Myths about obesity
John Menzies, Edinburgh, 19th March 2014.
‘Drunken Silenus supported by Satyrs’ (~1620)attributed to Anthony van Dyck, The National Gallery, London
In Greek mythology, Silenus was a satyr, one of the caprine companions of Pan, and tutor to Dionysis. He is often depicted as “jovial”, perhaps a euphemism for overweight and tipsy.
There is something to be said about folk wisdom. An apple a day keeps the doctor away; comer hasta enfermar y ayunar hasta sanar; Jedes Böhnchen gibt ein Tönchen, and so on. But we ought to rely on a scientific evidence base to guide us when we decide when and how to eat. However, some misguided ideas about diet, exercise and obesity have found wide acceptance, not only with the public but also with some scientists, health professionals and policy makers.