People are fat because of a virus that has spread through western civilisation. I had to give that theory a bit of a second glance. According to research by the University of California children with a certain infection showed an increased likelihood of obesity. I had to check the old calendar to make sure I wasn't being taken in by an April Fool's joke.

Reported in the Independent there is some evidence that obesity may not be purely down to an excess of calorie intake versus exercise output.

It's based on the finding by Nikhil Dhurandhar over a decade ago that during a 'flu virus, chickens that died due to an adenovirus were nicely plump and not all thin and emaciated as they should be.

Now, some people may say that the obese had a depressed immune system so they caught the virus, not the other way round.

But the question is, did the plump chickens die from the virus or starvation?

Viruses do kill in a variety of ways. What is there against a theory that a virus could make calories follow a sort of one way street in to fat cells but then get locked in? So that however much exercise or dieting takes place the fat cells do not release the stored energy.

The trouble is that the virus seems to have been occurring in tandem with the West's proclivity for fast food, alcohol and a growing aversion to simple home prepared fare.

But people showing evidence of being infected with adenovirus do seem to be on average heavier. Lab studies indicated that when the virus infects immature fat cells they are prompted to spread faster. Whether that actually means 'fatter' isn't stated but is assumed.

Before we jump on the anti-fat-person bandwagon we must remember that everyone is different and that there is more to nature than we currently know.

Sadly there will be people who will now avoid fat people in the belief that their obesity is catching.


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