The British Medical Journal has published a head-to-head debate about the "obesity epidemic" and whether or not it is being exaggerated.
The first article argues that the situation is being exaggerated and bases this assertion on the arbitrary classifications of obesity defined in the Body Mass Index system and the limited and equivocal nature of much of the data for obesity.
The second article argues that the situation is not being exaggerated and bases this assertion on increasing levels of obesity seen in the World Health Organisation's Global Database on Body Mass Index and the well established link between obesity and increased risk of many disease states including hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Action: Clinicians should continue to advise patients about adopting a healthy lifestyle to include smoking cessation, regular exercise and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. Only time will tell if obesity will become our greatest health priority.