Overweight Animals (and Humans)

by | Jun 9, 2020 | Animals, Weight Loss | 0 comments

Humans seem to be losing the battle of the bulge. Two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. In 20 years, a string-bean human might be a rare sight.

Our pets are also getting heavier and heavier: dogs, cats, even pet horses. Research animals nowadays weigh more than research animals fed the same amount of food decades ago.

What is going on? Scientists do not know. There may be something in the air or water that contributes to weight gain.

However, eating a lot of food is usually the main culprit. Take the example of a wild owl found on the ground in England. The creature was too fat to fly.  Owl sanctuary workers, whom we could call saints, found the owl and investigated. 

The owl-obesity sleuths discovered that there were a huge number of mice nearby. The owl apparently had gorged on the mice and gained a major amount of weight. The workers kept the owl and put it on a leaner diet, prior to release.

Most wild animals do not become obese. One reason is that they find it hard to eat enough to gain a large amount of weight. An adult steer eating grass all day does not gain much weight because the grass has little in the way of usable calories. Also, the steer moves about during the day. 

But if humans give that steer rich feed, gain weight it will. If the steer has a small frame, foot problems and heat stress may occur. We are not so different.

If you think I am going to suggest that we live like wild animals, you are partly right. Most of us can walk a good distance every day. Harder is to eat mostly unprocessed food in quantities that match our expenditure of calories.

The temptations to gorge are great. We can give into them once in a while, but not every day, if we want to maintain our weight.

I speak as someone who works on personal weight control. Decades ago, I set a maximum weight for myself. I am still on the good side of the maximum. My life-course has included sacrifices as I aged. I once ate 10 slices of my beloved toast as part of breakfast. Over the years I changed to 8, then 6, 4, 3, and 2.  

What sacrifices are you willing to make to manage your weight, you wild thing?


Photo by Valentin Petkov on Unsplash


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