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Obesity Reimagined: 2018 JAMA Theme Issue On Obesity

This week, JAMA revisits obesity with a dedicated theme issue, which includes a range of articles on obesity prevention and management (including several on the impact of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages and five original long-term studies on bariatric surgery).

In an accompanying editorial, Edward Livingston notes that,

“The approach to the prevention and treatment of obesity needs to be reimagined. The relentless increase in the rate of obesity suggests that the strategies used to date for prevention are simply not working.”


“From a population perspective, the increase in obesity over the past 4 decades has coincided with reductions in home cooking, greater reliance on preparing meals from packaged foods, the rise of fast foods and eating in restaurants, and a reduction in physical activity. There are excess calories in almost everything people eat in the modern era. Because of this, selecting one particular food type, like SSBs, for targeted reductions is not likely to influence obesity at the population level. Rather, there is a need to consider the entire food supply and gradually encourage people to be more aware of how many calories they ingest from all sources and encourage them to select foods resulting in fewer calories eaten on a daily basis. Perhaps tax policy could be used to encourage these behaviors, with taxes based on the calorie content of foods. Revenue generated from these taxes could be used to subsidize healthy foods to make them more affordable.”

Over the next few days, I will be reviewing about the individual articles and viewpoints included in this special issue.

In the meantime, the entire issue is available here.

Edmonton, AB



1 Comment

  1. I am a 61 yo obese female. I have been obese all my life.
    In 1969, I wanted a pair of jeans (LONG before ‘designer’ girl jeans and Lycra — GWG, Lees and Levi’s were workin’ man’s and boys wear). So my mom (who probably had her own weight issues from the ‘50s expectations of beauty) took me to my family doctor (who delivered me). I was put on a low calorie diet and he told me to ‘quit drinking so much milk’. I was twelve!!!
    I have struggled my whole life with my weight, self esteem and body image issues. I’ve done gyms, weight watchers, TOPS, food exchanging, dietician consult only to do exactly what you advocate — lose, gain again. I’m currently waiting for another dietician referral cuz I asked for it.
    Over the years I’ve worked in an AB hospital dietary department, hospital lab, and currently work as a secretary for 11 AB family physicians— I have some smarts when it comes to chronic disease. But, I’ve only had ‘on the job’ training and reality experience in this field.
    I’m pretty sure that medical students are now being taught about this chronic disease so they can hit the ground running with their patients in their practices. Time to stop ‘practicing’ and get it right. Education is POWER, for them and their patients. The general public via the media also needs to have it constantly in their face — it’s the only way we learn.
    Thank you Canada Fitness Challenges in schools, recently Canada 150 activities, Participaction, etc.

    Worldwide we have truly been LOSING the ‘losing game’. Thank you Dr Sharma and your team for your passion in this field. Your task is as huge as the nature of the disease. ❤️

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