Is obesity actually non-communicable?

C. C. T. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Obesity, broadly speaking, is characterised by having a body-mass index above 30 kg.m2, and described as a non-communicable risk factor. Obesity levels in the UK (and worldwide) are consistently acknowledged as, and accepted to be an epidemic. Moreover, when defining an epidemic, its' severity and initial rate of increase depend upon the value of the Basic Reproduction Number (R 0), and given the consistent rise in weight status over recent decades, obesity could be considered to be highly communicable. The objective was therefore to question the non-communicability of obesity.

A review of literature was conducted using online databases; Web of Science, PubMed and Google Scholar. A narrative short-communication was subsequently prepared on the topic of obesity and its potential communicability.

Both familial and social transmission of obesity is apparent, and network phenomena are evidently relevant to the physiological and behavioural tenets of obesity.

A reclassification of obesity to being socially-communicable should be considered and adopted by clinicians, scientists and key-stakeholders, further considering this communicability during treatment and intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-28
Number of pages2
JournalObesity Medicine
Issue numberDecember
Early online date20 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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