I believe genetics or nature make the largest contribution to obesity, but that nurture, or environment play a role, in the way that the rest of you suggested.
I agree with shrinkingchica that the conclusions are disheartening. But when you think about it, aren't the folks on here who have lost large amounts of weight and kept it off, in the minority? Kolata is not saying that no one is sucessful, she is saying that very few are sucessful. Do we hear an irresistable challenge here?
I think that the people who participate on this site over the period of a large weight loss and subsequent maintainence are very special folks. To me, they are similar to people who go to AA for alcoholism. Very few people who go to AA are permanently successful (as in dying sober). Some are, however, and they are the winners, as the loosers (no pun etc.) are the winners here. Now don't anyone get upset about my alcohol analogy. I happen to believe that alcoholism has a large genetic component and that alcoholism is not a sign of moral decrepitude! An alcoholic must be forever vigilant. So must a former "Fat Chick". Ultimately, some few of us can live with the vigilance in exchange for quality of life.
I think that Kolata believes that because obesity is genetic, that there will eventually be a medical cure. It will be like taking insulin for diabetes. And probably diet and exercise will be suggested as a way to avoid being dependent on anti-fat shots. So, there we are, right back where we started.
I also agree with hrbabe,
very big, money laundering industry, this WL business.
. Don't believe for one minute that all the folks in the diet industry aren't aware,at some level, that we are likely to be customers forever. This is a bit of a digression, but I am a great believer in the human support group, and it is free.