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There are things in life we take as gospel, like one which tells us that overweight is caused by physical inactivity. Health professionals preach this for decades. So the culture blames the overweight and the obese for what’s considered a shameful condition: laziness. This mentality puts guilt on those already suffering a weight problem, but equally damaging is that it breeds hateful discrimination against those suffering a condition that might have nothing to do with laziness.
The popular notion is that inactivity causes weight gain, but the science shows that they are only correlated, that there’s no proof of cause-effect. In other words, we don’t know for sure if inactivity causes overweight, or even if overweight causes inactivity. There are many overweight people who are active, just as there are many normal-weight people who are inactive.
The other day I went to a car-wash (too lazy to wash my own car on this particular weekend!). This was a large-scale, all-hand-wash operation that moves dozens of cars through every hour, with swarms of busy employees with rags in hands and constantly in motion, bending and reaching and squatting. If there is a job that keeps you moving, this is it — 8-hour shifts of constant bending, reaching, and squatting.
What was particularly interesting in observation was that more than 2/3 of the car-wash staff was overweight. Here was a small population that was active all day long, yet their weight contradicts the conventional claim that physical inactivity causes overweight. And since overweight is associated with poverty, and people with lower-wage income tend to earn a living in manual labor jobs, then a different mechanism might be the cause of overweight, and not physical inactivity.
The discussion of body weight regulation (e.g. weight loss, management), therefore, ought to center on dietary control rather than exercise and physical activity.
Definitely NOT what you’d find at your typical car-wash place.