Managing weight seems pretty simple, manage energy balance. Calories in versus out right? If everyone just looked after that we could solve the obesity problem.

Consider this.

There are a myriad of variables to account for, from external factors – socioeconomic, cultural and environmental to internal factors like a person’s relationship with food which has been shaped by their own personal experiences related to weight and food.

Genetic predisposition. What your mother ate before you were born*. What you were fed as a child. What food you had access to throughout your teens. Were you bullied in school.

(*foetal programming – describes the process whereby a substance or nutrient during pregnancy can have an impact on the health of the child in the long-term)

When you think of a problem and what the solution is there are probably many, many different things you haven’t even considered, yet that are a small – but not insignificant – cog in the machine.

Here’s a quote from the pictured review which goes into further detail on many different links between chronic disease, food and other related factors.

“There is a global epidemic of increasing obesity, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases…the epidemic will continue and is due to a lifetime of exposures and influences. Genetic predisposition plays an unspecified role, and with programming during fetal life for adult disease contributing to an unknown degree”.

It’s not all doom and gloom – the paper makes recommendations on what can be done for prevention and there is optimism for the future.

I believe everyone should have a very strong base of knowledge when it comes to food as it plays such a big role in person’s life. It can affect you (physical and mental health), the people close to you (disease or incapacitation), and the country as a whole (the healthcare system).

It’s a simple as calories in versus out. Except it’s not.