Obesity: the elephant in the corner
BMJ 2005 ; 331: 1545-8.
PubMed ID : 16373747
PMCID : PMC1322263
In 2055, everybody knew that obesity was a problem, but what did they do about it?
The year is 2055. Socrates is discussing the history of the western obesity epidemic with Panacea, the goddess of healing.
Socrates: Do you recall the days when people were still allowed to smoke?
Panacea: Indeed, Socrates. It seems unthinkable now. Of course in those days smoking was the leading preventable cause of chronic disease. It is remarkable how times have changed.
Socrates: In the past 50 years, obesity has come to account for more health problems than any other single factor. I can't help thinking, Panacea, that something could have been done to prevent this. What on earth was going on at the beginning of the 21st century?
Panacea: Well, it was common knowledge that more and more people were becoming overweight. Obesity was well established as a risk factor for all kinds of diseases. There was even talk of epidemics and time bombs.1 2
Socrates: So why were people becoming obese?