What are the root causes of the obesity epidemic?


Mark Banter, owner of Rhino Gym in Cedar Lake, focuses on healthy living, weight loss, and exercise.

Hello, I am Mark Banter, and I have spent the past 30 years reading, working out, studying nutrition, anatomy, physiology, and human psychology in reference to altering body composition.  in other words, changing the habits in reference to moving, food intake, energy expenditure, and nutrient insufficiencies that human beings have adopted to an innate approach to looking and feeling a different way.  

As I have matured, I look back at a pivotal point in my life when 3 competitive bodybuilders hired me to help them move up in the ranks of bodybuilding in Europe.  As these 3 competitors arrived at O'Hare Airport back in 1989, I remember their first remarks in the baggage area.  They greeted me by saying, "My God America is great, just look at all the fat people."  I just felt a sense of embarrassment by their remarks.  It was then that I started to examine what had changed in a short 100 year period that made Americans go from a fit, lean land mammal to the fattest land mammal.

From the early 1900's to the 20th century in the United States, there are 3 things that have changed to move us from a fit species to an over-fed, over-weight, faster aging species never seen before on the planet earth.  

In the 18th century and early 19th century in America people worked for a living, meaning they walked, moved things, and used their hands.   Today, people earn a living, meaning they drive to work, sit, answer the phone, and work on a computer.  Americans just don't move as much as they used to.  This is the first change called a change in energy expenditure.   

The second leading factor to obesity is the consumption of liquid calories.  In the past, we did not drink juice, we ate fruit.  We did not drink that much milk, we ate butter and cheese.  (The dairy industry had not yet sold America on the concept of milk in a glass.)  There was no soda pop for the population.  In fact if it was in a glass, it was water.      

Finally, the third change is nutrient insufficiency.  Over 100 years ago, all vegetation grown for animal and plant consumption was grown in mineral dense soil with fertilizer.  These fertilizers were rich in nitrogen and minerals that the plants would grow into their cells, so all vegetation was nutrient sufficient.  Back in the early 1900's the RDA determined that a human would need to eat about 3500 calories from the food pyramid to get 100% of the needed nutrients. Today, in the nutrient insufficient age, obesity haas become an epidemic and very few people know how to control it.