Actions Speak Louder Than Words

A few choice words are used often to describe obesity and the trends observed over the past few decades. 

It’s not uncommon for researchers and media to use militaristic terms like “battle” or “war” or “fight” or “crisis”, which are often accompanied by unflattering and stigmatizing images. This discourse is used to convey a sense of urgency, concern and importance. Certainly, it’s not unique to obesity; similar words are applied to a number of other health-related issues, including opioids, mental health, and cancer to name a few.

However, as pointed out by Signild Vallgarda (University of Copenhagen) in a recent review, there is a dramatic mismatch between the aggressive manner with which obesity is often described in academic and lay literature and the subsequent actions taken by leaders in health care, industry, and government.

There may be no easy or cheap solutions to the complexities of obesity, but the impact of voluntary, fragmented, and short-term approaches have been tested…and the results are underwhelming.



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