Monday, February 7, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance and Obesity Research

After reading about obesity in children, since it's Heart Month there's a ton of obesity articles in general going around, I got to looking for scientific journals on the subject. One of the better articles is "Obese babies and young children: an approach to paedratric management" from the British journal Paediatrics and Child Health, Volume 19, Issue 9, Sept 2009, pages 425-429.

They actually say that the "energy in/energy out" that is used to justify why people should be blamed for being overweight is "too simplistic an explanation..." They even mention insulin insensitivity (resistance) as predisposing a child to gain weight. Amazing!

And then what do they do? They go on to say that "Hormonal causes of obesity are also extraordinarily rare." and "...however, at present identifiable metabolic and hormonal causes are exceptionally rare." I'm hoping that they're excluding insulin from this, as last I checked, insulin is a hormone and is very much responsible for most people's weight problems.

Later in the article they elucidate one reason why people may not be motivated to change their lifestyle.
"Unfortunately research shows that parents too often find that health professionals (and particularly doctors and dieticians) are critical, judgemental, blame them for their child's obesity, make them feel guilty, or are dismissive."

Well no duh! Especially when most nutritionists and people in general act like it's your fault that you're fat or your kid is fat. When you're eating corn syrup and sugar from the first day of life, what do you expect to happen? This isn't their fault, it's what they're being told to eat. It's what they're being told to feed their children.
"Babies are born with a natural ‘fuel gauge’ which signals when enough has been eaten. Unfortunately this gauge is often overridden by the way children are fed, which contributes to the development of obesity."

I don't think it's the way they're being fed, I think it's what they're being fed. They still talk of limiting food intake, contradicting what they said at the beginning of the article about how "calories in/calories out" was too simplistic of an explanation. They do say to avoid juice and stick with food that are of a low glycemic index, which is good, but I think doesn't go far enough. This is cognitive dissonance, which runs rampant through the field of dietary and obesity research. I guess old habits die hard.

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