Curing Obesity Through Sterility

The website of the Pacific Northwest Medical Journal contains an article titled, "Curing Obesity through Sterility: California's Controversial Program Under the Microscope". According to this article San Francisco has a publicly funded program to allow obese men to get free vasectomies. The idea is to stop them breeding in order to eliminate the gene for fatness from the population. This cannot be real. I've never heard of such a program and can't imagine it getting funded. But if it's a hoax (which I assume it is), it's a curiously elaborate one. All the other articles on the site appear to be quite serious. Why go to so much trouble for one hoax article? When I did a search to find out who the website was registered to, it listed KLAF Television in Shreveport, Louisiana as the owner. That doesn't really help explain anything.

Body Manipulation

Posted on Wed Mar 30, 2005


Alex, you need to stop posting as I'm reading the page. I'm so easily confused.
Posted by Winona  in  USA  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:10 AM
"Why go to so much trouble for one hoax article?"

Can a hoax *ever* be too much trouble? Honestly, Alex, I'm ashamed for you.
Posted by Paul in Prague  in  errr...  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:14 AM
I myself still can't believe that people think that there is actually a "fat gene", myself.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:42 AM
IF this were to be true, it seems unnecessary to me. I for one have a hard time believing that a medically obese man is going to be successful enough at picking up women to spread his "fat genes" around. Don't interpret this as a slam on fat people, I'm one myself, I see our lack of demand.

I suppose it would be useful for a married man, but still, their logic isn't even half-baked.
Posted by ProjectMayhem  in  Madison, WI  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  01:04 AM
Ok, I got 'conman' as my word submit this time...

As far as obesity and genetics goes, there *is* a link, but no defining gene. There are a couple of nasty weight-gaining disorders that are genetic, but they're relatively rare.

They'd be better off doing the same thing for, say, cancer, or diabetes.

Besides, good-looking people are more likely to have sex anyway. Give it a few years and Darwin will work his mojo.
Posted by Bobcat  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  01:18 AM
If there actually was an direct obesity/genetic connection, would homo sapiens be the only species to exhibit it? Probably not.

I don't think that there is a link.

I think that obesity is entirely a product of environment, and nothing more.

Yes, genetic diseases exist, but they are not spread out to anywhere near as much of the population as obesity is, so that really has no bearing on fat people blaming it on their genetics. Rare genetic diseases are therefore excluded from this.

Think I'm wrong? Prove it. I'm willing to learn.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  01:39 AM
Weird. Even the skinniest people have fat kids b/c of bad food choices. I suppose metabolic rate can be passed. But even still, I've known young people (under 18 or so) who can eat everything in sight & not gain an ounce. Once they hit 25 they've got to count calories like the rest of us.

Duh. We should just keep people from getting older to stop obesity.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  04:47 AM
The first cut is the deepest
Posted by Raoul  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  07:26 AM
I'm a sedentary 30 yo male (as in darn lazy couch potato) and don't count calories "like the rest of you" -- and I'm pretty thin, too, I think I'm actually a tad underweight. My father is almost the same (except for the age part grin), while my mother is the exact opposite: no matter what she eats, she's still overweight (I understand she has a disorder).

Regarding the diet, I've had exactly the same as my parents until my twenties when I moved out, and we still tend to eat more or less the same things. And if anything different, my mother's diet is less consistent than ours.

I say there has to be something genetic somewhere.
Posted by Gutza  in  Bucharest  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  08:51 AM
Sadly it looks pretty real to me. I actually know some of the people who wrote the articles referenced at the bottom.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  08:54 AM
I should be clear that literature listed is real but I have never heard of this California program and if it was real I think I would have heard of it.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  08:56 AM
My mom never kept junk food in the house (no soda, cookies, chips, candy...), and she kept us on mostly fruits, veggies & fish/chicken, w/ some beans & rice thrown in. Dairy in the form of skim milk & yogurt (plain), or cheese. (Ice cream was for birthdays). If I wasn't active (basketball league) I'd really have to squeeze into my jeans. My sister on the other hand can eat whatever she wants & still wear the same bikini every summer.

So explain that for genetics.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  10:56 AM
For those who believe that obesity is genetic, I've got a $10,000 reward for the first person to find the gene that makes you American.
Posted by Brandon  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  11:37 AM
People, please support you arguments.

I'm not going to start believing simply because you posted something that I can't verify at all.

I never said that I know the answer or can explain it. I also said that I was willing to believe if it was proven to me. You know, PROOF. (Sound familiar, some of you?)

Basically what I'm saying is this...
If you were to suddenly cut off the food supply of any group of people and isolate them from an easy source (ie. already packaged), within a few years, there would be no obese people around. They would not be fat, because they would have to expend their energy getting food.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  11:43 AM
Brandon said: "For those who believe that obesity is genetic, I've got a $10,000 reward for the first person to find the gene that makes you American."

What in the world is that about???? Makes no sense.

Being obese is genetic, just like cholesteral. The body makes chemicals to support life, and sometimes these chemical pumps just pump out a little more then it should. Chemicals in your body react to each other, and with certain mixing of DNA and how your parents started your life out changes these chemicals until they are basically written in stone. Some times you have to cut off certain "pumps" to change the chemical reaction for the body to maintain itself better.
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  11:49 AM
...I'm going to get a cheeseburger.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:02 PM
Stephen--my comment about finding a gene for being American relates to the fact that, if there were truly a gene for obesity, it wouldn't discriminate. In other words, how do you explain the fact that only America is currently experiencing a plague of obesity? There are some instances of genetics having a large influence on weight, but if you ask any doctors, they will tell you that they are EXTREMELY rare, and they go hand in hand with other serious health problems that people with imagined "genetic problems" just don't display. Genes can have some influence on metabolism, but a person with a low metabolism isn't going to Delta Burke if they eat well and exercise. Americans always need something besides themselves to blame for their problems, and I'm so sick of hearing fat people whine about how it's so hard to lose weight because of their genes at the same time that they're shoving a twinky into their mouth and reaching for the remote control so that they don't have to walk five feet to turn up the volume on the caterwauling idiots on American Idol.
Posted by Brandon  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:39 PM
I agree with you there!!! I know alot of fat people that complain about the weight won't come off no matter what they do. Alot like to claim obesity, but, yes, that is kinda a rare to have. What is happening is they are eating the wrong things. I, for example, cannot eat red meat very often because I gain weight easier then the next person might, the triglycerids in it effect me alot, why??? My body chemistry. So I have to eat certain foods most of the time. Most fat people, my mom included, well, she isn't THAT fat, but she just didn't know what to eat, and when to eat it. I showed her, and now she is doing better. But there is going to be that "Obesity Scape goat" for those that don't understand how it works.
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  12:51 PM
Brandon--There was an article about obesity in National Geographic in August. They have a chart of obesity by country. In the following nations (in no particular order) at least 24% of the population is obese: U.S., Mexico (females only), Chile (FO), Cook Islands, French Polynesia, U.K., Germany, Russia (FO), Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa (FO), Thailand, Nauru, Samoa, and Tonga.

Notice the Polynesian island countries. I read somewhere else, I don't remember where, that many of these countries have a huge percentage, I think 80-90%, of obese people. Something in their genetics does not agree with their new modern way of life.

Obviously genetics cannot completely be blamed, as these people have not always been obese, but convienant food and a lifestyle that does not require excercise for daily survival has taken its toll on people with slow metabolism.

On a slightly different note, the above article about the Polynesians had a very interesting theory on how people genetically inclined to be obese may have had hunter-gatherer ancestors while people with faster metabolisms could be traced back to agrarian nations in The Fertile Crescent.

I completely agree with you, Brandon, about people who blame genetics while scarfing down Twinkies. There seems to be an overwhelming loss of responsibility in America. Everything is someone or something else's fault.
Posted by Rochelle  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  01:36 PM
I just blame stuff on the Canadians...I know their tricks!!!! One day, I might even meet one.
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  01:53 PM
Rochelle--I'll check that article out. One thing I can say as to the Polynesian countries is that I had a friend who was Samoan, and let's just say that he and his family's love of food was an art form and seemed, to me at least, to be cultural.
Posted by Brandon  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  02:04 PM
If they want to fight obesity in california by sterilization, they'd better sterilize all McDonalds managers...

The real cause of obesity in the US is fast food, not genes.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  02:45 PM
Noooooooo, The real cause is people. Like you!!!! Sure, it's easy to blame a multi billion dollar company on your problems. It is a persons choice to eat there. I quit eating there a year ago...I miss the tasty sausage, egg, and cheese Bagle, mmmmmmmmm. that was a damned good sandwhich. Quarter pounder with cheese is good as well, but I have only eat'n 3 of those in my life. But you wouldn't know cause YOU THINK McDONALDS WANTS PEOPLE TO BE FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! are probably right sense you live in the Netherlands. But you told me that women wern't very hot over there, so I might never go.
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  03:05 PM
Re Polynesians and obesity:
This may or may not be relevant, but Hawaiians have the highest per capita Spam consumption in the world.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  04:58 PM
Why not just sterilize everybody?
That should get rid of just about every genetic problem within a generation or so.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  05:00 PM
Obesity is not particularly American. There was a recent report (see: and that says Europeans are having the same obesity issues as we in America. One quote from the article says:

"Levels in the UK are now approaching the levels seen in the US.

Amongst adults in Europe, obesity rates range from 10 -27 percent in men and up to 38 percent in women. The corresponding figures in the US stand at 28 percent for men and 34 percent in women.

But some countries - Finland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta - have already surpassed the overweight rates in the US. "
Posted by mmmark  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  05:59 PM
Here's the disclaimer on's website. Looks like a hoax to me.
Posted by Lstelly  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  06:45 PM
I still giggle at Alex's category: "Body Manipulation."
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  07:02 PM
Definitely a hoax. The article is signed, but the author gives no affiliation. None of the other articles are even signed. No real medical journal would do this. Also note that the Depleted Uranium article is lifted from here:

which in turn lifted the article from the Croatian Medical Journal.

The article itself has some usages that no qualified medical researchers would use. Modern online medical journals would also tend to give a "doi" (digital object identifier) number to each article.

Also: the PNMJ appears to be buying text ads on the humor site

Lot of trouble for a not very funny hoax.
Posted by Pete R  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  09:49 PM
Oops! Should have followed all the links in the comments before I posted.
Posted by Pete R  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  09:51 PM
Comments: Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.