Intended for healthcare professionals


Prognosis in obesity

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1339
  1. M E J Lean, professor (
  1. Division of Developmental Medicine, Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER

We all need to move a little more, eat a little less

Obesity has a colossal impact on physical, mental, and social ill health in many parts of the world. Without effective action, expanding waists in ageing populations and the associated health problems will present enormous financial burdens for future generations. The prevalence of obesity is already above the critical threshold of 15% set by the World Health Organization for epidemics needing intervention.1 We cannot withdraw medical support for obese individuals, but we urgently need politically driven public health measures to curb this epidemic.

In this week's BMJ, Reilly et al, who have previously documented rising rates of childhood obesity, stimulating public and political concern, examine risk factors for obesity in a cohort of 7 year olds in Bristol, England (p 1357).2 The authors do not claim causality but did find potentially relevant independent associations, including environmental contributions to high birth weight, early adiposity or “rebound” as body mass index rises in early life catch-up growth between birth and 2 years, and high rates of weight gain in the first 12 months. They found no …

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