Obesity - are ads to blame?June 2003
An international problem
There is considerable concern in many countries about the growth of obesity. It affects people in both industrialised and developing countries, and
its rise seems inexorable. It affects all ages, but raises especial anxiety in
relation to children, since all the available evidence suggests that a fat child
is likely to become a fat (or fatter) adult.
The causes of obesity are complex, and
not entirely understood: changes in diet, and increases in total calorific
consumption, are clearly one major factor; a decline in physical activity is
another; and genetic influences seem important in some cases. But the
consequences are clearly identifiable, in a whole series of diseases in later
life, notably hypertension, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and heart disease.