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There is a remarkable preoccupation with obesity in the lay media where this problem is seen as being responsible for most, if not all, of the medical problems of modern day society. One only has to open any tabloid newspaper or glossy magazine and it is clear that the ability to calculate a body mass index and buy yet another modern day guru’s diet book is the only answer to such problems. Yet again, we seem to have overlooked recent history.
If you can cast your minds back 20 years ago, the Finns showed that with an education programme concentrating on reducing hypertension, smoking, and dietary saturated fat, the cardiovascular mortality could be significantly reduced.1,2 The North Karelia project was a major step forward in modern public health. Unlike the Framingham study and other long term epidemiological monitoring studies, the Finns went further in demonstrating the role of public and community education in reducing the burden of medical illness.
Even though we pursue the dream …