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Old 20 May 2016, 08:28 PM
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Errata Errata is offline
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,174

Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Anyway, my point is that I do not know what sort of technical solution you expect to the problem of obesity. Perhaps we could stimulate additional brown fat to burn more calories. Still, that is likely to just make us hungrier. As far as I can tell, the solution has to be behavior modification, which is a moral solution, not a technological one.
Multiple avenues of change in both our environment and our bodies. Humans didn't suddenly get morally inferior. Rich people have always had the capability to buy far more food than they could ever eat, but they haven't always been obese. In fact today they struggle with it less than the poor, despite having access to a greater abundance of food. Saying that we have more food now so we're fatter is an extreme oversimplification. It's definitely a part of the problem, but not the whole story. Lots of people have had an overabundance of food for a very long time, but the ratio of them that get fat varies quite a bit, and it's not been primarily due to having the iron will to deprive themselves.

Some foods are worse than others, and our food technology has cut a lot of corners to make cheap food that is not as nutritious as it could. Our self created environment encourages the increase in obesity, but this is a reversible trend.

Some individuals are less prone to struggle than others. It's not entirely down to differences in behavior. If one individual wants to change, then modifying their behavior is their only option. But some people have much less problem with it than others. It's not even just differences in metabolism, there are a whole host of physiological differences impacting weight gain, most of which are currently beyond our control but won't be forever. There is considerable biological variation between individuals that affects obesity, and this will all be subject to change. There is even more variation between species, and the human genetic diversity is relatively modest. They sky is the limit with biological adaptations that do not currently exist in the human population, but even just remixing genes currently in the population could drastically change weight problems.

Anyway, it's all very long term. For the indefinite present, diet and exercise, that's all we can expect in our lifetimes. Any technological progress would be welcome, but we can't wait for that to act on our current health problems.

Last edited by Errata; 20 May 2016 at 08:33 PM.
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