Originally posted by amazed
No matter what a families eating and exercise habits might be, I can in no way condone children being removed from a family because of weight issues.
I would definitely support education though in regards to eating habits and exercise. I would also support places where families could afford to go
to work out, or use an exercise pool.
It's been a long time since I read this, so I haven't specific quotes. But an unusual percentage of my friends are adoptees, and as a result I have
some interest in that situation in general. I once read about some research that made it clear that adoptive children followed the pattern of their
birth parents, not their adoptive parents--even those adopted from birth. They might have a-parents thin and be overweight, or have a-parents
overweight and the kids would be thin, but it was vastly more correlated to genetics than upbringing.
Also, many of those in the study had siblings--other adoptees or siblings born of the mother--so raised in the same general environment by the same
person with the same general habits, which is what was initially thought to make children overweight, that 'probably their mothers were overfeeding
them, even unintentionally'. Didn't turn out to be the case at all, and if there were 5 children of 5 mothers in a family of close ages raised
together, they might be 5 completely different bodyfat ratios.
This is NOT to say that environment does not matter--I personally believe it does. I'm relatively certain if I still ran around warehouses in a
hardhat 14 hours a day barking at my men I'd be thinner than I am as a programmer who sits all the time. I'm pretty certain that if any child were
involved in a good deal of consistent exercise they would probably have less 'extra' bodyfat than they would have otherwise. (And this NOT because
of calories burned, but rather, because exercise decreases insulin-resistance, and insulin is the primary fat-storage hormone.) Anything that affects
glandular secretions and hormones, including stress but other things as well, can make the situation better or worse.
I'm reading a book right now called "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert M. Sapolsky (a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford). It's
written very entertainingly. Anyway there are some sections in there where he is talking about various things, for example pain perception (emotional)
and, interestingly enough, bodily-reaction as well, and how it's pretty well arbitrary in many cases. With NO physical differences at all, the
perception of pain can range from unnoticed to agony and everywhere in between, and the body's own response to things can be changed, based solely on
say, hypnosis. (Totally separate from this book: My favorite scoffer story is from the end of last century where a man volunteered to have his leg
sawed off--it had to be done and he thought it would be a good chance to demo it--while using only hypnosis; no morphine, as pain relief. This was
done as an official demonstration for a medical board. Their conclusion? ... the guy was faking it; probably he just didn't feel them sawing his leg
Anyway the minor point I'm making here is that even when there is demonstrably *no* difference in *physical* elements, a shift in mental
elements--including life circumstance, and probably even nutritional fulfillment since that can affect so much about mood--can cause significant
change in personal perception of self (like maybe being tired all the time vs. feeling like playing racquetball, who knows) as well as actual change
in the body's responses. So given that's the case, trying to make a case for obvious genetic variability seems almost redundant, as there is
variability in humans based on factors even well outside that.
In the Taubes book he shows a photo of a woman in medical treatment maybe a century ago (I don't remember the date) who is severely obese from the
waist down and severely emaciated from the waist up. Is she guilty of overeating, or undereating? Which 'half' of her is the glutton if she's only
got one mouth? It is a startling photo and is used to underscore the point that the body creates and stores glycerides in fat cells, and empties them
from fat cells to be used as energy, and this is a hormonally regulated system and obviously the hormonal regulation part can get out of whack. And is
doing so a good deal in today's world.
That's not to say that poor eating habits are not ever part of the initial impetus; but the reality is that essentially our standard diet is screwing
up a huge % of human bodies hormonally, starting in early childhood. It's doing worse to them if the genetic line does not process carbohydrate well.
But much of the metabolic damage that is being done in our culture, is not being done suddenly, because someone out of the blue just felt like sitting
around while eating bonbons to excess; it's being done on seemingly 'fairly normal' (for modern culture, not for the human body) diets over the
course of a lifetime. Depending on the diet and the genetics, this might show up when you're 8 years old -- or when you're 42 -- it varies.
So this means that eventually the damage starts causing change in the hormonal regulation of fat tissue and the person is not doing anything different
than they ever were (the same eating habits that had them thin most of their life, or even much better ones, are not stopping weight gain). Since the
modern idea of a diet (low fat/cal high carb) is the polar opposite of what the body needs at this point -- the blood sugar (insulin is a hormone)
issues caused by this just make the problem worse, as well as undereating causing other side-effects that make the body fight back -- it's a
spiraling circle downwards to yet worse metabolic problems and more body fat.
Now MANY people who are only slightly overweight don't have too serious a condition yet and if they merely reduce calories and exercise they will
lose weight. For people who are only slightly overweight, and who are not women 35+ (likely in our culture to have issues with thyroid,
peri-menopause, and other hormonally based 'sluggish metabolism' effects), a "typical diet and exercise" will probably work just fine for them. Of
course this'd make them and onlookers think that's all it eas for anyone. But really, that category is getting more rare.