Letter to the Editor: Obesity is a side effect of society

I believe the author of the piece on obesity benefits is missing the forest for the trees. Most people don’t actually choose to be overweight or obese.

Growing waistlines have less to do with lifestyle choices than with the unintended consequences of living in a capitalist society. While fruit and vegetables are becoming blander through the pressures of mass production, which leads to the watering down of flavor as well as nutritional content, processed foods are becoming more and more flavorful by comparison.

Since the human body did not evolve to consume processed foods, but rather evolved to seek out nutritional content from food, it is only natural that we overeat nutritionally sparse foods that taste really good, and trick our bodies into believing we need higher doses to get the nutrients we would be able to acquire from smaller quantities of nutrient-dense foods.

Couple that with the increasing availability of technologies that promote sedentary lifestyles and it’s becoming more and more difficult to not be obese.

Right now it seems like obesity is the default path, particularly for lower socioeconomic status individuals. Many cities don’t have the infrastructure for people to be able to walk, so residents learn to drive everywhere and can spend an entire day sitting.

Obesity, therefore, is not so much a lifestyle choice as an unintended consequence of population growth and the development of certain technologies.

So before we start pointing fingers at individuals for being overweight and potentially costing the health care system a lot of money, we should think about what steps we can take as a society to make the path to obesity more difficult than the path to healthy living.