12.29.2010 0

Who’s to Blame for Weight Gain?

By Rebekah Rast –

It’s no secret that delicious holiday food can add a few extra pounds to the waistline.

But recent studies are attempting to show that weight gain, especially as a young child, is not all the fault of too much food and not enough exercise.

A Newsweek article titled Born to be Big, states, “The evidence now emerging says that being overweight is not just the result of personal choices about what you eat, combined with inactivity,” says Retha Newbold of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in North Carolina, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Exposure to environmental chemicals during development may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.” ’

What does this mean? That chemicals in the environment, newly termed obesogens, may lend a helping hand in the obesity epidemic, especially in babies and children. Studies show that these chemicals are found in the water and food supply as well as in other man-made chemicals.

As far-fetched as these new studies sound, one particular agency of the federal government is taking it very seriously — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

An article in the New York Times stated, “U.S. EPA regulators convened with scientists last month to discuss how to design regulations for chemicals based on emerging science that connects exposures during pregnancy with disease much later in life.” Diseases including obesity.

The article went onto say that as this new information is coming out linking certain chemicals to diseases like obesity and cancer, it is even more critical that they quickly get through “200,000 chemicals in a European library of commercial compounds called REACH, to determine their toxicity.”

An article by Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) explains, “REACH stands for ‘registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals’ — the name of a massively bureaucratic program in the European Union. The EPA wants Congress to use it as a model for revisions to the Toxics Substances Control Act — and they even have started working on their version of the program while pushing for congressional authorization.”

Regulation of chemicals, whether man-made or natural, won’t solve America’s obesity problem — especially when handled by a government bureaucracy.

“This is just another excuse for the federal government to get further involved in our daily lives,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “We should not be putting blame on the environment or man-made chemicals for making America fat. Weight management is ultimately under the control of the individual, not a bunch of bureaucrats.”

The NIH isn’t the only one concerned with obesogens.

Adam Carey, a gynecologist, obstetrician and Professor of Nutrition at Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K. implied in an article that even water can make you fat. He wrote, “Thanks to the possible pollutants that are so difficult to remove from our water supply, it has been linked to a number of health complaints — and yes, it may even trigger weight gain. Even calorie-free water can affect our body fat levels if chemicals that disturb hormonal activity leach into our supply and drive up our chances of putting on weight.”

Now drinking water can make you fat? Even if there is a chance chemicals, whether we drink them, eat them, or are exposed to them in the womb, can possible make people more susceptible to weight gain, these types of studies and printed materials do nothing but discourage people from exercising and watching what they eat.

The U.K. article even states that plainly: “There’s no point in any of us trying to eat healthily and exercise if we don’t do something about our water.”

This is a troubling misconception that places the blame of being obese on anything and everything except personal habits.

“This research is a slippery slope,” says ALG’s Wilson. “Personal healthy practices like exercising and eating right should not be neglected just because of new research. Experts themselves have said it is too early to say if chemicals are really to blame for America’s obesity epidemic.”

Wilson is right. In the New York Times article, Ila Cote, a senior science adviser at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, speaking for herself, said, “The epigenetic data should be considered seriously but is not yet ready for risk assessment. It could be used in very preliminary stages to identify problematic chemicals but cannot be used in a quantitative manner.”

In other words, if you put on a few pounds during this holiday season, don’t blame it on the water or your development process in your mother’s womb.

Perhaps the weight gain can be attributed to that 10th sugar cookie you ate or the extra serving of potatoes with dinner.

Americans need to take responsibility for their health, otherwise the government will — even more than it already has.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to the Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.

Copyright © 2008-2021 Americans for Limited Government