Data from the WHO show that overweight and obesity are global problems that are not confined to the developed world. Scientific controversy exists on the best ways to measure and treat obesity. Healthy lifestyles should, however, for moral reasons be facilitated, not enforced. There are generally four moral reasons to combat and prevent obesity: in the name of health, in the name of character, in the name of appearance, and in the name of interests of others (fairness). None of these arguments are strong enough to justify an individual obligation to lose weight. Children, however, deserve special protection, and society has an obligation to create less obesogenic circumstances for them.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Beaufort, I.D, & van de Vathorst, S. (2012). Obesity. In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (pp. 265–273). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-373932-2.00117-4