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Where do we fit? Or do we fit?

On Earth Day 1970, it was decided that

Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” – Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

If anyone had chosen India to demonstrate the fate, it not only did not happen, but a generation or so later, the opposite happened, an obesity problem in the middle class.

Western food is blamed in typical reports from the scene.

But in reality, one would need to repeal the laws of thermodynamics to create a situation in which a human being can both store energy as fat and expend it in heat-generating activities at the same time. Western food has not overcome this physics problem in the West or anywhere else. 

The logical conclusion is that, due to technology diffusion, many people in India today, as elsewhere, eat more and are less active.

Worldwide, in any environment where evidence-based agriculture is permitted, obesity is a risk. And here is a prediction: In time, billion-dollar industries will be marketing the latest diet fad to people worldwide, including people who grow up on photoshopped images of impossibly thin celebs.

Here are three facts worth knowing:

1. The real health risks typically stem from being obese, not overweight. The difference is worth taking the time to understand.

The term Overweight is generally used to indicate the excess weight while Obese refers to excess fat. Being overweight means having more body weight than is considered normal or healthy for one’s age or build. On the other hand, Obesity is the condition of being obese, i.e., excess amount of body fat. While an overweight person will carry excess weight, he may or may not have excess accumulation of fat.

Most advertised medical concerns relate to clinical obesity, not overweight. If a person is only “overweight,” worrying a lot about it may be more harmful than the excess weight, especially if it causes that person to do something more harmful to their health (for example, smoking).

2. One-off dieting does not work. That’s generally true and a recent study confirmed it. Most people who struggle with obesity need to change their lifestyle over the long term in order to arrive at a body shape that feels right for them.

3. Weight loss solves one important problem: It takes a load off overworked body systems. That is a very good thing in itself. But it cannot directly help with self-esteem, relationships, or success in life generally.

People who feel they should reduce their weight can also reduce their stress by not letting their self-worth depend on it. Everybody who loves them will love them anyway. People who do not care about them will not start to care because they lost weight.


Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...