Thursday, 19 February 2015

Does The Lancet stand by its obesity prediction?

The Lancet is blathering on about obesity again, with a special edition that combines the magazine's repulsive statism with tedious managerialism.

Let's not forget that it's only been four years since The Lancet received blanket media coverage with some back-of-a-fag-packet, evidence-free scientific, peer-reviewed predictions about how obesity would escalate. Based on data that went up to 2007, it predicted "a rise in obesity prevalence in men from 26% to 41–48% and in women from 26% to 35–43% [by 2030]."

The latest figures show that the male obesity rate is 26% and the female obesity rate is 23.8%. Awkward.

As you can see from these graphs, rates of obesity for both men and women are well below even the low end of what the Lancet predicted.

Awkward, but hardly unusual. In 2006, we were told that 33 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women would be obese by 2010. In 2007, we were told by the supposedly authoritative Foresight committee that that 36 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women would be obese by 2015. Needless to say, these forecasts were hopelessly wrong, as obesity forecasts always are. Maybe it's time to start ignoring the soothsayers of 'public health'?

1 comment:

Christopher Snowdon said...

Ah, but that can easily be fixed!
They did it once, they can do it again.
Just lower the BMI definition of the limit of "normal" and bam! You have instant obesity!