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At this point it may be tempting to think that the occasional excesses that media coverage inevitably entails are one thing, but that the science of the ‘obesity epidemic’ is quite another. However, it is not difficult to find examples from the scientific literature in which the current situation is similarly described in cataclysmic terms. Seidell (2000), for example, claims that there may be one billion overweight and obese people in the world: that is, one billion people who are sufficiently fat to be classified as ‘diseased’ on account of their body weight alone. The situation is regularly described as an obesity ‘crisis’ (Beebe 2002; Deckelbaum and Williams 2001; Ebbeling et al. 2002; Klein 2004), requiring a ‘war on obesity’ (Friedman 2003; Klein 1999).