Monday 13 January 2014

More obesity babble

The Daily Mail: It's worse than you feared

The headline above, and many others like it, are a result of the National Obesity Forum launching National Obesity Awareness Week. They provide no data and no evidence to back up their claim that things are worse than expected. Indeed, the ridiculous projections could hardly be any worse, with the Foresight report predicting that half of British adults would be obese by 2050 and a Lancet report claiming that half of British adults would be obese by 2030. Both of these forecasts are based on absurd methodologies that would, if taken to their logical conclusion, predict that 120 per cent of British adults will be obese by 2150.

The fact of the matter is that the models these predictions are based on (why does it always come back to models?) have already started to fall apart in the few years since they were created as the obesity 'epidemic' conspicuously fails to get worse. As I told Spectator blogs earlier today:

‘We are not seeing an “exponential” rise in obesity, as the National Obesity Forum claims. On the contrary, obesity rose sharply in the 1980s and 1990s but has risen at a much slower pace since 2001 and childhood obesity is in decline. Obesity predictions are based on the bone-headed assumption that the late twentieth century rise will continue at the same rate indefinitely. Even if this were not a ridiculous methodology, any honest attempt to predict obesity rates would accept that the slower recent trend indicates that the likely scenario is better, not worse, than previously thought.’

The UK Health Forum has put out a press release saying something similar, albeit in more guarded terms. I recommend reading Rob Lyons' evidence-based demolition of this scare story at Spiked if you want to hear the truth. Don't trust the newspapers and certainly don't trust the National Obesity Forum.

(Read this old post for a brief history of appalling obesity predictions.)


PJH said...

You've duplicated the Health Forum link for the Spiked article - the latter is here

Unknown said...

I had to restart my tablet because the Spiked!-link goint to UKHF made it crash. In the meantime, I wanted to post the same comment as above about the link being wrong. As I did boot my computer for this anyway, feel my wrath.

On another matter: German newspapers today report that Australia's "disgust-packs" do work based on the "Medical Journal of Australia" pulshinsing a study on 87% more calls to the "Quitline". I woder if the "Quitline" (there's something similar in Germany and probably most countries) do record prank calls...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Snowdon said...

I've corrected the link. Apologies, and special apologies to those who have computers that have a (justifiable) aversion to public health websites.

Regarding the latest attempt to defend plain packs, I don't have much to add to Dick Puddlecote's assessment:

Ivan D said...

Even the BBC have managed albeit through an obscure magazine article to expose the ridiculousness of the obesity predictions

So one does have to wonder why our beloved national broadcasting corporation ran the Obesity Forum propaganda piece uncritically. The answer one suspects lies in the people it employs to cover health. There is of course no bias whatsoever at the BBC.

FXR said...

Anyone swayed by the fat pandemic needs to watch the fat head movie on U-tube. Dr Michael Siegal recently confirmed a statement made in the movie, that the anti-fat people lobby, went to war with the anti-smoker "movement" and lost, due to deeper pockets and more solidly rooted vested interests, among the anti-smoker crowd.

Michael's response added "it was comical to watch" As the two sock puppet government lobby groups were openly fighting over tax paid funding.

Siegal's Blog

Fat head u-tube

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