Travis Saunders points to an interesting paper that provides “an argument for reframing obesity as caloric overconsumption.” From the provisional PDF:
In order to make sense of the obesity policy cacophony, this paper argues that the problem of obesity should be reframed as caloric overconsumption. There are two broad rationales for this reframing. The first rationale deals with the problems accompanying the current frame obesity. In addition to having become politicized, obesity is an outcome and not a cause. As a frame, “obesity” does not identify any specific causes – and obesity certainly is not the cause of itself! Thus the frame obesity remains open to be interpreted and influenced by competing theories about what does cause obesity. This makes it difficult to identify or assess potential policies or interventions. The second rationale stems from the potential benefits of using the proposed frame, caloric overconsumption. The frame caloric overconsumption minimizes some of the framing competition by identifying a specific cause of obesity, energy input. Moreover, the frame caloric overconsumption will permit a more critical analysis of the various policies and interventions that can be used in obesity prevention.
As Travis says, it’s worth checking the paper. As I’ve discussed before, obesity is a wicked problem, and caloric overconsumption is just one factor (as the paper’s authors acknowledge). And also as Travis says, it’s not clear that any resulting policy implications would be any more likely. But I applaud the effort to move the conversation in the direction of actual cause rather than effect.