AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Can we fix the expensive problem of obesity??

Today, America faces what can be considered an “obesity epidemic”. An estimated 69 million americans are considered obese, and obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in America. Obesity can lead to a number of dangerous conditions and even life threatening conditions. Consequences of obesity include coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, different types of cancers, stroke, live disease, sleep apnea, arthritis and more! In addition to health consequences, the epidemic of obesity in america also includes severe economic consequences.  In 2002, the estimated health care expenditure for obesity-related issues was $147 billion

taken from WikiMedia



The statistics concerning obesity, childhood obesity, money lost due to obesity etc. are shocking. America is deeply affected by a preventable issue affecting roughly 35% of adult americans and 20% of youth americans. Scientists and doctors have long explored ways to address this issue medically. Until recently, it was believed that the part of the brain controlling appetite is fully developed before birth, and therefore, cannot be altered. As genetics play a big role in weight and appetite control, the ability to alter the appetite control center (the hypothalamus) would be a huge step in “curing” obesity.

However, “research published in theJournal of Neuroscience has identified a population of stem cells capable of generating new appetite-regulating neurons in the brains of young and adult rodents”. This information suggests that altering the appetite regulation system in humans is a possibility.

There is now hope that “the neural circuitry that controls appetite is not fixed in number and could possibly be manipulated numerically to tackle eating disorders.

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  1. palindromeprincess

    The image that you have attached with this article is very powerful and drew my attention. This experiment with the rodents seems very relevant to the world today, as your statistics indicate. I found an article about a two-step process that some health care professionals are using to help “improve the long-term management of obesity”. This process, which includes developing a model that will help physicians understand the causes of obesity and then implementing a long-term, mostly psychological treatment, is helpful in managing obesity. However, having the ability to alter appetites would most likely, if it were to work, be a more effective treatment with more definite long-term results, according to your post and the original article.

  2. celine2

    Obesity is definitely a major problem in America. Another article has shown that it is not the food that is making us fat, but the way food interacts with our genes! There are certain genes that makes us put on the pounds, SCD that codes an enzyme that changes certain saturated fatty acid to unsaturated forms. Here’s the link to the article:

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