Monday, January 30, 2006

Achoo--Look Out, You Might Get Obese!

Just when you think you've heard it all in regards to the reasons why we have an obesity epidemic that is getting worse around the world, along comes a story like this one from Reuters which blurs the line between sensible and absurd.

Researchers at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by American Obesity Association President Dr. Richard L. Atkinson, claim that the sharp rise in obesity rates is attributed to a virus, according to a new study they conducted on chickens.

The human adenovirus Ad-37 is apparently the culprit in making obesity contagious in chickens, Atkinson says, and he believes additional research will find this to be true in humans as well. Adenoviruses can be transmitted through direct contact and in coughing or sneezing.

Talk is already underway to begin developing an antivirus to combat this up-and-coming threat to our waistlines. Two other related viruses, Ad-36 and Ad-5, have already been found to cause obesity in animals according to the researchers.

They conclude that the rise in obesity rates over the last three decades is faster than any other chronic disease in the United States and worldwide. The researchers say the sudden simultaneous increase in obesity cannot be explained by changes in food intake and lack of exercise. That's why they believe these viruses are the root cause of obesity.

"The nearly simultaneous increase in the prevalence of obesity in most countries of the world is difficult to explain by changes in food intake and exercise alone, and suggests that adenoviruses could have contributed," the authors state.

The study found that the chickens injected with the Ad-37 virus had higher concentrations of visceral fat and body fat compared with the control groups despite eating the same amount of food over a three-week period. Additionally, the Ad-37 group weighed more than the other groups, but not significantly more. The researchers concluded that the virus was what made the chickens fatter which is why they want to conduct more research on this theory.

"The role of adenoviruses in the worldwide epidemic of obesity is a critical question that demands additional research," the authors concluded.

The study was published in the January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

Okay, reality check for just a minute. Is anybody buying this bill of goods about obesity being contagious like a cold? Can anything be more outlandishly absurd than this?

When I wrote a CommonVoice column that said obesity is not an illness, but a choice in the midst of my weight loss in July 2004, this kind of study is EXACTLY what I was afraid was going to happen to the subject of obesity. When it is looked at as a disease that needs to be treated medically with drugs, then we have gone too far.

Obesity is, has always been, and will always be about people eating too much of the wrong foods while slacking off on their physical activity. The increased prevalence of sugar and it's evil twin high fructose corn syrup in most foods today as well as the heavy promotion of the low-fat diet over the past 30 years certainly can't be overlooked as factors in the rise of obesity.

I don't like making the cause of obesity something that needs to be treated with a vaccine. While I am sure the scientists involved in this study are merely trying to find the root cause of a growing problem, I don't need to do the research to realize that too many people are overconsuming carbohydrates and calories. That's why we have an obesity problem, not some virus found in a limited study on chickens.

Studies like this give people an excuse for not regaining control over the weight problem because they think to themselves, "Oh, I must have that virus inside of me making me fat!" I've got three words for you: NO NO NO! If you really believe a virus is what is making you obese, then I've got a bridge to sell you in San Francisco.

The bottom line is we all know HOW we became overweight and obese. And it wasn't from a virus. But there is still hope for you to triumph over your weight as I did thanks to livin' la vida low-carb. Regardless of the method you choose for losing weight, the important thing is for you to DO SOMETHING about it as soon as possible for the sake of your health.

Don't wait around expecting researchers like Dr. Atkinson to help you lose weight. You need to grab that bull by the horns and get to work on it yourself. With hard work and determination, you WILL succeed at losing that belly.

But, just in case, I'll be running in the other direction if I see an obese person with a cold! :-O

Dr. Richard Atkinson even has a web site about his theory that obesity is caused by a virus and can be e-mailed at Feel free to look into this obesity-virus phenomena closer and ask Dr. Atkinson any questions you may have about his research.

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Blogger Newbirth said...

I've never heard anything crazier in my life. My weight prblems was a result of carb cravings from my medication. Well, the last 40 pounds of it. The first 30 pounds I think I just ate unhealthy. I was always brought up to believe that carbs were good and fat was bad - typical American thinking for the last 30 years.

1/30/2006 11:33 PM  
Blogger jude said...

Well, as I said when I read this article...time to invest in Purell!!

1/31/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Purel stock has shot up by 10% this week alone! LOL!

2/04/2006 11:08 AM  

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