According to Stephen Hawking, the “Solution Is Simple”

Well maybe to someone as smart as Stephen Hawking.

After all, Hawking was the first to set forth a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. (I have no idea what that sentence means, but it sounds impressive.)

So what is this simple solution? Is it a way to speed up the Internet by a factor of 1,000? Is it a way to stop global warming?

After all, those seem like the types of problems that would attract someone like Hawking.

But no, nothing as dramatic as that, unless you consider taking on a problem in which millions of lives are in danger.

So what is this problem?


Hawking points out that, “Today, too many people die from complications related to overweight and obesity. We eat too much and move too little.”

So if that is how you think about obesity, then I’d agree, the solution to obesity is simple – eat less and exercise more.

However, according to Bruce Lee, director of  the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, unfortunately tackling obesity is not so simple. It it were, people would have figured out how to fix the problem.

After all, it is a big problem; Lee shares some statistics about obesity:

  • Obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
  • The global cost of obesity has risen to over $2 trillion annually.
  • In 2013, 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.

Those are some sobering statistics, and I agree with Lee that if there was a simple solution to this serious public health issue, someone would have thought of it. But it’s a difficult problem, since obesity has multiple causes, not all of them related to a poor diet or a lack of exercise.

There are many researchers working on the obesity problem, and hopefully they will come up with a solution, or set of solutions that will solve the obesity problem.

In the meantime, however, I’d listen to what Hawking has to say.

A little less eating, and a little more moving, certainly can’t make the problem worse.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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