The UN Takes on Obesity

and

The US Takes on the UN

 

       WHO has announced an initiative to combat obesity worldwide because of the health hazards.  WHO stands for World Health Organization, the public health agency of the United Nations.  Diabetes, a major health hazard of obesity, has been on the increase everywhere, especially in underdeveloped countries.   Europeans including all ethnic groups and even all people of European extraction are somewhat spared this extra incidence of diabetes because of thousands of years of settled agriculture resulting in stored food and therefore fewer famines.  The tendency to diabetes and obesity are inherited together along with an increased ability to survive famines.  Gaining weight promptly after a famine is an obvious enhancement to survival of the next famine.

 

       The United States government has demanded that WHO blunt its new initiative to combat the emerging epidemic of obesity stating that it goes too far and is detrimental to the US food industry.

 

       The sugar industry including corn processors (much of the sugar for soft drinks is now derived from corn) is frantically advertising that more exercise is the answer to obesity.  It is true that exercise is probably more important than diet in controlling obesity, but one almost has to be training to run a marathon for exercise to suffice without some dietary changes.  Sweets are the most habit-forming food.  On an empty stomach they give the best “rush”. The sweet taste and sudden increase in blood sugar stimulates insulin production as if the body were dealing with the beginning of a much larger feeding.  The result: a lower blood sugar in 30 minutes or so than if nothing had been swallowed.  Our bodies are so finely tuned that even artificial sweeteners stimulate some insulin production in the absence of any food at all.

 

       Surely our government has advisers who know all these obstacles to control of obesity.  Most physicians know that obesity and diabetes are more prevalent in blacks than in the rest of our population.  WHO knows that as prosperity comes to Africa, the pure blooded blacks there already have these tendencies to an even greater degree than North American blacks.

 

       Our country was founded on the principle of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  For the people does not mean for the benefit of US industry!  If we intend to promote democracy elsewhere, we must consider “for the People” to mean all the world population.

 

John A. Frantz, M.D.

January 28, 2004

 

                 The horns of a dilemma are usually on the same bull.

                                                                                                 Spanish Proverb