Thursday, 13 May, 2004
Obesity Kills. We've long known that people who are very fat typically have many more health problems than the less corpulent. Doctors and others have been telling us for decades that being overweight can cause heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and any number of other illnesses. The long-accepted explanation was that all the extra weight put too much strain on the heart and other organs.
According to the Associated Press article linked above, that obvious and very plausible answer is dead wrong. Although the extra weight does contribute to some conditions like arthritis and sleep apnea, the real killers are the fat cells themselves. Apparently, fat cells are little chemical factories that churn out all manner of hormones and such to help regulate the body. But when there's an overabundance of fat cells, chemical levels become toxic. I suspect we'll be hearing a lot about the biology of fat over the next few years.