Monday, September 03, 2007

What obesity is

At least according to endocrinologist Robert Lustig: “Obesity is not a disease or a behavior. It’s a phenotype (a trait or characteristic in a subset of the population), which is a manifestation of many things.”

Lustig was talking about why there will never be a "one-size-fits-all" weight-loss drug.

Now if only he'd gone a step further, and questioned the need for a pill to change a phenotype.


vesta44 said...

It's not that there's a need to change that phenotype, it's that Big Pharma needs the money that another diet pill will bring them (even though it may end up costing them more in the long run when it turns out to have horrendous side effects like fenfluramine did). Anything for the almighty dollar and who cares who is harmed or killed along the way as long as they get their bucks.

Carrie Arnold said...

Vesta pretty much sums it up:

Of course there's no *need* to change the phenotype. But people are willing to pay to do so, and the pharmaceutical industry (who convinced people initially that they could and should change their phenotype) is willing to sell them a pill.

It's like all those tooth whitening commercials. Granted, my teeth are slightly discolored from long-term tetracycline use I had as a young teen. But now I look at my teeth in the mirror and ask if they're white enough. Before those commercials, it was just one of those my-teeth-aren't-quite-white-who-cares kind of things.

That's my spin, anyway.

Harriet said...

Oh, I know, I know. Money is the root of all evil and all that. And in our culture, it's consumption that's the root of all evil. If someone can sell it, they will make it.


Unknown said...

You are right - it is progress. And maybe it does need to be broken into parts to make progress on this issue.

RioIriri said...

They should come out with a pill to help short people become tall. I could use the extra vertical inches, but could not care less about losing horizontal ones.