Diabetes and heart disease are related to obesity, and everyone knows what causes obesity – or at least we think we do. But until we measure it, what we think we know is inevitably hunch, assumption or, worst of all, prejudice. … We must be receptive to what sometimes seems counterintuitive if we are to get to the bottom of childhood obesity. …
There is a frustrating lack of evidence to justify the seemingly endless raft of new initiatives to tackle obesity. Health strategists seek evidence-based solutions, but there is at present only a limited evidence base in childhood, where the process mostly begins. The outcomes of adding fruit to the lunch-box or of prescribing two hours of PE a week, while intuitively good, are in reality unknown. Action is needed, but there seems little point throwing money blindly at the problem until the underlying mechanisms – social and biological – are understood.
Only then will it become clear when, where and towards whom scarce resources should be targeted. Understanding the problem has to be a key issue.
Be sure to check out the Trust’s “novel and sometimes counter-intuitive findings” such as obesity “leads to inactivity, rather than the other way round.”