Is there a lot of graffiti and litter in your neighborhood? If so, you are more likely to be fat. Would people in these neighborhoods become slender and healthy if graffiti and litter were cleaned up? It may sound crazy, but some scientists are taking this idea seriously. And who is responsible for all this graffiti? It was the same in prehistoric times as it is now: teenage boys.
Graffiti, litter and other depressing examples of urban blight lead to low serotonin levels (serotonin is the happiness chemical our bodies make naturally). There's an evolutionary reason for this?low serotonin levels cause people to be discontent and can inspire them to strive to get out of their current living conditions. And the foods that increase our serotonin levels are all fattening foods, like wheat and chocolate. Another reason for the urban blight/obesity connection is that green areas, such as parks, encourage physical activity.
Some things never change: Bjorn Carey writes in LiveScience.com that there is what should be called graffiti mixed with more "magical" Paleolithic cave wall art, and that archeologists think these "tags" were made by male teenagers.
One of the reasons they think this is articulated by paleobiologist Dale Guthrie, who says, "The people in the art are predominantly women, and not a single one has any clothes on." There are also the familiar graphic illustrations of male genitalia.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
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