Don't we all like to pass the buck? When do we accept that a negative result was due to our fault? We like to think that we were tricked or tripped by others. The same is often true of health matters, especially body weight!

Who?

Who refers to a person. So, let's look at all persons who may be responsible for making an individual fat. His/her mother, grandmother, aunts and various women members of the family Father, grandfather, uncles, etc. Doctors, scientists and para-medics Society: neighbours, teachers, Business houses, Media, Advertisers or the individual himself/herself.

The women in the family carry the maximum responsibility in this matter. They are the providers of cooked food to every member of the family. If they check your food habits, they are called nags and blamed for being dictators. If they allow free-rein decisions to all, then too they are blamed for not showing sufficient interest. It's a matter between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea'! Traditions, beliefs and superstitions are kept alive by women in our society. No wonder they are called, ‘old wives' tales' or ‘grandma's tales'. Quite a few of these, if not all, are worth their salt. They are not to be sneezed at!

The men in the family are providers and in most cases, controllers of destiny for the family. By their eating, activity and social habits, they influence the individual. Overeating, late meals or skipping meals, frequent eating-out, smoking, drinking, indolence and inactivity are some of the negative influences.

The information available today is vast and contradictory or confusing to the common man. Therefore, I insist that you follow a dietician's guidance in matters regarding food.

Responsibility?

How are teachers and neighbours and society at large , being influential? By providing right or wrong information, as they are human too; by mocking, making fun or forcing wrong foods and habits; by not permitting or providing play and activity centres and by not maintaining a healthy environment. Adding fuel to fire, all of society's special events are celebrated with high- calorie- eating festivals!!

Business houses, media and advertisers can combine together, as their aim in life is to sell their products only, either for the benefit or detriment of the health of the individual and they are mutually dependent on each other for survival. Obviously they have the greatest scope to influence people, especially the children.

Now comes the individual who has to learn and imbibe the good or bad influences that all the above mentioned have provided. So, can he or she be blamed for becoming fat? In rare cases, genes leading to obesity are inherited. If this is seen, care should be taken to avoid it as much as possible with a good lifestyle. Once again in rare cases, hormonal imbalance and certain accident and trauma cases which damage the appetite centres may cause obesity. This is hard to manage. Whatever may be the influence of others, knowingly or unknowingly, the individual bears the brunt of it. Philosophically speaking, each one of us is responsible for ourselves. Please stop blaming others and yourself too.

Since you are the one who eats, don't eat when tired, depressed, afraid, as a punishment or for over indulgence. Eat in a happy atmosphere, knowing your body's need. And keep yourself physically and mentally active.

What?

What refers to an object or a method and has a simple answer. Wrong or excess food in excess of the body's activity. In case you need more information , meet your dietitian and your fitness guru!

Since you are the one who eats, don't eat when tired, depressed, afraid, as a punishment or for over indulgence. Eat in a happy atmosphere, knowing your body's need.

The author is Dean, Academy of Fitness Management, Chennai