"Dad, am I going to get fat?" My 12-year-old daughter asked me that question a few years ago, as we were perusing the supermarket aisles, picking up fruits and vegetable for that night's dinner. I wanted to reassure her that she’d be okay – she ran track, played field hockey, ate a balanced diet, and as long as she followed that kind of healthy lifestyle, she’d be okay.
But today, I'm not so sure. The preponderance of evidence suggests that, in fact, no matter how well she eats and how much she works out, she will live much of her life as a fat person. And so will I.
And so will you.
In 2009, a study in the journal Obesity posited a terrifying statistic: If obesity trends continue just as they have over the last few decades, then by the time my daughter is exactly my age – by the year 2048 –100% of Americans will be overweight or obese.
One hundred percent.
How can this be possible? With a smart diet, attention to exercise, a commitment to healthy living, surely many of us will avoid unwanted weight gain, no? Maybe not. After researching our book, The New American Diet, I’ve discovered that there’s more to weight gain than just calories in and calories out. There’s something else that’s making America fat. It’s called “the obesogen effect.”
I know what you’re thinking. We’re getting fat because of too little exercise, too many fatty foods, too much time surfing the web and watching the tube. All of these are factors, sure. But something else is at play. Consider this: In 2006, Harvard researchers reported that the obesity rate in one sector of the American population has risen by 73% in the last 25 years. Who were these slackers?