Common Myths About Obesity

The obesity epidemic has received constant media attention for the better part of the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage paints an inaccurate picture of obesity. I just published a Public Health Post article that examines the common myths surrounding the obesity epidemic; specifically, that BMI directly correlates to health, that obesity is the causal mechanism of illnesses, and that losing weight automatically improves your quality of life. The article argues, 

Misinformation leads to ill-advised public health approaches to treating obesity. At least three quarters of media reports emphasize “individual responsibility” even though most scientific papers argue that obesity is the culmination of many factors often outside one’s control. The will-power myth and others lead to common misunderstandings of the role of weight in health.

One such myth is that body mass index (BMI) indicates healthy or unhealthy weight. Though it incorporates height and weight, BMI is an inaccurate predictor of health. This is especially true for people of color, because BMI thresholds were based on Western European body types. BMI also does not account for weight distribution, nor can it differentiate between adipose tissue and muscle.

Read the full piece here! 

Research for this piece was supported by Arnold Ventures. 

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