‘Couch baboons’

Wild African baboons at rest.Investigators from several groups, including Washington University in St. Louis, have found that when it comes to risk of obesity, the food you eat may be less important than the exercise you get. The researchers studied the eating and exercise patterns of two groups of wild baboons in East Africa. Like most primates, one group has to wander and forage for food. The other group lives near a tourist lodge in Kenya; they get lots of their food from the garbage dump. Typically, baboons spend the majority of their day walking from place to place finding food. But the so-called “couch baboons” spent most of their day waiting for food to arrive at the dump and then eating that food. Some of those baboons also became obese and resistant to insulin, just like humans who eat too much and exercise too little.