Sunday, October 08, 2006

"Body and Spirit" -> The America Gets Fat

Here is a frightening link to do some research on. I showed by wife, and she kept saying "You're kidding me, right? What are we doing to ourselves?" In the map below, all the areas that are not blue have an obesity rate of 20% of higher. 20 years ago, all of America was under 20% and the "worst" color on the map would be the best color on the map of 2005.

(Click On Picture To Get Clear Image)

There is no way around it, America has put on the pounds over the last 20 years. If you look at the map, it shows the number of people that considered obese. Again, they also show data from 20 years ago, and basically every registered state only had an obesity rate of 10-14%. Any many had less. Today, the lowest state has an obesity rate of 10-14%, which is the dark blue.

In Europe, they are on the same trend:

The International Obesity Task Force estimated that Finland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta have exceeded the United States figure of 67% for overweight or obese males.

(Click On Picture To Get Clear Image)

Now, I wouldn't go into a total panic, because we are dealing with a grayer population, as the bar chart shows. However, the gentle change in population clearly doesn't account for the total change in fatness. So while fatness does increase with age, and we are getting older as a nation, we still can't account for all of the changes.

For me, I think that the USA challenges is tied to:

1. Wrong eating habits

2. More stress, which makes you fatter

3. Lack of sleep, which makes you fatter

4. A systemic move challenge with our dopamine system, which may be related to the way that we've cross circuited our Christianity.

I hope that you have started to understand through this blog, that fatness comes from the brain, it does not come from the body.

I now tease you with ideas that I have been mulling about for 6 months, after I read Phantoms In The Brain by VS Ramachandran.

Dopamine, which I'll discuss in more depth in a later post, is a key neural transmitter. To make a long story short, it is associated with pleasure.

Did you ever see a fat Methamphetamine user? No, it is often called "Jenny Crank" because you don't need food to stimulate your dopamine if you have crank. (Meth does blow your brain a part directly though, albeit, you'll have a skinny death.)

We are in a culture that is addicted to dopamine. Those that in take all this culture has to offer will find that their brains burned out on a tingle of dopamine overload. If your dopamine receptors are strong and vibrant, it is linked to not needing as much food.

Our brain is not simple, but the answer is out there. Some how, but without understanding the common thread, there is something askew in the way that we are working the dopamine centers of our brain.

What things impact dopamine?

a. Religious experience
b. Food
c. Music
d. Sexual stimulation
e. Violence

If you go through the Bible, you will see that we are commanded to tie three of these together:

Praising YHWH through music and in feasts.

The last two have their place, but they are never, ever tied to religion. Somehow, I think that our lust for sex and violence (see television) has cross circuited us.

Time for research later, but it is an intuitive hunch that will be proven correct in this life or the next.

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