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'Flab jab' only succeeds in feeding the fat mentality


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With projected figures showing that in twenty years nearly half of men in the UK will be clinically obese, scientists believe that a 'vaccine' against obesity could be the answer to the epidemic.

Each day we are inundated with quick fixes to lose weight, from Beyonce’s lemon detox diet to the most recent “OMG” fad diet that will help you “get skinnier than all your friends” in just six weeks! The last thing I would have expected is for scientists to jump on the bandwagon.

Thanks to professionals from US-based Braasch Biotech, soon there may be no need to take any control whatsoever of our bodies. The vaccination that they have developed focuses on the immune system, causing it to attack the hormone somatostatin which slows metabolic rate. While this may help to avoid dangerous dieting, it also feeds the idea that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved through drugs. Additionally, it puts the emphasis on body weight rather than body nourishment.

It is true that with progressions in transport and the ease that comes with internet, we have the potential to live a largely sedentary lifestyle. It is also true that the UK is the fattest nation in Europe. Nevertheless, introducing a vaccine as a solution is only going to fuel the fat mindset, albeit without the visible effects.

Until now, effective medical procedures to prevent obesity have been limited to invasive methods such as gastric bands and liposuction. These involve operations and recovery times often spent in hospital, making them undesirable and a recognisable drain on NHS resources. As a result, working towards a healthy lifestyle was easily championed as a safer and more preferable route to tackling obesity. Launching a vaccination turns this attitude on its head, and is likely to fuel our desire for immediate results. The damaging nature of a quick fix when it comes to our bodies continues to receive negative criticism, but this could be overshadowed with scientific backing.

The somatostatin research could also serve to undermine the work of such campaigns as the NHS Change4Life project, which encourages UK families to take an active interest in portion control, nutritional content and fitness. Its goal is to re-educate adults in order to pass on a naturally healthy lifestyle to future generations. This avoids the national waistline expanding through the much cheaper and simpler means of recognising overabundance and increasing activity, instead of wasting time and money researching ways to replicate this artificially.

It is understandable that the vaccination could be a tempting option in the US, as it treats a condition that costs the country $147 billion each year. However, perhaps the states should be reconsidering their “supersize” options before messing with their immune systems. The long-term effects of this vaccination are still unknown: obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes, which in turn is linked to immunodeficiency. If we start altering the immune system in the first place through a vaccination, particularly to those who are already privy to poor eating habits, we run the risk of creating further health risks and more economic problems in the long run.

There is a wealth of information out there to help us live healthily; we should not be dependent on a hormones to help us lose weight. What’s more, weight loss should not be the dominant issue over our physical and emotional wellbeing. The Braasch Biotech researchers may succeed in feeding fad culture, but they have missed every issue at the core of the obesity epidemic.

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