Captain Sasha May 6th, 2011
When I was a little boy, my mum used to take me to the circus in town, where one of the chief attractions was a fat woman. At that time, being fat guaranteed you instant celebrity status, although not quite the way you wanted. However, as I grew up and had more exposure to the rest of the world, seeing fat people became more commonplace.
Till the late 1990s, the only morbidly obese people we’d come across were Americans and affluent Arabs. However, today it seems that there is an obesity epidemic all over the globe. People in traditionally slim countries are getting obese at an alarming rate, bringing with them a host of health problems and costs associated with being fat. So what is it making people fat at this rate?
According to common wisdom, when you eat much and don’t get enough exercise, you get fat. If the calories you consume is more than calories burned, your body starts storing the excess as fat. While actual metabolic pathways are a lot more complex than that, this is the general rule.
In the past, people used to eat a lot less and physically exert themselves a lot more than what they do today. Only rich people had cars, most people walked, bussed or biked to school and work. Because of traditional farming methods, food wasn’t as abundant so people ate smaller portions. Since the food was unprocessed, it was more nutrious and filling than today’s junk food. Leisure time was spent in playing sports or socialising, both of which kept the metabolism running. Hence, people stayed slim.
However in today’s world, the metabolic jobs of our body are taken over by machines. As cars became affordable to any one with an average income, people walk very little, if at all. Food processing techniques have created a flood of cheap processed food, which is consumed by the bucketloads. People sit for hours at desks in their climate controlled offices, where breathing is the most strenous physical exertion. When they are back from work, they plonk down in front of the TV for hours before they eat and go to sleep. The most exercise people get is walking to the nearest grocery shop a week for supplies.
No wonder there are more and more fat people all over.