Sunday, December 13, 2009

Denying obesity

In the last issue of the European Journal of Public Health Arnaud Chiolero and Fred Paccaud ask if the obesity, epidemic is a booga booga, i.e. a 'religious ritual', a 'frightening, imaginary creature', a 'way to scare the living piss out of someone in a comedic fashion', or a 'noise that people use to scare each other’. In the same issue Professor Tim Lobstein of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, and Professor David Crawford and myself were asked to write short commentaries to the paper by Chiolero and Paccaud.
As Lobstein rightly argues that "with any social crisis, someone will want to challenge the accepted science and provoke a defence from the scientists". The similarities with the global warming sceptics are obvious.
With rising and very high prevalence rates worldwide, and overwhelming evidence that obesity is indeed a major public health crisis, there is no doubt that an obesity pandemic is among us in the sense that it is ‘occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptional high proportion of the population’ (Meriam Webster online Dictionary). Please access the paper by Chiolero and Paccaud as well as the two commentaries at the European Journal of Public Health website.