While some people still believe that the best way to avoid obesity or lose weight is to exercise, a clever study of a hunter-gatherer tribe has laid that canard to rest.
The Hadza tribe in Tanzania hunt and forage for their food every day, and were tracked to see how much energy they expended in this task. The researchers expected that they would burn a lot more calories than modernized Westerners, who don’t have to use manual labor to ensure they’re getting meals every day.
Not so. The results showed that the metabolic rate of the Hadzas was the same, suggesting that the amount of calories we need is the same no matter where we live or what we have to do to get our food.
The conclusion, then, is that the ever-growing problem of obesity in Westerners is because of overeating and not inactivity.
The World Health Organization projects that by 2015, one in three people worldwide will be overweight, with one in 10 being considered obese.
Overeating in general and the processed foods that have become staples of Western diets, in particular, are more likely the causes of the rapid rise in the number of people with obesity. While exercise is important to maintain our health, both how much and what we’re eating is what we should be paying attention to in order to keep our bodies running the way they should.