Obesity is a topic that is often brought up by the media. It has been called an “epidemic” or “The biggest public health concern of our generation.”
But what causes it? What perpetuates it? What can we do to fix it?
It is easy to look at it like a equation – What calories you intake must equal what you use; if they don’t add up, you will gain weight. Simple right? Well not quite.
Recently, an attending of mine gave us a lecture and brought up an interesting theory. He claimed that obesity is an addiction. There have been studies that have shown that eating unhealthy foods releases the same chemicals in our brain that are released in the brains of drug addicts. This is an interesting proposition because unlike drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, food is not something we can avoid or just quit cold turkey.
This perspective is interesting to me because it helps paint a picture for those who have not struggled with weight issues about why losing weight is so difficult. It is easy to say that it is because of a lack of self-control or discipline, but it is not so simple.
Regardless of the cause, obesity is a pervasive problem in our society. I have only started to see a small portion of the magnitude of this problem, but I can already tell that it will be a reoccurring topic in my future practice, no matter what field I choose. I’m glad that so many people are finally raising awareness and attempting to find solutions.