CH 105 - Chemistry and Disease

Obesity and Diabetes: What Should We Do?


Obesity is clearly linked to the development of Type II diabetes.  Both are becoming pandemics.  What should we do about this growing problem?  Eating is a basic human need.  The amount we eat is determined by many factors, including genetic and environmental ones.  Cultural influences on what, how, when, and how much we eat are pervasive.  Weight gain is determined by the balance between food intake and metabolic utilization.  Some of us are natural lean, others not.  We have uncovered many of the biomolecules that influence our weight and hence our predisposition to type II diabetes.  Effective pharmacological intervention in obese individuals will become more likely and effect in the near future.  But should we wait for the "pill" that will allow us to eat what we want and still maintain healthy weight?  Or should we change our lifestyles to minimize our chances of obesity and diabetes?  Type II diabetes is really a disease of modernity.  Can we change our interactions with our culture and modern world in ways that would make us healthier?  The following readings may help you decide what we should do.

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