Kirkey: Three-Part Series on Obesity

Over the past three days, newspapers across Canada have been publishing a three-part series on obesity by CanWest’s Sharon Kirkey.

For this mini-series, Sharon spoke to many prominent and outspoken Canadian Obesity Network members including Valerie Taylor (McMaster), Eric Doucet (Ottawa), Nikolas Christou (McGill), Robert Ross (Queens), Yoni Freedhoff (Ottawa) and researchers from the US on a wide range of subjects relevant to this topic. She also interviewed a number of people who have struggled with obesity and its many physical and psychosocial consequences.

As expected, not all experts agree on every aspect of the debate and some statements are clearly more controversial than others. Nevertheless, I would certainly view the articles as a balanced and insightful view of the true causes of the obesity epidemic and the possible solutions (or rather the barriers to solutions).

For those who missed the series, here are the links:

Part 1: The exercise myth: Physical activity plays an important role in healthy living, but it’s not enough to make you lose weight.

Part 2: The trouble with food: A look at the science and psychology of overeating.

Part 3: Fighting an epidemic: A search for the solution.

While readers may criticize that many topics relevant to the obesity discussion were not mentioned (e.g. gut bacteria, genetic programing, sleep deprivation, etc.), remember, this was a three-part not a ten-part series on this topic. 

Noticeably, the same articles appeared under different headings in different papers, in some with more controversial titles than in others (I guess the local editors wanted to add their own spin to attract readers).

Although, I believe that the articles do discuss both sides of the debate on each of the topics,  I am sure that the critics will find their pet-topic under- or mis-represented.  Indeed, I am convinced that many readers, especially those with their usual grudge and bias against obese people as well as those who have all the (simple) answers, will probably be unhappy.

I can only commend the editors of these papers (and of course Sharon) for taking on this important topic and not shying away from controversy, which I know these articles will provoke.

The more open debate we have on this subject, the better.

Appreciate views from any of my readers, who have read these articles.

Edmonton, Alberta