Life Advice



Ask Amy: A ‘thin and fit’ person tries to understand obesity

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have always been thin and fit. I eat well and exercise.

Like most people, I have friends and family who struggle terribly with weight issues.

I have read volumes about the genetic origins of obesity and want to be sensitive to this issue.

I can’t help but noticing, however, that the overweight people I know eat a lot more than I do, exercise less, and generally lead far less healthy lifestyles.

Am I to believe they’re genetically prone to these behaviors?

Please help me to understand the science!


– Trying not to Judge

Dear Trying not to Judge: To quote author Roxanne Gay: “When you’re overweight, people project assumed narratives onto your body and are not at all interested in the truth.”

If you truly wanted to understand the science, you would have gone ahead and digested (excuse the pun) the portion of research you’ve done, versus the choice you’ve made – to scratch your head in disingenuous wonderment that you witness overweight people eating more and moving less than you do.

Genetics do seem to play a role both in obesity itself, and in behaviors related to obesity, such as overeating. Based on my own reading, the causes of obesity are varied and extremely complex, which is why successful treatment of obesity is much more complicated than you imply.


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