Yankee Doodling

Smoking versus obesity: must we target only one?

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4631 (Published 24 August 2010)
Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4631

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}rti.org

    Funds for antiobesity campaigns increase while tobacco programmes languish

    In a landmark article published almost 20 years ago McGinnis and Foege showed that the actual leading causes of death in the United States were not cardiovascular disease and cancer, which had long headed the “leading causes” rankings calculated from death certificate analyses.1 Using attributable risk data cobbled together from a number of sources, they estimated that smoking, with 400 000 deaths a year, and disease related to diet and lack of physical activity, with 300 000 deaths, were in fact the leading killers of Americans, between them causing about a third of all deaths in 1990.

    The headlines then were all about how smoking was at the top of the list and that almost half of that year’s deaths were a result of this and other preventable, behaviour related causes. Many people were also surprised at the huge toll taken by poor diet and lack of physical activity, but it wasn’t a focus of discussion.

    The intervening decades have been a terrific success story for antitobacco efforts. As a …

    Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

    Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

    Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

    Article access

    Article access for 1 day

    Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

    The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

    * Prices do not include VAT

    THIS WEEK'S POLL