Editorials

Fighting obesity

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7452.1327 (Published 03 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1327
  1. Anjali Jain, deputy physician editor
  1. BMJ Knowledge, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR

    Evidence of effectiveness will be needed to sustain policies

    Obesity is no longer just an American problem. The UK House of Commons Health Committee issued its report on obesity on 27 May 2004 predicting that obesity would soon overtake smoking as the leading health problem in the United Kingdom.1 Throughout Europe, obesity has increased 10-50% within the past decade and by as much as 75% in parts of the developing world.2 Worldwide over a billion adults and children are overweight,3 and some experts have predicted that the current generation of children are likely to have shorter life expectancies than their parents because of obesity.1

    Experts agree that the causes of the obesity epidemic are environmental, related to living in surroundings that allow easy access to food and little need for exercise. To date most approaches to obesity have focused on changing the behaviour of individuals—on diet and exercise—and cumulatively …

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