Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

EB Ver Hoeve's picture

Valentine's Day and Obesity

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, Valentine’s Day always delivers excessive amounts of chocolate and sweets.  Now experiencing this commercial holiday in college-I live in a quad-each one of our parents sent “care-packages” stuffed full of cookies, popcorn, and chocolate hearts.  And while very much appreciated, this plethora of snacks couldn’t help but draw our minds to the one thing that makes women (myself included) self-conscious…our weight.   The claim, “Ah, I feel so fat right now” must be one of the most used expressions-muttered almost daily.  So, to complete this Valentine’s Day flavored blog, I thought I would examine the connection between obesity and evolution.  First of all, is there any connection?  To answer this question I opened up my Biology textbook and sure enough they explicitly addressed this matter on page 848.  “It may actually have been advantageous in our evolutionary past…natural selection may have favored those individuals with a physiology that induced them to gorge on rich fatty foods”(848).  And this makes sense considering the relatively barren, dry, savanna environment that our ancestors had to survive.  However, we aren’t hunting and gathering on the Savanna anymore, so what is going on?  Why has obesity become so prevalent that it is a global health issue? We know obesity causes serious health problems and that inheritance may play a large role, but is it continuing to be selected for?  And also, is putting the majority of the blame on inheritance a cop out (considering that Americans have significantly greater percentages of obese people than any other country)? 



To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.