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Obesity epidemic "exaggerated"

Claims that the UK is gripped in an “obesity epidemic” are exaggerated, say experts in the British Medical Journal.

Authors Patrick Basham and John Luik say that claims of an obesity problem often exceed the scientific evidence and mistakenly suggest an unjustified degree of certainty.

They say that the categories of normal, overweight and obese are arbitrary and at odds with the association between body mass index and mortality.

It is argued that health professionals may have deliberatliy exaggerated the risks of overweight and obesity in the interests of public health.

But the experts warn that these exaggerations could have unwelcome implications for science policy and evidence-based medicine.

But they do not argue that obesity is a major global health problem.

With the continuing rise in obesity a public health disaster will only be overcome, they say, by investing in the development of more effective public health measures.

British Medical Journal