Sunday, October 4, 2009


Alternet has one of their ubiquitous conspiracy theory style stories up regarding the "obesity epidemic" and endocrine disruptors. Its a general overview of recent research regarding chemical interactions (from our common household products like shampoo, make-up, cleaners, plastic containers, pesticides, etc.) with the human body (or many many rat bodies, really) and the increase in obesity. Some of the research was preliminary and mainly dealt with animal populations, but one strong statement from the Endocrine Society I would like to take seriously here said:

In June, the Endocrine Society, a nearly century-old international association of endocrinologists, issued a statement in which its position was clear. In a 50-page paper, the first scientific statement issued by the society, authors wrote: "We present evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity and cardiovascular endocrinology. Results from animal models, human clinical observations and epidemiology studies converge to implicate EDCs as a significant concern to public health.

I do think that we need to be more critical of the chemicals we use (for the Earth's health as well as our own) and I think studies should be well-funded and peer-reviewed. Due to industry pressures, many of these studies remain fringe, but as an individual who values good science I will not make blanket statements about their influence on our lives, health or weight. There's a couple things I want to mention in relation to this article: 1. the tone was so tabloidy for the most part it was hard to take seriously. 2. She mentions lifestyle conditions, like lack of exercise and fast food behind much of the obesity increases in recent years, but then does the whole "its not your fault its the chemicals" ploy, which to me is very diet of the week in Women's World or Redbook.

The fact is, its really complicated. Except for a few cities (hey, NYC) most people rely on cars for transportation for the simple daily tasks of life instead of walking. Senditary, desk work--with few breaks for exercise or sunlight--is the norm. The fast food culture isn't just that of McDonald's, but also sit-down restaurants and boxed family meals for at-home heat-up. Real food is rare. We get too little sleep, not enough exercise, and we eat crap. And some people are still thin, amazing (those people have metabolisms that astound me). Also, lets not forget the BMI's changed a while back making more people officially fat when they were considered fine before and we have a messed up beauty industry that promotes 100lbs, 5'10'' glamazons who take drugs to be that thin on every magazine cover and advertisement (including fast food advertisements). So, yes, these Obesogens (its a new word one of the researchers coined if you want to read the whole article) may very well contribute to our problems, but we got MANY PROBLEMS.

Personally, I'd like to take back my life--my 40 minute commute each way ain't helping me to exercise or sleep. I'd like to not be glued to a desk all day, but be paid for work, not time. I'd like fresh, organic fruits and veggies to get subsidies, not High Fructose Corn Syrup (which does get HUGE subsidies). I don't want to have to reach for the 100lbs glamazon "ideal" but for what is really healthy--thank goodness I've let that thing go. Right now, I wanna be less fat and more fit, but I want to be able to maintain, not stress about holding onto a weight I can't really do. To do this, I need to change the way I interact with the world. Take stock regarding what is really important. I'll update you all on some changes later in the week.



1 comment:

  1. Here is a link about American Commutes.

    You do have a long commute, but I think the current commute rates a skewed due to unemployement.

    But for me, I always chose housing based on commute. It makes it easier for me. Because when you rent you aren't tied to property and can make these choices.