Some Difficulties in Placing Obesity Center Stage
There is broad agreement that rates of childhood obesity have significantly increased in developed countries, and that these developments pose problems for future population health. But behind this agreement are many uncertainties and disputes. This chapter considers some key uncertainties, such as the measurement of obesity, the implications for children who are categorized as overweight or obese, and possible interventions. The point is not to cast doubt on the significance of increased rates of childhood obesity. Instead, the chapter argues that these uncertainties make obesity a more diffuse “target” than it may first appear, so that we cannot assume that obesity should take center stage in our concerns. In other words, obesity needs to be considered alongside other factors to which it is related, including factors that also affect many children who are not overweight or obese, such as stigmatization, lack of physical activity, or metabolic syndrome.
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