The rising tide of obesity-related illnesses is one of America’s most tenacious problems. Losing weight is really hard, and exhortation-based efforts to promote healthier eating are in many ways swimming against the current of human nature. Even as Americans are told we should emulate the eating happens of the Mediterranean in actual Mediterranean countries people seem to be embracing American-style dietary habits.
One alternative approach, in principle, would be to develop new medical treatments for obesity related ailments that are more effective than what we have today. Today the National Institute on Aging is announcing some progress on this front at least as applied to mice, finding “that obese male mice treated with a synthetic compound called SRT1720 were healthier and lived longer compared to non-treated obese mice.” Needless to say, the quantity of potentially promising scientific discoveries always outpaces the quantity of actually useful treatments that can be used in human beings. But it is always worth noting that even though these healthy eating drives appeal much better to Americans’ puritanical streak it’s at least as likely that we’ll see improvements through this channel as anything else.