Is obesity purely a willpower problem?


A fascinating article by David Berreby about obesity as a clinical issue. Are public policies that focus on personal responsibility helpful? Does that even matter?

The issue, rather, is whether the government policies and corporate business plans are in fact doing their best with the evidence they already have. Does the science justify assuming that obesity is a simple matter of individuals letting themselves eat too much? To the extent that it is, policies such as Japan’s mandatory waist-measuring […] will be effective. If, on the other hand, there is more to obesity than simple thermodynamics, some of the billions spent on individual-centred policies and products may be being wasted. Time, in that case, to try some alternative policies based on alternative theories, and see how they fare.


Obesity epidemic: as a lifelong comfort eater, I understand the emotional pull of food

An opinion piece by Rae Earl on Guardian Unlimited has, to my mind, really hit the nail on the head about emotional eating and how people’s weight issues can be about more than just fancying another slice of cake.

Many of us are defined by our size and what we consume, far more than we ever should be. Entire family rituals can be based around “bad” food – and lots of it. The Friday Chinese. The Saturday kebab after six pints. […] It gave us a sense of being “together” doing something.

It’s only by breaking and replacing our bad habits, our bad traditions, that we can overcome this and work towards where we want to be. I strongly encourage you to read the article – if there’s anything you recognise, look to improve these issues with Motivators.