permissive and enabling


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Our environment is needlessly obesogenic. And at the same time, the pharmacological industry has developed a stunning array of drugs, some extremely effective, to treat the symptoms of these diseases. These drugs and other products save lives and reduce disability, but they can also be permissive and enabling. All in all, we have created an environment that makes people sick through a surfeit of energy and then keeps them alive without having to turn down the energy flow.
(The Story of the Human Body; Daniel Lieberman)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it means that these drugs can tolerate and allow 'a surfeit of energy'?

  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think what he means, Suprun, is that these drugs "allow and make it possible for people to carry on eating in the same old way":)

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Again, this writer seems to float free of normal grammar and logic. I don't know what he means, although the words permissive and enabling are generally used of people (i.e. they permit and enable people... to do what?). Ewie's suggestion may be the answer, but all this means is that Ewie is more clear-thinking than Daniel Lieberman.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with Keith: "Obesogenic", which is a word I have never before encountered even in reading medical journals, means tending to lead to obesity. In the next sentence, the author refers to "these diseases". Obesity is a condition, not a "disease", and even if it were, diseases is plural, so he isn't referring to obesity.

    What diseases? And precisely what are "these drugs" that treat those "diseases" effectively? (There are no drugs used to "treat" obesity.)

    The only substances I can think of that might be described as "permissive and enabling" are major pain relievers such as opioids, which can lead to drug dependence. But that's a completely different topic and has nothing to do with obesity.

    There's no telling what the fellow is talking about.
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