Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Schadenfreude

Even the Aussies are getting fat. According to a new report, 39 percent of a sample of over 11,000 people were overweight and over 20 percent were obese. While it is nice to hear such reports from a country that consistently beats British teams at rugby, cricket - even football (although this must surely go down as a one-off), a pinch of salt is required.

The obsession with excess weight is a modern public health phenomenon, as much about moving the goalposts as real health concerns. There are clear links between being grossly overweight and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. But the link between being overweight and disease is much less clearcut - and remains unproven. Moreover, what exactly does it mean to be overweight? Who decided that a particular weight range is healthy?

Obesity hits home in Australia, BBC News, 5 May 2003

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