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The Northerner

Surgery research redux

Keith Wilson

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Researchers are one step closer to being able to stop the “hunger hormone,” after having found a way to supress ghrelin in pigs. (Do researchers know how offensive this is? Couldn’t they have found overweight cats, or something?) It should be good news, but the problem of obesity in America isn’t a genetic problem, and we don’t need another surgical option for weight loss.

Some people will point out that two people, given the same diet, will have vastly different outcomes when it comes to weight. And the facts are everywhere that obesity often does have a genetic factor. The current Surgeon General Steven K. Galson admits surgeongeneral.gov that genetics are a factor of obesity.

But it’s just a factor, a factor that has only recently come into play in America and which our society contsantly enables.

If the problem were purely genetic, we should have close to the same obesity percentage as we have always had, or at the very least nearly same rate as Europe, where the majority of America’s ancestors originate. But in America, 30.5 percent of adults are obese, according to obesityinamerica.org. That’s nearly a 10-percent difference from our motherland; in the United Kingdom the obesity rate is 22.4 percent.

What’s more, the obesity rate in other countries are signifigantly lower. In Japan, the obesity rate is an impressively slim 3.6 percent.

The problem we have in America is precisely that surgery is such a so-calleded “easy” fix. The struggle afterwards is no easy walk, but the decision to get a gastric bypass or any other kind of surgery is too easy a decision to make for the potentiall deadly consequences it may pose.

But in America, and in Western culture in general, it is the domain of the goverment and science to fix the problems we make, not to prevent problems in the first place. If we can’t get across the country-side fast enough, we just blow up everything in a straight line and build some roads. Our poor Kentucky hills could testify to that. As we introduce more and more chemicals into our bodies, and more and more factors are discovered as to leading to cancer, we start buckling down-to perfect our cancer treatments. In America, and indeed, much of Western culture, we’ve learned to wait until a problem is unbearable, and then try to fix it.

Obesity is a problem in America and we should focus on long-term preventitive measures, not figuring out ways to genetically stop our urge to chow down. Follow in southern Los Angeles’ footsteps and ban fast food for a year to allow healthier restaraunts a chance to thrive. Teach your children that some of their favorite television shows are based on things that they can see and do right outside their door.

Like most the problems people seem to have anymore, note that yes, perhaps your problem is in some way genetic, and then move on.

Too often people content with the fact that destiny gave them the finger. They do absolutely nothing to save their own lives. They hurt themselves, and the people who honestly have to struggle, who may not be left with any choice but surgery.

It may be that 30.5 percent of Americans are obese, but there is still hope. Let’s do something to ensure their children don’t grow up thinking that because mom and dad were overweight that their only choice is one of the brand new surgeries being talked about.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Surgery research redux