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The Lancet on obesity « Previous | |Next »
September 11, 2011

The Lancet has just run a series on obesity that explores its drivers, its economic and health burden, the physiology behind weight control and maintenance, and what science tells us about the kind of actions that are needed to change our obesogenic environment and reverse the current tsunami of risk factors for chronic diseases in future generations.

MacD.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, poster, MacDonalds, 2011

The fact is, many Australians are fat and they are getting fatter.In the global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments paper, it is stated that:

The simultaneous increases in obesity in almost all countries seem to be driven mainly by changes in the global food system, which is producing more processed, affordable, and effectively marketed food than ever before. This passive overconsumption of energy leading to obesity is a predictable outcome of market economies predicated on consumption-based growth.The global food system drivers interact with local environmental factors to create a wide variation in obesity prevalence between populations... in high-income countries it affects both sexes and all ages, but is disproportionately greater in disadvantaged groups.

The primary cause is fast food and lack of exercise in an urban environment in which making healthy choices has become increasingly difficult.

The classical liberal view that individuals should make their own choices, free from state intrusion. According to this liberal account, the fact that your risk of being obese relates closely to your socio-economic status is not a question of social justice but a problem of the feckless poor being too ignorant or spineless to make good choices. Nudging us to healthier choices is OK, but regulating is not.

This view ignores the way that solutions to obesity and to improve health and development cannot be based on the existing framework (consumption-driven growth creating financially-defined prosperity) because this approach has helped to create the difficulties in the first place. Within this framework the fast food industry has become effective in its exploitation of basic human biological drives, desires, and weaknesses.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:38 AM | | Comments (2)


I find it rather strange that the costs of smoking are now being realised and appropriate legislation being introduced to curb the prevalence. I do not see a major difference in the "fast food" area. Probably if the current anti smoking attitudes were around 40 years ago, I would not be in the predicament I am now. For my grandchildrens' sake I hope that somewhere, somewhen, we will end up with a government that will do what a government is for. Namely protect its citizens.

Yes smoking was romanticised once much the way drinking is now. At least now people have access to information better and are fully aware in most cases what is bad for them.