Professor Boyd Swinburn*
The latest New Zealand Health Survey results show a substantial up-tick in both childhood and adult obesity prevalence after plateauing for a decade. This is of great concern and it makes a new report from the Sapere Research Group on the Economic Impact of Excess Weight in Aotearoa all the more important. The report was commissioned by Hapai Te Hauora and it is a very welcome update on the two previous studies I was involved with using data from 1991 and 2006.
Dr Robyn Toomath
Editorial note: In this blog-perspective, obesity expert Dr Robyn Toomath outlines the dogmas and arguments for the ‘individual-responsibility’ explanation and (lack of) solution to the obesity epidemic. She then points to the market failures that render (non-regulated) free-market solutions as doomed to fail. The views in this blog are expanded in greater depth in a book Dr Toomath is launching in Auckland and Wellington this month, Fat Science (Auckland University Press).
Professor Tony Blakely
Compared to a ‘normal’ body weight (BMI 20-<25), being obese (BMI ≥ 30) is associated with a 69% higher coronary heart disease death rate and a 47% higher stroke death rate . The same excess rates for overweight (BMI 25-<30) are 26% and 13%, respectively. In this blog, we look at a recent combined analysis of 97 studies on how much of the overweight/obesity association with cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths is due to high blood pressure, cholesterol or glucose , and what this means for how health policy can address the obesity epidemic. We also reflect on a seminal paper on BMI and mortality by the late Gary Whitlock.