Obesity Can Be Caught as Easily as a Common Cold?

Obesity can be “caught” as easily as a common cold from other people’s coughs, sneezes and dirty hands, scientists said Monday.

Hi Everyone,  I came across this in the news today:

The article went on to say that the “condition” has been linked to a highly-infectious virus which also causes sniffles and sore throats.  (Wonder if it goes away with cold medicine?)

Nikhil Dhurandhar, an associate professor at The Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, La., said the virus, known as AD-36, infects the lungs then whisks around the body, forcing fat cells to multiply and also causing sore throats.  “When this virus goes to fat tissue it replicates, making more copies of itself and in the process increases the number of new fat cells, which may explain why the fat tissue expands and why people get fat when they are infected with this virus,” Dhurandhar said.

Now we have to worry every time a fat person sniffles or sneezes around us.  OF COURSE I am being facetious… as if the obese didn’t have enough problems already, NOW the public has further reason to ostracize them.  Can thin people also carry this virus?  I had to read down to the third paragraph of the news release to find the answer…

“In one test, a third of obese people had the rare and highly contagious virus compared to just 11 percent of thinner people. Weight gain can last three months until the body has built up resistance to the bug.

OK,  here’s what I am taking away from this:

1) Two out of three obese people DO NOT carry the virus.

2) Thin people can carry it too

3) Weight gain can last three months. So can a nasty, persisting cold. So is the virus causing obesity, or do we have obese study subjects with a persistent cold? Hmmm…

When asked, the associate professor admitted: “People could be fat for reasons other than viral infections, so it’s pointless for fat people to try to avoid infection,” said Dhurandhar.

Yeah,  they can be fat for reasons like metabolic disorders, overeating, and not getting enough exercise. I rest my case.

Look for a miracle pill addressing the virus from an enterprising pharmaceutical company in the near future.  Until then, let’s dispense with the fringe theories for obesity, and get to work.  I am here to help.  Check out our training and nutrition programs on this website. Yes, they’re free.

Stay healthy and don’t sneeze.

Lee Labrada

Your Lean Body Coach™
Houston, Texas

3 Responses for Obesity Can Be Caught as Easily as a Common Cold?

  1. January 27, 2009 12:52 pm

    I am shocked that this ‘article/report’ would even be published. Of course this is a farce and a tactic to get publicity, scare the already highly scared American public and divert our personal responsibilities from our health to an outside uncontrollable source. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We need to stay vigilant in our pursuit of wellness! – Tina Marie

  2. Elissa Lowe


    February 1, 2009 1:00 pm

    With all due respect, Lee… it’s a little unfair to judge the research on the basis of the media report. The researchers are not claiming that the virus can turn the formerly svelte into “Monsieur Creosote” clones, nor are they claiming it’s a stand alone cause of obesity.

    Obesity is an interaction between genes and environment, and viruses are potential agents of genetic change (this is the rationale behind using viruses as vectors for gene therapy). Thanks to diseases caused by single-gene defects, we think of “genetics” = “inevitable”, but this is not always true when it comes to more complex traits.

    Someone who’s genetically susceptible to obesity, might nonetheless maintain a normal weight and body composition in an environment where food is limited, and people have to work hard to get it. Put that person in an obesigenic environment, however, and whammo! Needless to state, someone with less “favorable” genetics will respond differently in the same environment.*

    In other words, research like this isn’t trying to explain why people get fat AT ALL, but why – given the same environment – Person A might gain – say – 20 lbs., while Person B might gain 100 lbs. There are many genes ID’d now, that may play a role in determining one’s susceptibility to obesity. Since certain viruses can establish permanent, latent infections in host cells and even continue to express viral genes (Epstein-Barr virus is a good example), it’s not inconceivable that viruses could be a genetic “wild card” in determining how fat a person could become in a permissive environment.

    This does not mean that “put down the fork” isn’t valid advice: the flip side of the “genetics doesn’t mean inevitable” argument is that it means people’s actions still matter…they do have the power to change their “environments.” Nonetheless, one’s genetics will still define how successful an “environmental intervention” is likely to be. One person may struggle and make painfully slow progress under condtions where others succeed brilliantly. The former can succeed if s/he perseveres, of course, but the fact remains is that s/he is going to have to work harder at it, and – in the end – may still not end up with a six-pack, regardless of how hard s/he works at it.

    Ultimately, viruses like AD-36 may turn out to have only a minor influence on determining one’s susceptibility to obesity – or perhaps even no influence. But that remains to be determined.

    *we see this all the time in the gym, of course: put two different people on the same nutrition and training program, and you will nonetheless see rather different results w/respect to gains in strength and lean mass.

  3. May 21, 2011 9:24 pm

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic.You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa).You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years.Great stuff, just great!