Overweight. Nature or Nurture?

Weight loss Nature vs NurtureI normally stay out of the nature or nurture debate in regards to weight loss, but I have to share a scene I witnessed the other day. We can call it food for thought.

Let’s set the scene. My sons and I exercise together regularly. One of the ways we do that is karate training at Authentic Martial Arts in our home town. The Authentic Dojo is currently located in a strip mall with a couple of restaurants, a gym, a coffee house and a supermarket. Last Saturday morning my sons were taking a class that I do not participate in so I was walking to the coffee house to get a cup. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and a cup of dark roast was all I needed to make it perfect.

As I walked from the dojo to the café, I watched a father and son walking towards me, having a good-natured conversation sipping on their sodas. Now the son was probably about 7 years old and looked in good health but the father probably in his thirties was not in good health. Actually, he was the poster child for morbid obesity. Now this is where nature vs. nurture comes into the scene. There is a high likelihood that the son will one day be overweight. I say that because overweight parents are the number one predictor of a person becoming overweight. What follows is a snippet of the conversation I heard between father and son.

Son- “Daddy, what are those people doing in there” looking in the gym with fascination etched on his little face.

Father- “That’s what’s called exercising”, taking a sip of soda, “doesn’t look like much fun now does it, son?”

Son- Looking back to his father’s face, fascination gone “No daddy, I guess it doesn’t.” Taking a sip of his soda they walked on.

That’s it. That was all I heard and it made me want to scream. That one exchange could have changed that kid’s life irreparably for the worst.

So I ask you. Nature or nurture?

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Author: Craig Long

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