3. Toxins in Our Water Supply
I’ve talked about pollution in our water supply before that results from a range of toxins and pharmaceuticals. According to the New York Times, an EPA survey of 139 streams around the country revealed that 80 percent of samples contained residues of drugs like hormones, painkillers, blood pressure medicines, or antibiotics. Allison and his team found that toxins in the water supply disrupt the endocrine system of animals which can literally slow down a mammal’s metabolism.
4. Spoiling Our Pets
We tend to spoil our household pets especially if we feel guilty for leaving them alone for much of the day while we’re at work. Some pet treats contain too many calories, just like human snack foods. Some of the larger dog chews can contain as much as 600 calories, which for some dogs is more than a daily allowance of calories, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Dog treats are nutrient dense and this coupled with feeding our dogs junk food from the table makes for an overweight pup.
5. Disrupting Hibernation and Migration
Until recently, my advice to an overweight human would have been following the time honored advice of our fellow mammals and bird species: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full and get some exercise each day. This is because animals genetically listen to their bodies more than humans. The only problem is that we’ve disrupted the habits of animals so much that even they keep getting fatter. According to the study, certain environmental factors could be affecting body-weight cycles in migrating and hibernating animals. In the wake of climate change, for example, some animals have stopped hibernating and others have shortened their seasonal migration routes. Migration routes are threatened by habitat destruction as well. I wrote over at TreeHugger that such destruction presents an acute threat to the survival prospects of the pronghorn antelope in the American west for example. Poor land use can fragment the pronghorn’s migration pattern and adversely affect the species’ natural cycles. When they don’t travel as far, they’re don’t burn as many calories.