“Obesity Is Not the New Tobacco” 

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Suchita Shah

Suchita Shah

Suchita is a family doctor, public health consultant and primary care tutor at Oxford University who has an MPH from Harvard and an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge University. She has a diverse range of interests, including global primary care, health systems, medical education, digital health, and the nexus between health, law, and policy. She has been a physician in the UK National Health Service for many years and also has extensive experience working abroad. She loves travel, literature, writing, and the arts, and contributes regular blogs to the British Medical Journal.

Obesity Is Not the New Tobacco | Kapil Khatter.

This interesting Huffington Post article by family physician Kapil Khatter highlights that the scourge of tobacco has by no means been obliterated.

However, it’s not just that the tobacco problem has not been resolved. Aside from grammatical inconsistencies in the comparison (it might be more linguistically palatable to compare unhealthy food with tobacco), I would offer an additional reason why obesity is not, and should not be, the new tobacco.  The author himself alludes to it.

Pitting obesity and tobacco against each other in a contest, for one eventually to be crowned the winner – or loser – is counter-productive in a longer-term approach to managing cardiovascular disease, for which both obesity and tobacco use are risk factors. By artificially opposing the two we are also in danger of reinforcing an error that is arguably the Achilles heel of public health: we create silos, underpinned by battles of agendas. As Dr. Khatter points out, there is much unfinished work to be done. Let’s not hinder it.

Read Dr Khatter’s article here: Obesity Is Not the New Tobacco | Kapil Khatter.