Catching Fat

It’s Not Just For Americans Anymore

There’s an interesting theory going around the tabloid press that contends the British obesity epidemic is really, well, an epidemic.

From The Daily Express:

OBESITY can be “caught” as easily as a common cold from other people’s coughs, sneezes and dirty hands, scientists will claim today.

Researchers believe that an airborne “adenovirus” germ could be causing the fat plague that is blighting Britain and other countries.

As many as one in three obese people may have become overweight after falling victim to the highly infectious cold-like virus, known as AD-36.

So how is this supposed to work? Can it possibly be true, or are we wishing this upon ourselves?

Dr Shahrad Taheri, clinical director for obesity at the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, said: “Most people believe obesity is caused by environmental factors.

“But there is a lot of information about how things like the furring up of arteries could be linked to infections. It is not beyond reason to think about various different factors, including infections, adding into the mix about what causes obesity.”

Sounds like a positive, definite maybe!  If obesity is caused by an infection, then a vaccine is possible, which sounds like great news for lots and lots of people, all of whom seem to ride the bus at the same time I do.  But a viral infection cause is not the whole story and if you’re thinking that this let’s you off the hook with dieting and exercise, you may want to think again, though.

Tony Barnett, professor of medicine at the University of Birmingham, said: “These associations may give some clues but they detract from the basic message that we all need to take more exercise and eat a bit less.

“This kind of research needs to go on but we have to be cautious.”

You betchya.

Although this is now all over the ‘net, I credit Don Surbur for the link.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Personal, Science

4 Comments on “Catching Fat”

  1. Paul Says:


    So the obesity virus must’ve mutated and become more virulent (i.e., more easily spread) in the past 20 or so years, just about the same time that McDonald’s started supersizing its products and fast food restaurants became more popular than the kitchen. Maybe it’s in the hamburger. Or maybe the virus is simply called “fat”.

    This is so much bullshit and yet another excuse for Americans to play the victim rather than to take responsibility for our own actions.



  2. joe Says:

    What? You saying that you doubt the science??? Sheesh. There’s no telling where this will end. Next you’ll be telling me that you have doubts about global warming too.

    BTW, you didn’t mention anything about the nation subsidy of corn syrup (simultaneous with soda-vending machines in schools), at just about the same time I wish I had invested in a McDonald’s franchise… That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.

    Ultimately, it’s a British study, so it’s merely an excuse for the Brits to play the victim. We’re just passin’ the word along, if not the virus. ;>


  3. Paul Says:

    Isolation of a virus (cause) and obesity (effect) is biologically a very, very hard thing to prove because of so many other competing factors that cannot be isolated from the biological environment. So far, a single study has been done by a single scientist and like piglets at the sow’s teat the Internet media is trying to suck this one dry.

    This is very much unlike global warming, where cause (a rise in atmospheric temperature) and effect (melting glaciers, elevation of sea level, northern migration of various species, decimation of tundra, etc) directly correlate and have done so across many years and many investigations.

    Unlike your one-of-a-kind virus-fat expert, I believe that the scientific community is nearly unanimous on the issue that global warming is occurring and has been so for at least the last 30 years; and therefore I am convinced, rightly so, that it IS occurring. The issue is whether or not the cause is man-made or part of a natural cycle. While there is certainly evidence – mainly the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption – that human activities have contributed to global warming, the jury is still out on whether or not this is a major contributing factor or just one of several.

    What is a bit irksome is that little is being done to mitigate and adapt to the inevitable effects now – regardless of cause – while there is still time to cost-effectively mitigate and/or adapt to them. It was/is the denial of global warming in light of overwhelming evidence that leads me to question past U.S. leadership with regard to this issue.


  4. joe Says:

    You typed “Unlike your one-of-a-kind virus-fat expert, I believe that the scientific community is nearly unanimous on the issue that global warming is occurring and has been so for at least the last 30 years; and therefore I am convinced, rightly so, that it IS occurring.”

    Nearly unanimous? Hardly. The press would have you think that’s true, but it’s never been so. See Baliunas and Soon. Besides, science isn’t a matter of consensus now, is it?

    It’s curious, btw, that “cause” (increased CO2) seems to follow “effect” (atmospheric temp. rises) in this case. That really, really calls into question the whole relationship between the two.

    So if the question is “Do we really want to stop climate change?”, I have to ask “Why, for God’s sake!” Climate has always changed. IOW, with Glow-ball Warming, we (as in, mankind) have absolutely no idea what is happening, if it’s happening, and what we actually want to happen. That’s not a good foundation for political decisions of any kind, much less one with a impact that could bankrupt all of western civilization. Some see that as a bug, not a feature, but I understand that others don’t.

    As for the virus-obesity connection, well, I’m laughing too. But it’s got me intrigued!


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