The great danger. Nuclear weapons? Hurricanes?
The local newscast featured yet another dire prediction. Kids are too fat. They won't live as long as their parents. I've heard this kind of thing before.
Of course, obesity presents such a problem because people are living long enough that obesity matters. People die less at birth, less from childhood diseases, less in the workplace, and survive more from diseases and conditions like cancer and heart attacks. That's good, and barring some new super-disease or release of the smallpox virus, I think that will continue.
And I can think of a miracle drug or two that could greatly stop obesity. I'd love to see a drug that safely speeds one's metabolism without side effects, so that everyone could be that person everyone hates, the person who can eat anything and not gain a pound. But perhaps more realistic is a drug that gives one a feeling of satiety, that turns off the brain's declaration of hunger. It'd be easy to stick to a weight-loss diet if one never felt hungry. It's probably the only realistic way one could survive on the Calorie restriction diet, recently cited as a potential key to massive longevity gains.
One final observation. My generation is taller than my parent's generation. The baby boomers didn't have the extreme poverty and Dust Bowl conditions of the Great Depression, where starvation was a real risk. Nor did they live through World War II, when people gladly endured Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays to sacrifice for the war effort. No, the Baby Boomers lived through boom times, when food was plentiful. So what makes later generations grow up taller? Is it possible that the Baby Boomers didn't actually get enough to eat?