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  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  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  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  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  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  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 😊), 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  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  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  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  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  11:49 AM
...I'm going to get a cheeseburger.
Posted by Maegan  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  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  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  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  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  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  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
This is Raoul's Rule: "All things in moderation, including moderation." This wisdom came to me in a waking dream, where I was lifted by the full-bodied aroma of rich, Corinthian leather. Its musky fragrance moved me to tears, and from this I learned many things. Rrrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  10:07 PM
Ok, OK... Obesity itself is not genetic. However, a PREDISPOSITION to behaviors (eating preferences, activity levels, etc.) has been demonstrated to have genetic links. Studies involving monozygotic twins (identical twins - the virtual holy grail of genetic research) versus dizygotic twins (fraternal) indicate this.

That said, this is definately a hoax - and an offensive one at that. Saying that obese men "have been deemed genetically inferior to the normalized median of homo sapien development" and therefore should receive free sterilization opens the door to sterilizing people who are genetically at a higher risk of high blood pressure and diabetes (i.e. African Americans), which leads to eugenics.

(The Domino Theory lives!)
Posted by Karen  on  Wed Mar 30, 2005  at  11:23 PM
Just had a thought...Why are they only offering to sterilize obese men? Do they think that obese men are more likely to get some than obese women, and are therefore more likely to produce offspring? Yes, okay, the article says that vasectomies are a popular form of permanent contraception, but what about those obese women who have relationships with men who may or may not be obese? Or do they believe that the obese 'gene' is carried in the Y chromosome? 😕
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  12:00 AM
"That said, this is definately a hoax - and an offensive one at that."

Sorry, but I can't concur. It's first-rate satire.
Posted by Paul in Prague  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  12:42 AM
morbid obesity is NOT genetic.
peoples bodys metabolic rate are different, so it may be harder for someone to lose excess body fat. putting blame on your excessive amount of fat tissue because of genetics is lame. everyone has the power to eat healthy and get off thier buttocks and burn a few calories.
its not genetic to be morbidly obese, but a learned behaviour. parents ,who happen to be fat because of poor diet and never having time to workout inbetween reality shows, soaps, drama series, give thier children pre-packaged fattening calorie dense junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then let the tv and video games be thier main activity, its going to create an adult who doesnt know how to cook and eat the proper foods, and hates to move thier body except to go to the kitchen and lift the remote control and/or game controler.

in my insentive opinion there is no reason to weigh 300+ lbs.
Posted by My Opinion  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  01:31 AM
Actually, the only genetic weight-gain I've heard of is related to other disease - ie, diabetes and abnormal thyroid functions - both are hereditary (yay, I can look forward to suffering from either of these later in life, looking at my family. Bye-bye to my lithe figure!) However, both of these diseases can be brought under control with diet, medication & exercise, and usually help with the weight loss too.
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  01:54 AM
Diabetes and abnormal thyroid? You got lucky.

For my family it's depression and retinoschisis.

I'd much rather go through thyroid removal surgery and the replacement drug coupled with injecting insulin and watching my diet than having to live with what I currently do.

Not to say that it would be a walk in the park, but neither is the crap I have to deal with daily.

Lithe? Prove it...
Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  02:11 AM
Hey Rod, do you want a picture of me in a thong? 😉 Give me a bit more practice and I'll be able to pick a coin up from the ground in my mouth while still standing...6 inches/15cm to go!

Also have the risk of depression (although that may not hit until menopause - many years down the track). My eyesight's already up the creek with severe shortsight and astigmatism - end result, no visual aids, no can see past the end of my nose - literally!
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  05:27 AM
This is Fate. I, too, have lost a great deal of my eyesight since my arrival here, but my Vision is undiminished, my sight for all things far and away has not suffered. In fact, I have come to rely upon my many senses, chiefly touch, taste, and smell. These things are for our true nature, not the fleeting images that pass so readily from view. So, do not send Raoul any pictures of you in a thong, for I, Raoul, The Psychic Gangster of Love, already know of your beauty, for, you are a woman, and all women are magnificent. Ciao Down Under. Rrrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  06:23 AM
I think hoaxes like this are not only funny but necessary, too. Journalists need to check their facts. It's absurd that they can get caught so easily.
Posted by whatever  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  08:31 AM
Mmmmm.... Smerk in a thong...


Wow, there must be a lot of traffic today, MOH is slower than ever. Not that that's a bad thing.

Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  08:34 AM
What the hell happened to my smiley?
Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  08:37 AM
Yesterday, according to my site statistics, there were 70,000 unique visitors to the site, producing over 500,000 pageviews, and downloading 6 gb of data. We'll easily top that today, although it remains to be seen if anyone will actually be able to get the site to load.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  08:42 AM
Did you get many new Members out of the deal?
Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  01:04 PM
Smerk in a THONG?!?!?!!!




We always miss the good stuff?

Rod, to make your winking smiley dude work when typing it out you must remember to insert the nose. 😉 ; then - then ) and you get 😉
Posted by Mark-N-Isa  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  01:14 PM
I see.

It just didn't know because the only one that I have typed out until now, (sem, rt brkt) didn't need a nose.

😊 😊


Did ya miss the one of ME wearing a thong?
Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  02:06 PM
I'm kinda sad because you're no longer using it as your avatar...Never mind, you did email it to me! :cheese:
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  05:05 PM
Ok. Ignore that last post. I was getting some guy's head as your Avatar last night, Rod. It's now back to you in a thong.
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  06:16 PM
Some guy?

Did he look much like a bald, fanged, beer and mspaint induced version of Alex, perhaps?

Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  06:52 PM
Yes! I thought I was imagining the fangs, though. He didn't have fangs while I was at work, then later that evening, white marks out the corner of his mouth (I thought he was frothing at the mouth really). Hmmm, was it supposed to be a rabid vampire, maybe? 🧛
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Mar 31, 2005  at  07:08 PM
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