Fat or Fit. Its Your Choice...Or Is It?

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Why is the battle of the bulge so hard to win? One answer to this question maybe a person's set point. A set point is a person's range of body fat and muscle mass they tend to maintain. So when people try to eat less the set point increases a person's appetite and decreases their metabolism not allowing them to lose weight. An obese person has a set point that is much higher than a thin person. Another reason the battle of the bulge may seem impossible for some people is their genetic makeup. In some cases of obesity a mutation in the melanocortin-4 receptor gene occurs. This causes a person to never feel full regardless of how much they have eaten. scale.jpg The Restaurant Industry also has played a role in the increasing obesity rates in the United States. Portion sizes served in restaurants are over 25% larger now than they were in 1977. A heuristic known as the Unit Bias causes people to eat more food when more food is given to them. With all of these causes of obesity is it still possible to stay fit these days? The answer is yes, and here are some helpful tips. First eat food on a smaller plate, this will make the portions look larger and help you eat less. Also when looking for a diet or weight loss plan avoid the ones that guarantee extraordinary weight loss in a short period of time. These plans are usually not very effective. Find a plan that helps you change your everyday habits and makes exercise a part of your daily routine. I am interested to hear what other people think of this topic. Do you think genetics carries the majority of the blame for obesity, or is it a person's habits? Also what do you think is the most effective way to become fit?

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I think that both genetics and habits are a key factor in weight, although maybe genetics is a little more influential. I say this because I have seen the differences first hand.
My best friend, who I've known since I was three, has had problems controlling her weight her entire life. Growing up, we ate basically the same things, and did about the same level of physical activity, yet she had troubles with weight while I didn't. I realize this is just one situation, but I feel like this is the case for many people.

I found that the "obesity gene" or melanocortin-4 receptor gene occurs in over 30% of the population. This is still a remarkably large percentage for a terrible mutation as it is. Many people do not realize that some people start out at a disadvantage who gain weight easily and find it hard to keep off. However I think that still many people are making the wrong choices when it comes to food. Ideally a plate should consist of half fruits and vegetables! For a lot of people its a challenge to consume healthy foods because they simply are not as flavorful as high processed foods are. If you have a weight problem drinking water instead of sugary drinks can help decrease weight, and simply choosing the right foods to eat.

I agree that a person may be genetically predisposed to being overweight, however, I definitely think that how a person eats and exercises has a much bigger impact on their weight. Many people are predisposed to a variety of diseases and ailments, however that does not mean that they will definitely get them. People need to be extremely conscious of what they eat. We, humans, have unlimited info as to what food is healthy and what amount of exercise is essential to maintain a healthy weight. I know that it may seem like an impossible task to loose weight for some people, but I have relatives who have done it by changing their lifestyles! I definitely think that our society contributes to the obesity epidemic. I live in the dorms and eat in the school cafeteria. There is not a very large selection of healthy food consistently. Also, because the food is served buffet style, it causes people to eat more than needed. I think that we need to change our cultural perceptions on what eating is actually for before we can change how we eat.

I think nurture also plays a major role. I say it because in my family, my dad, mom and I watch our weight more than my brother. We always exercise more and follow strict diets to shed those few pounds that we gain from holidays but my brother is careless and worries about it only after he has gained a significant amount of weight. We always wonder why he is different from the rest of us and attribute the reason to his friends and work pressure.
And like mentioned above, I think the best way to become fit is through a healthy diet and exercise. I am against starving and those quick ways to loose weight.

I believe that the answer if 50/50. Some people are genetically overweight and some people just have bad habits and become obese. Although those that are genetically larger can take the time to become fit but I feel that it is a lot harder just because those are the genes in your body and how you were suppose to be built. Those that are obese due to poor habits, I feel is their own fault. They need to take the time to eat better and exercise more. For both cases exercise in general is good not only for your weight but for the overall system in the body. The best way to be fit I think is to take an hour every other day and do some time of fitness work. Eat smaller meals and if you need a snack, make it healthy!

I believe genetics plays only a small role in the current obesity epidemic Conner. Simply because genetic variation take a few generations to really start showing up in a population and the obesity problem is only a recent phenomenon.

I think it is simple. We are less physically active than ever because we have eliminated most labor intensive jobs from our lives by getting machines to do everything. We spend most of our time sitting, either in front of a computer or TV or behind the wheel of a car.

Food is available 24/7 and is cheap, tasty but not always nutritious. Portion size is part of the problem and the idea of a set point may be true. The problem is that you can easily push your set point up as you increase intake, but it is very difficult to reduce the set point.

Dieting has proven to not be that helpful. DIeters tend to struggle and gain the weight back. People need to pay attention to hunger cues rather than what they see in advertisements. But mainly we need to change the culture. If 2/3 of the population is overweight then it will increasingly seem normal to be fat.

If that is what we want as a society, then go for it. Otherwise, we should help each other think more carefully about what we eat and how to get more exercise back into our lives.

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This page contains a single entry by hedst058 published on March 31, 2012 11:52 PM.

What are children missing out on while watching television? was the previous entry in this blog.

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