possible to recognize that, after a certain point, weight becomes a severe detriment to both health and lifestyle.  I don't think you have to be cruel or insensitive to recognize that fact.  When people do, they're not always doing so to "despise" others or because they want to make themselves feel better than someone else.  That's because from a purely logical, impersonal perspective, it IS true.  Just because some people use this truth in a way designed to be purposely hurtful doesn't mean everyone who recognizes it does.

I can recognize that someone who's blind will have difficulty doing certain activities, without thinking I'm better than he is just because my eyes work normally.  Similarly, I can recognize that someone who's extremely obese will have difficulty with some activities, without being bragging about my own weight.  It's just a fact, unfortunate though it may be.

skullaria
skullaria

@JenniferBonin @RekkaRiley @SmoothEdward1 When weight problems get that bad, or someone has other phyiscal problems that limit their mobility- weight/mobility problems only compound and get worse.  It is easy to say for someone to say 'You need to exercise more' when you only have the frame of reference as to how it feels TO YOU, someone able to do it without a lot of pain.  

Mar
Mar

@Rob1984  

Your level of knowledge to the subject matter compare to RekkaRiley is way too far behind my friend. Trying to tell others that you think you know better but you know for a fact you don't.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@Rob1984 @RekkaRiley It is called making a point.

And clearly you do care what people look like, otherwise you would not be commenting on appearances and how they link to lifestyle habits.

But, I digress.

I do believe that you might be an Internet Troll, judging by your deplorable grammar, generic username, insistence on ridiculing others and throwing out accusations of lying, and your lack of a user picture.

I refuted your argument, with factual evidence, and you have failed to provide a counter refutation.  So, you resort to deflection and accusing your opponent of lying, to distract from your failed argument.

Rob1984
Rob1984

@RekkaRiley @Rob1984  i have no idea what you are replying to. are you defending yourself or others, when you replied to  my Original post. I really do not care what you look like.

RekkaRiley
RekkaRiley

@Rob1984 How am I stupid?

I don't think I'm fat at all.  I'm quite proud of myself, actually.  Most of my weight is carried in my hips, thighs, and butt, which is where the medical community says I SHOULD be carrying it.  Underneath that fat, is enough muscle that I once accidentally bruised someone with a playful nudge.

The medical community no longer considers the BMI an accurate indicator of health, precisely because it does not show how the weight is carried, whether it is fat or muscle or internal organs (the human brain alone is 3 lbs), what the individual's build is like.

Your BMI does not say how healthy your heart and lungs are, how sturdy your bones are, etc.  My BMI says a 5' female should be no more than 112 lbs, yet every doctor I've spoken to has said that in most cases that would be bordering on anorexia.  125 lbs is considered a much healthier weight.

Unlike some people, I actually keep up with the news and scientific literature.  And unlike some people, I can spell and use correct punctuation.  Sadly, I cannot say the same of you.

I am signed in using Facebook.  You are welcome to check, then come back and tell me how fat you think I am.