The obesity epidemic has a long history and sadly, it is story of failure! Aided with the misguided recommendations by Governmental agencies such as USDA (Food Pyramid), the epidemic of Obesity got progressively worse in the last century to point of a worldwide epidemic leading to reduced life expectancy for the first time in recorded history. Looking back in time, however, can give us many insights as to treatments in the future.
Stone Ages and Obesity
Obesity is changing, but its origins can be traced back
30 000 years, to our prehistoric ancestors. Although Obesity has been depicted in Stone age artifacts, it was far rarer sight and was considered a sign of "wealth" in many cultures. The health hazards associated with obesity were well known to the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who stated that ‘sudden death is more common in those who are naturally fat than in the lean’ (Littré, 1839). Greek physicians also noted that obesity was a cause of infrequent menses and infertility in women.
Our Culture is ahead of our Genome
There is growing awareness that the profound changes in the environment (eg, in diet and other lifestyle conditions) that began with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry approximately 10,000 years ago occurred too recently on an evolutionary time scale for the human genome to adjust. In conjunction with this discordance between our ancient, genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural, and activity patterns of contemporary Western populations, many of the so called diseases of civilization have emerged.
Agriculture and Culture
Agriculture allowed larger groups of humans in geographic areas and facilitated the development of extensive social hierarchy, resource guarding as can be evidenced by the Biblical story of Joseph and the storehouses of Egypt during the famine. In the olden days, obesity was primarily seen among the privileged classes and subsistence workers. In fact, in many societies, Obesity was a social credential.
Progress Is the Root of All Evil
By the time of the Pharaohs, Egyptian society was clearly transitioned from hunter-gatherer to agricultural. As access to privilege expanded, waistlines expanded as well. From the vaunted few to the development of the middle class, access to wealth represented access to food stores, which in the absence of refrigeration, meant primarily grains.
As a result of agriculture, smaller and smaller economic units were sustainable. Society transitioned through feudalism to the nuclear family of today-with 75% of America overweight or obese, and 1/10 Chinese with Type 2 diabetes.
Learn more on the history of obesity treatment
How can W8MD help?
Let physicians trained in the field of Obesity Medicine treat Obesity
W8MD physicians are well versed in the current scientific concepts in the emerging field of Obesity Medicine and can offer the latest evidence based medicine incorporating the nutritional science to design a program that is custom made for each patient.
Call W8MD at 1(800)W8MD-007 to find a center near you. We can also offer limited telemedicine consultation in certain areas.