printable article

Originally published September 20 2010

Mainstream media claims cold virus causes obesity; food choice and exercise make no difference

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) The headlines have it all backwards. "Childhood Obesity Might Be Linked to Strain of Cold Virus" says BusinessWeek. "Childhood cold virus could lead to development of obesity" claims the Telegraph (UK). Not to be outdone, MSNBC rolls out this whopper: "Nothing to sneeze at: Common cold virus may make kids fat."

What are all these headlines referring to? A new study out of the University of California, San Diego, revealed that obese children were far more likely to have been infected with adenovirus 36 (AD36) than fit children. This is what's called an "observational correlation" in scientific terms.

From this observational correlation, the scientists involved in the study as well as virtually the entire mainstream media leaped to the false conclusion that the virus must be causing obesity. It's sort of like saying that pregnancy causes sex. They have it all backwards.

Here's why:

Being obese (which is caused almost entirely by food and exercise choices) makes you more susceptible to infections because it impairs immune function. So obese kids are more likely to be infected with AD36 right from the start. Furthermore, obese kids are far more likely to have reduced time outside playing in the sun, so they're more likely to be vitamin D deficient, making them even more susceptible to infection.

They're also more likely to be living on junk foods rather than healthful foods, contributing both to obesity and poor immune defenses. All this adds up to the real cause of their infections: Poor health and poor immune function.

That's why obese children have a high correlation with AD36 viral infections. They have a common cause: An unhealthful lifestyle that attracts both infections and obesity.

The hidden vaccine agenda

Laughably, the so-called "scientific" medical community can only see this issue in one way: The virus must have caused the obesity! This reversal of cause and effect coincidentally happens to support -- guess what? A vaccine agenda against AD36. If they can convinced everyone that AD36 causes obesity, they can roll out an "obesity vaccine" and claim that taking the vaccine stops you from getting fat. (It's the same scam currently being pushed for HPV vaccines.)

It's another vaccine victory for an industry that wants us all to believe viruses determine most of the health outcomes in our lives and that our own actions have no role in our own health. That's the message in this warped virus-obesity story, of course: Your kids can't control their body weight through eating and exercise, it's all about the virus! So pay no attention to their food. It doesn't matter.

Nonsense. And the mainstream media reports on this science are just blatantly false. "Children who are exposed to a cold-like virus when young are more likely to develop obesity, scientists have claimed" says the Telegraph article. That's utterly false, and it doesn't even follow from the research -- which only established a correlation, not a causative role. The Telegraph has inserted its own cause-effect time flow into the facts of the study, assuming a causal link between the virus and obesity.

In reality, no such causal link exists. The study merely found a correlation, and when you find correlations, you can't leap to a conclusion that B causes A. Because maybe you've got it wrong and A causes B.

Stuck in the germ theory era

But why does mainstream medicine and the mainstream media automatically leap to the false conclusion that a virus causes obesity? Because that's the way they think. They're stuck in the germ theory of disease where they mistakenly believe an invading germ or microorganism is responsible for patient health. They discount the role of the patients' own actions in their health outcome and thereby steal away power from patients and place it in the hands of the drug companies -- the organizations responsible for coming up with "miracle chemical cures" to these infectious viruses.

This idea is strongly reflected in a statement from study leader Dr Jeffrey Schwimmer who said, "It is time that we moved away from assigning blame in favor of developing a level of understanding that will better support efforts at both prevention and treatment."

So let's translate this statement from the study author, shall we? What he's essentially saying is "Stop blaming people for their own behavior because food choice and exercise has nothing to do with obesity, and instead we need to be vaccinating children against obesity while calling it 'treatment.'"

Notice, too, that as long as people believe their obesity problems are caused by viruses, then they can play out the "victim" role which is exactly what Big Medicine wants. Keep eating those cheeseburgers and junk foods while blaming it on a virus. Don't bother with exercise or taking care of yourself, and if anybody asks, just tell them "the virus made me fat."

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet that is precisely what MSNBC, BusinessWeek, the Telegraph and countless other newspapers are publishing this very minute! A virus makes you fat, and it doesn't matter what you eat.

I find it astonishing that so many large and powerful media outlets can't seem to hire writers who bother to think before they write.

Now, for the record, I do want to mention that there is a genetic factor that impacts obesity and it is easier for some to stay thin than others. For example, someone of Thai descent can often stay thin far easier than someone of Samoan descent. This is built in genetically, as Samoans are programmed to store extra food for reasons having to do with geography and hurricanes that can wipe out food crops and result in starvation. So there are other factors that make it easier or more difficult for individuals to maintain a healthy body weight, but everybody responds to changes in diet and exercise, even if you have genes that are trying to convince you to store body fat.

Still, it is true that some people stay thin looking almost no matter what they eat. For them, it takes virtually no effort. But for the rest of us (including me), it takes a concerted effort to stay fit through the conscious application of healthy choices in food and exercise.

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit