Shouldn’t be too difficult

Risk of obesity can be accurately predicted in babies, study finds

Look at the parents, if they’re land whales likelihood is so will the kiddie be.

Doesn’t matter whether we think that land whaleism is genetic or environmental as learned experience within the family. Looking at the parents will still tell.

Which does lead to an interesting question. We’ve all sorts of studies of twins raised separately and together to look at things like shirtlifting, intelligence and so on. Has anyone ever had a look through the same studies to look at obesity? That assumes that weight was measured in them but would have thought that would be a normal sort of thing for people to have done.

So, BiG, others. Anyone know?

33 thoughts on “Shouldn’t be too difficult”

  1. Ducky McDuckface

    40-70?

    Helluva range, starting from “slightly worse than flipping a coin”.

  2. “Helluva range,”

    It’s often done from twin studies and adoption cases, and so sample sizes are small. It’s also dependent on the population and environment. If the environment varies more within a population, then it will cause more environmental variation, and hence a greater proportion of the variation will be environmental and a lesser proportion heritable.

    Another interesting statistic is that about 30% of obese Americans have antibodies to Ad36, but only 5% of non-obese Americans.

  3. How many fat inmates were there in Belsen or Dachau?

    I’ve seen the footage and I don’t remember seeing many people genetically disposed to remaining fat.*

    If you consume fewer calories than you expend, you lose weight. Maybe at different rates but you will lose weight.

    *And here, I think Spielberg missed a great running joke in “Schindler’s List”. He could have cast someone like John Candy just to be in the background, with the guards turning to each other looking confused and puzzled, every time he walked past. No dialogue, no comment needed. It would have been hilarious.

  4. My family has a genetic predisposition to obesity. We only have to look at a bag of chips to expand our waistlines. This wasn’t a problem as kids because we ran wild and never sat down. As ageing adults, however, it requires managing. Little sister goes to the gym four days a week and still struggles. Exercise is important but food intake’s the killer. We live in centrally heated homes and offices and drive everywhere – need a fraction of the calories dictated fifty years ago. Early intervention appears to work, as the city of Leeds suggests. Given what waddles up and down the typical high street, however, it isn’t only ‘problem’ babies we have to worry about.

  5. The Meissen Bison

    Andy C: How many fat inmates were there in Belsen or Dachau?

    Good point. Even those who self-identify as Dachau inmates lack the self-awareness to recognise that they are obese.

  6. ‘Risk of obesity can be accurately predicted in babies, study finds’

    “Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.”

    People like food. Eat too much, you gain weight. One must manage one’s weight. Make choices.

    If you grow up in a family of overweight people, you will likely manage your weight on the high side. Natch.

    ‘Treating obesity is so difficult, said Tanja Vrijkotte, an associate professor at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, that midwives, nurses or doctors should intervene as early as possible, using the predictor tool to warn parents their baby could be at risk and supporting them to provide healthy food and activity.’

    No, actually, you should mind your own fvcking business. And ‘treating obesity’ is stupid simple, not difficult at all. Interfering with other people’s lives is difficult, which is really what you are talking about. You believe you have the right to interfere with their lives for their own good.

    “The welfare of the people…has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience….”–Albert Camus

  7. Bloke in Germany

    “slightly worse than flipping a coin”

    Heritability is the proportion of variability that can be attributed to solely genetic factors, not environmental. Obesity is hard because not only is the inheritance quantitative, but the phenotype is too (and the phenotype in individuals varies over a lifespan), meaning there is basically no limit to the number of ways you can define it for research purposes.

    Hence the wide range in estimates of heritability.

    Both the (systemic) environmental and genetic contributions are trivially obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes and a few brain cells.

    Obviously, you could not investigate heritability in Dachau, were the inmates allowed to reproduce, due to the absence of the phenotype.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    My family has a genetic predisposition to obesity.

    As a doctor said to someone I know with a similar problem: at least you’d have a higher probability of surviving the famines.

    Not sure if its true and if it isn’t I’m sure someone here will correct it.

  9. Willpower. It’s all about willpower. Fat bastards are fat because they hate themselves just that little bit less then they hate not eating the next pie. Anyone who really wants to not be enormous can be so. The giant ones are the ones who, whatever they say, are basically not able to deny themselves the eating buzz.

  10. I assume everyone has a genetic predisposition towards retaining fat – it makes sense for a mammalian species that has been at the mercy of food scarcity for about 99% of its evolutionary history.

    Re: the “just stop cramming pies into your food-hole!” advice, sure. But not all calories are equal.

    A low-carb, low-sugar, high-fat diet is less likely to turn you into a land-cow than the opposite. Unfortunately Western diets have shifted towards lots of carbs, sugars and processed shite containing carbs and sugars, at the same time as people have become less physically active.

    You can eat like a pig on Atkins and still lose weight, though you’re probably better off with a sensible, healthy low-carb intake and plenty of exercise. Atkins is more of a jump start than a sustainable long-term plan.

  11. The Grauniad article talks about “overweight” without bothering to mention that the natural healthy weight differs and that someone with a 48″ chest *should* weigh more than someone with a 38″ chest.
    I am not arguing with Tim’s valid point, just with how the “scientists” measured “obesity” and “overweight” – any second-row forward is very likely to be rated “overweight” and quite possibly “obese”.

  12. Ducky McDuckface

    One odd thing from the article;

    “Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, said…
    … the best way to maintain a healthy weight will always be … not to smoke, …”

    Hang on, thought smoking was an appetite suppressant?

  13. … it makes sense for a mammalian species that has been at the mercy of food scarcity for about 99% of its evolutionary history.

    This is why grain farming was such a win win for humanity. We can store the carb calories in a structure long term for later consumption and then store them on ourselves for the medium term after consumption. Not so easy with half an antelope.

    The low carb diet and moderate exercise works well for me in keeping the bloat off.

  14. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Yes, much depends on how you define obesity.

    I distinctly remember that the last time the BMA revised the standards, the entire Scottish rugby team were classified as fat.

  15. Andy C said:
    *And here, I think Spielberg missed a great running joke in “Schindler’s List””

    I know I shouldn’t be laughing, but I am.

  16. Gamecock said:
    “‘Treating obesity is so difficult, said Tanja Vrijkotte, an associate professor at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, ‘midwives, nurses or doctors should intervene as early as possible;”

    I’m surprised she doesn’t want to abort them.

  17. @jgh May 2, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    “Most cannabis smokers I’ve known, smoking was an appetite enhancer.”

    FTFY

  18. The BMI scale is ludicrously skewed towards claiming that normal people are obese. At the age of sixty I am pretty close to my ideal weight. When I was in my mid fifties I was about 15 kilos heavier and, according to the BMI, I was borderline obese. Everyone knows what obese means, it means excessively fat. Claiming that people who are very slightly overweight are obese is how the zealots create a problem that isn’t there.

  19. @ Stonyground
    No – the BMI scale is ludicrously skewed towards claiming that human beings are two-dimensional. It compares weight with the square of the height instead of the cube of the height.
    One side-effect is to categorise those who are shorter as being underweight and those who are taller as being overweight.
    This is not the fault of the guy who invented the original concept because he compare weight with height^2.5 arguing that average width and thickness did not increase fully pro rata with height but some lazy twit decided that calculating 5′ 6″ to the power of 2.5 was too much like hard work and used height^2 ‘cos it was easier and innumerable bureaucrats have copied said twit because *thinking for yourself* is verboten for bureaucrats.

  20. “No, actually, you should mind your own fvcking business. And ‘treating obesity’ is stupid simple, not difficult at all. Interfering with other people’s lives is difficult, which is really what you are talking about. You believe you have the right to interfere with their lives for their own good.”

    Hooray! Thank you for making that point.

    “Willpower. It’s all about willpower. Fat bastards are fat because they hate themselves just that little bit less then they hate not eating the next pie.”

    Hold your breath for five minutes. Is the only reason you give it up and breath that you lack sufficient willpower?

    Energy balance, like breathing, is normally controlled automatically. You can consciously override both of them temporarily, and obviously if someone removes all the air from the room you’re in you have no choice about going on an oxygen diet. But the further away you are from the level your body thinks it needs, the greater the mental pressure. If your set level is low, it takes no effort to keep it there, and you can feel smug about having ‘willpower’.

    It’s like watching an athlete gasping for breath after a race and scoffing at their ‘lack of willpower’. You can hold your breath for a whole minute! Thay can barely manage a few seconds. They clearly hate themselves more than they hate not taking that next breath of air.

    “I assume everyone has a genetic predisposition towards retaining fat – it makes sense for a mammalian species that has been at the mercy of food scarcity for about 99% of its evolutionary history.”

    Any animal population goes through periods of plenty and periods of scarcity. You need to store enough during times of plenty to last you through the famine, but not so much it slows you down. The appropriate amount to store depends on the statistics of the famine durations and depths.

    Animals also make other trade-offs. A big and strong body is better for defending rich territory, but demands more food to survive. If food supply is poor, big bodies die during the famines. If food supply is plentiful, small bodies get driven out of the territory by bigger heavier rivals. But you don’t have to just choose one or the other. You can have a body that identifies which sort of environment it’s in, and either grows a tall and heavy body if food is plentiful, or a small and energy-efficient body if food is often scarce.

    We know people’s heights have changed over the past century. No reason not to think other aspects of body shape have not changed too. If eating more food results in a height increase, then we could just as easily speak of an epidemic of people being ‘too tall’.

    “No – the BMI scale is ludicrously skewed towards claiming that human beings are two-dimensional. It compares weight with the square of the height instead of the cube of the height.”

    Deliberately so. If you put on weight by getting fat, you don’t increase in height. Only width.

  21. NiV – your breathing vs overeating analogy is a strong contender for the most fatuously crazy one ever made here at Tim’s gaff.

  22. I recall a programme on the telly a few years ago that had a great natural experiment – half a town moved from somewhere in South America to the USA, the other half stayed put.

    Comparing the two groups of people years later, the ones in the USA were typical lardarses whilst those who stayed weren’t lardarses. The conclusion was that environment was the issue – abundance of food, driving everywhere etc.

    Being a fatso have become normalised, and that’s a big problem. Look at footage from the 60s and 70s – being fat was very rare.

  23. “NiV – your breathing vs overeating analogy is a strong contender for the most fatuously crazy one ever made here at Tim’s gaff.”

    And as usual, people make such assertions but don’t explain why, or offer any argument or reasoning. There’s no way to tell if you have a point, or if you’ve misunderstood something, or whether you are disagreeing for crazy religious reasons, or because you’re stupid and can’t understand it, or for no reason at all. It’s an empty nothing of a statement.

    You do have to wonder at the intellectual development of people who don’t see the need to provide arguments or evidence for their opinions. Is it the failure of the schools?

    “Comparing the two groups of people years later, the ones in the USA were typical lardarses whilst those who stayed weren’t lardarses. The conclusion was that environment was the issue – abundance of food, driving everywhere etc.”

    You can conclude the difference was something in the environment, you can’t conclude it was abundance of food, or driving everywhere.

  24. “A low-carb, low-sugar, high-fat diet is less likely to turn you into a land-cow than the opposite. Unfortunately Western diets have shifted towards lots of carbs, sugars and processed shite containing carbs and sugars, at the same time as people have become less physically active.”

    Careful, Steve. You are at risk of drifting into the world of Magic Food.

    Obesity is quantitative, not qualitative. The food isn’t to blame, it’s the operator of the spoon.

  25. @ NiV
    As I lapped one of the female competitors (a bit over half my age) on Wednesday she commented that “everyone seems to be panting”. If I am not gasping for breath at the end of a race then I was not trying hard enough (albeit you should only be oxygen-deficient for the last couple of hundred yards). So that part of your comment is valid.
    However your comment about BMI ignores the normal state of affairs before the person puts on fat. Two people with identical shapes but 5′ and 6′ tall will have BMI’s differing by 20%. Is the taller guy obese? You just do not know what you are talking about.

  26. “Two people with identical shapes but 5′ and 6′ tall will have BMI’s differing by 20%.”

    Good point. You’re right.

  27. @john 77 May 3, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    I wonder where 7 foot tall Wookiees like Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew are on the BMI scale

    Amazing he lived to such an old age (74), giants used to die much younger.

  28. The person upthread who scoffed at 40 to 70 percent heritability as “scarcely better than chance” must be thinking that heritability means something like “the percent of your guesses that are right.” The margin of this box is too small to explain what it really means, but people who nodded sagely need to go look it up.

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