The Conversation

Editor's note

When we gain a few kilos, the three things we usually blame are our genes, our microbiome (gut bugs) and our energy intake (kilojoules). So which of these makes the biggest difference? As Andrew Brown explains, our genes and gut bugs have a small impact on weight gain, but most of it comes down to the type and amount of foods we consume.

But just because you’re a “healthy weight”, doesn’t mean you can give up on healthy eating. Some people with poor diets may look healthy on the outside, but they’re at increased risk of heart disease and some cancers. As Dominic Tran writes, “body weight is not the best indicator of internal well-being. A much better indicator is your diet.”

Fron Jackson-Webb

Senior Health + Medicine Editor/Chief of Staff

Stop blaming your parents for your weight. from

Genes, joules or gut bugs: which one is most to blame when it comes to weight gain?

Andrew Brown, UNSW

Spoiler alert: kilojoules affect weight gain more than your genes or gut bugs.

Being thin doesn’t mean you can eat unhealthy foods and get away with it. from

Just because you’re thin, doesn’t mean you’re healthy

Dominic Tran, University of Sydney

You might be thin on the outside, but if you have a poor diet and are physically inactive, you can have the same health risks as someone who is obese.

From the archives: weight loss

I go to the gym every day. Why can’t I lose weight?

Tim Olds, University of South Australia

People are often disappointed when exercise doesn't translate into weight loss. Here are four reasons it might not be happening for you (yet).

Health Check: should you weigh yourself regularly?

Clare Collins, University of Newcastle; Rebecca Williams, University of Newcastle

For some people, self-weighing could be the key to losing or keeping weight off; while for others, it may do harm.

We asked five experts: is BMI a good way to tell if my weight is healthy?

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

All five experts said BMI is not ideal for determining the health of your weight.

Ten habits of people who lose weight and keep it off

Dr. Gina Cleo, Bond University

A new study has found breaking old and forming new habits is key in keeping weight off.

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

Whatever’s driving the popularity of SUVs like the Toyota Kluger, crash tests and accident data show people are mistaken if they think they increase safety on the road. Toyota/AAP

I’ve always wondered: are SUVs and 4WDs safer than other cars?

David Logan, Monash University; Stuart Newstead, Monash University

Perceptions about safety might be one of the reasons more and more people are buying SUVs. The evidence from crash data, though, is troubling – particularly for other road users.

Running around like a… Shutterstock.

Curious Kids: how can chickens run around after their heads have been chopped off?

Jan Hoole, Keele University

There was once a chicken called Miracle Mike who lived for 18 months without a head: it's all to do with nerves.

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