Scientists find big cause of global obesity epidemic

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The rise in obesity rates in Denmark and around the world has been alarming, with the number of obese individuals in Denmark alone doubling since 2010.

This escalating health issue, according to Professor Emeritus Thorkild I. A. Sørensen, is far more complex than previously thought.

Through his extensive research, published in prestigious journals like Science Advances and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Sørensen sheds light on the multifaceted nature of the obesity crisis, paralleling its gradual increase to that of the climate crisis.

Surprisingly, the roots of obesity can be traced back much further than the advent of fast food and inactive lifestyles, with evidence of its rise among children born as early as the 1930s.

This longevity suggests that the obesity epidemic is driven by factors beyond simple genetics or lifestyle choices. Sørensen posits that an unidentified environmental trigger is at play, causing our bodies to store excess calories as fat more readily than in the past.

Contrary to the widespread belief that obesity is the result of overeating and insufficient exercise, Sørensen argues that these factors are symptoms rather than causes of obesity.

He proposes that the epidemic is closely linked to our social environments, potentially as a biological response to social stressors or perceived threats of food scarcity.

This theory is supported by observations that individuals may store fat in anticipation of food shortages, even in the absence of actual scarcity.

Moreover, Sørensen points out the detrimental impact of societal attitudes towards obesity, including prejudice, stigma, and discrimination.

These negative perceptions not only worsen the psychological burden on individuals but may also play a significant role in perpetuating the cycle of obesity.

To effectively address the obesity epidemic, Sørensen advocates for a paradigm shift in our approach. Instead of focusing solely on diet and exercise, it’s crucial to consider the underlying psychosocial factors and societal attitudes contributing to the problem.

By combating stigma and understanding the broader environmental and social triggers of obesity, we can begin to unravel the complex web of factors fueling this crisis and move towards more effective solutions.

This comprehensive perspective on obesity emphasizes the need for a holistic approach to health, recognizing the intricate interplay between our physical bodies, our environments, and societal norms.

As we continue to explore these connections, we can hope to find more sustainable and compassionate ways to address the growing challenge of obesity, improving health outcomes for individuals and communities worldwide.

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