Obesity – Evolutionary Advantage but Cultural Casualty
Posted on September 18, 2008 by Tia Lalani
The problem of obesity is reaching ever-increasing proportions, so to speak.
C014, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Tim Parker – Psychology
The problem of obesity is reaching ever-increasing proportions, so to speak. It is particularly serious for our children, who face strong inducements for sedentary lifestyles and a steady erosion of the importance attached to physical fitness in our school systems. It is clear that obesity would be a useful survival advantage in times when food was scarce or available only intermittently. Thus we can characterize obesity as one of those diseases that is due to the incompatibility between our evolved body systems and our radically changed lifestyle. We need to discover what problems occur in our weight control system that ultimately lead to obesity. We will see that “cafeteria” diets can induce obesity in rats and humans, yet the mechanisms underlying this obesity are not the same in both cases.
This talk will investigate the biological basis of obesity. This will involve discussing the addiction aspects of obesity. We will look at how eating activates the same pleasure response that accompanies other forms of substance abuse. We will also look at the complex interaction of neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate our normal eating behaviours, to see how they might be subverted in people who suffer from obesity.
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