Last week the sugar police were on the beet beat. This week the ‘thinnist’ lobby is claiming that a 2007 report into obesity, which predicted that half the country would be obese by 2050, was ‘an underestimate’. The National Obesity Forum says that ‘it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the determinations of the 2007 Foresight Report, while shocking at the time, may now underestimate the scale of the problem.’
But Christopher Snowdon, the bon vivant from the Institute of Economic Affairs, says that the only thing being underestimated here is the evidence to the contrary. He told Mr Steerpike earlier this afternoon:
‘We are not seeing an “exponential” rise in obesity, as the National Obesity Forum claims. On the contrary, obesity rose sharply in the 1980s and 1990s but has risen at a much slower pace since 2001 and childhood obesity is in decline. Obesity predictions are based on the bone-headed assumption that the late twentieth century rise will continue at the same rate indefinitely. Even if this were not a ridiculous methodology, any honest attempt to predict obesity rates would accept that the slower recent trend indicates that the likely scenario is better, not worse, than previously thought.’
Or to put it another way:
This is now being reported as an *under*estimate. The gap between the red and blue lines is known as “bullshit”. pic.twitter.com/POCJGC28cT
— Christopher Snowdon (@cjsnowdon) January 12, 2014
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.