Tag Archives: obesity

Dr. Steven Robbins

Footwear use caused obesity in humans (March 2012)

Dr. Steven Robbins

Dr. Steven Robbins


The solution to the present obesity epidemic lies in recognizing its evolutionary origins. Obesity defined as excess body fat sufficient to impair mobility, could not have existed in hunter-gatherers of the genus Homo, because ineffective mobility would have impaired survival.

Homo sapiens (humans), lived as did its ancestors with a keen sense of hunger so as to maintain energy reserves required for mobility and survival in relative famine, and constrained by impairment of survival imposed by excessive weight. This changed when the “Black Death” ravaged southern Europe. During this period, to avoid contact with the substrate that was presumed to be contaminated, all social classes in Europe adopted the habit of wearing shoes. The associated discomfort of standing when using footwear caused avoidance behavior through extensive use of chairs for the first time in human history – a sedentary lifestyle and subsequent obesity for many, because unlike when humans were hunter-gatherers,  technology now allowed less mobile humans to survive.

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