I had a problem with Ruopeng An and Roland Sturm’s article at the RAND Blog on myths about American obesity:
There are lots of theories about what’s causing the epidemic of obesity in America. Already, two in three Americans are overweight or obese. If current trends continue, some people believe a majority of Americans will be obese in another decade or so.
A few years ago we teamed up to crunch the data looking for possible policy solutions. We used national studies and government databases to search for ways to combat the epidemic. To do that we needed to look for evidence of what was driving Americans’ weight gain. Was it neighborhood “food deserts” where it was hard to find healthy food? Is healthy food just too expensive? Are Americans exercising too little? Drinking too much sugary soda?
Along the way, we found out that the data don’t support many of the popular theories about what’s causing obesity to increase so dramatically. And we reached one indisputable conclusion: We’re all getting fatter.
The problem I had was with their conclusion:
The hard truth is simple: If we want to stop getting fatter, we have to start eating less.
The authors obviously continue to believe in the simple thermodynamics theory of weight gain, despite the evidence against it.
In my own case I consume about 1,800 calories a day and exercise more than 150 minutes a week. I’m definitely not sylph-like but I’m not sloppy fat, either. According to the tables I’m overweight. Some of that is undoubtedly because I’m built on a different scale than most people. My shoulders are broader, my chest is deeper, I’m more muscular, and my legs are shorter.
I believe that weight gain is multi-factorial including not just not getting enough exercise and eating too much but also age, genetics, and overuse of antibiotics resulting in an imbalance in the gut flora just to name three other factors. I wish more scientists relied on science on this subject.