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Childhood ObesityEthical and Policy Issues$
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Kristin Voigt, Stuart G. Nicholls, and Garrath Williams

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964482

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964482.001.0001

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Empirical Uncertainty

Empirical Uncertainty

Some Difficulties in Placing Obesity Center Stage

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 Empirical Uncertainty
Source:
Childhood Obesity
Author(s):

Kristin Voigt

Stuart G. Nicholls

Garrath Williams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964482.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   childhood obesity, categorization, body mass index, population measures, interventions, evidence, uncertainty, standards

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