Your Cat Is Getting Fat Your Cat Is Getting Fat
Lifestyle

Your Cat Is Getting Fat

by Peter Smith

January 17, 2011
Beyond the more obvious factors contributing to obesity—the food we eat, the physical things we do—there's increasing evidence that something else might be play in our environment, factors that range from viruses, light pollution, and genetic mutations to stress and various environmental contaminants. Scientists have suggested, for example, that leaving a light on at night correlates with obesity.

But how much do these things really factor into the obesity epidemic? In one recent attempt to answer that, scientists looked at studies involving 20,000 animals. The idea, Yann C. Klimentidis and the study's authors write, is:

Model organisms have potential value as ‘canaries in the coalmines’ or ‘sentinels’ informing us about environmental factors potentially impacting humans. In this light, we compiled data to assess time trends in body weight in mammalian species that live with or around humans in industrialized societies. Such observations might help identify environmental influences that might otherwise go undetected.

Thumbnail illustration by Natalie Conn. Top photo (cc) by Flickr user threefatcats. Bottom photo (cc) by Flickr user diegodiazphotography

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Your Cat Is Getting Fat