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Beating Obesity

(The Atlantic) -- "If we are to solve the many problems that obesity is creating for American society, we must first move beyond the stale 'willpower versus the food-industrial complex' debate. We need to understand what causes obesity, and what can really address it. And we need to try everything from rezoning fast-food restaurants and restricting food advertising to supporting new treatments and rewriting insurance policies. We won't summon the collective will to take these steps until we recognize that our attitudes toward obesity are as unhealthy as the condition itself. We don't want to look at fat people, much less pay for their medical care; we don't want to be contaminated by them. But if we want fewer fat people in our midst, then we, as a nation, must start by treating them without condescension or contempt, and recognize the real obstacles that stand between them and better health...The rise in obesity is associated with a rogue's gallery of individual, social, and technological factors. The 'Big Two,' as scientists call the leading factors, are reduced exercise and increased food consumption: Americans are ingesting more and more calories than they're burning. But underlying that simple energy-in, energy-out equation is a complex, and so far inexorable, interplay between powerful physiological and societal forces."