Fifty years ago “Cancer” was a widely misunderstood stigma disease we didn’t want to talk about. President Nixon’s “War on Cancer” in the early 70s and public education led to open discussions and better treatments. Some cancers are now curable with the right treatment and many patients can now live longer and healthier lives.

Today, staggering rates of obesity are responsible for the rise of 10 common cancers. Dr. Clifford Hudis, a New York breast cancer specialist, said the trends meant that young people were increasingly presenting with diseases usually seen only in old age. “Being lean doesn’t mean you won’t get these diseases, necessarily, but being obese might mean you get them earlier in life,” said the former ASCO president, “So you might get colon cancer at 60 instead of 80.”

“Obesity” has become the new stigma disease. Nobody wants to talk about it. We are afraid to mention it because it will be seen as fat shaming or judging. People need to realize and understand that obesity is a gateway disease. Obesity is poised to overtake smoking as the number one cause of cancer and has been linked to stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many other chronic diseases.

Obesity is certainly a spreading epidemic that cannot be easily solved by diet and exercise alone. If it were that easy, the problem would have been solved already with the endless number of diet and exercise programs available. This major problem has gone unsolved for over 40 years. During that time, millions of dedicated dieters along with concerned scholars, scientists, and even politicians have attempted to solve the problem.

But despite this massive effort, the obesity problem continues to grow worse with no credible solution in sight. Why have experts been unable to solve the problem?

Though obesity affects more people than cancer, it does not get even half the attention and resources necessary to address the problem. Where’s the “War on Obesity?” What is being provided to obese people to help them fight this war? Even though it is covered by insurance, there are no long-term effective guidelines or programs made available to help those who are obese. They are often left to fend for themselves. Without direction, obese people have already lost the fight. Studies show that only the most determined 1.2% of obese people succeed in keeping excessive weight under complete control beyond the first year. So what does this mean for the rest of us? What is the solution? How do we start and win the “War on Obesity?”

According to the obesity-research community, approximately 70% of the variance in our tendency to gain weight is determined by inheritance. But it is abundantly clear that our genes are not the sole factor leading to our epidemic. This catastrophic rise has occurred since the 1980s and genes cannot change that quickly. At IRIS Wellness Labs, we have determined that obesity is a symptom of how people interact with their environment. In order to fight the war on obesity, we must address the disease directly and uncover its root causes. Then find solutions to resolve those root causes and implement the solutions.

The long-term “high failure” rate in obesity reduction programs, including dieting, exercise, and psychotherapy, suggests that it is the combination of human genetics and hormonal imbalance, stress, insufficient exercise and poor nutrition, sleep disorders and food addiction, as well as physical, emotional or psychological disorders, that may be the most definitive cause of chronic obesity.

The scientific approach of treating obesity through systemic rebalancing, including microbiome adjustments, may have more enduring, substantive weight changes in obese patients. We don’t focus on short-term weight loss. Our aim is lifelong fitness and wellness.

It all comes down to Choices. People don’t have a choice when it comes to their genes, but they can choose how they will live their lives and modify their behavior accordingly. We are all unique; what works for one person may not work for another. Losing weight can be hard or easy depending upon your genetics, microbiome, life style, environment, and motivation. The type of food you eat can increase your risk of obesity, cancer and many other diseases or be nourishing for a healthier, longer life. You have the power to influence your level of health and wellness by uncovering the root causes, finding the unique solutions to resolve those causes and taking guided pro-active action.

IRIS Wellness Labs can uncover your root cause. You deserve a healthier, happier life.

Whether you are healthy or ill, IRIS Wellness Labs is here to help you. For more information, please e-mail simonchin@iriswellnesslabs.com.

Written by Grace Osborne, Vice President at Iris Wellness Labs, with contributions from medical and scientific professionals.