Sunday, July 21, 2013
To sum up, researchers found a genetic mutation in mice that seems to have made them obese - they ate as much as other mice, but for some reason their metabolisms didn't work the same way and they held on to the energy, making them gain weight. This mutation is also found in people, although VERY rarely.
What I like about these studies linking obesity to genetic differences is that maybe eventually, doctors and just random people on the street will stop judging overweight/obese people and assuming they aren't taking care of themselves. Maybe they'll think, "Well it could just be that they're a lazy slob with no self-discipline...OR they could just be wired differently than me and maybe it's not their fault."
I don't want to make "it's my genes!" an excuse for being obese or something. I will be the first to admit that my own obesity was purely a result of emotional eating, boredom eating, laziness, lack of understanding of proper portion sizes, apathy towards my situation ("I'm already fat, what difference does it make if I eat half this ice cream container?"), and the foolish sense of immortality that you have when you're young and you don't worry about your blood pressure or having strokes or heart attacks or whatever.
Still...studies like these might help us all grow in compassion a little, and maybe think more kindly or more open-mindedly about other people's situations. Keep up the good work, SCIENCE! :)