'Real changes needed' to fight obesity

23 January 2013

A medical expert has called for there to be a radical new approach to fighting obesity, which he has described as the "most difficult and elusive public health problem the United States has ever encountered".

Daniel Callahan, a senior research scholar and president emeritus of the Hastings Center, claims that the battle against the bulge can learn a trick or two from various public health campaigns.

Take, for example, anti-smoking initiatives. The strategy is often to stigmatise people who smoke by saying not only is it bad for your health, society finds it an affront. This kind of approach should be used to tackle obesity, the expert claims.

"It will be necessary to make just about everyone strongly want to avoid being overweight and obese," Dr Callahan wrote in an article entitled Obesity: Changing and Elusive Epidemic.

He believes that social pressure can help obese people change their lifestyle and, in turn, help them live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Dr Callahan proposes, for example, a set of uncomfortable questions that overweight people can ask themselves, which assess whether such people are happy with the way they look and estimating their awareness of how people perceive them.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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