Why Are We Fat?
This blog will take a bit longer to read than most -- if you take time, that is, to read this article from the July 20 issue of The New Yorker in its entirety. In it, Elizabeth Kolbert explores various theories as to why Americans are so fat. Is our expanding girth attributable to some evolutionary or biological imperative? Or to the increasing prevalence of high-calorie, low-cost food? And how bad is being fat for us, anyway?
Starting today, obesity experts from all over will gather in the District for the first Weight of the Nation conference. They'll be looking at obesity from all angles, trying to get a handle on our love handles and figuring out what can be done to keep obesity in check.
The conference opens with a bit of a breeze at its back with the news announced last week that, among low-income preschoolers, at least, obesity rates seem to be leveling off a bit. That's not to say there aren't still too many overweight young kids out there, but it's a start.
I'll be following the conference closely and will report any key findings as they occur. If you're on Twitter, you can follow, too: The hashtag is #won09. This page gives other options for following the action.
BTW: Thanks for all the insightful comments on last week's Checkup entry about whether the surgeon general should be slender. Of the more than 2,100 people who voted in that day's poll, two-thirds said nominee Regina Benjamin's weight was immaterial in light of her credentials; the other third said the surgeon general should set a good example by maintaining a slim figure.
Why do you figure we're getting so stout? What do you think can be done about it? Or do you think all this focus on our weight is much ado about nothing?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
July 27, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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