The Obesity Paradox: A Misleading Term That Should Be Abandoned

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Apr;26(4):629-630. doi: 10.1002/oby.22140.


The term "obesity paradox" is a figure of speech, not a scientific term. The term has no precise definition and has been used to describe numerous observations that have little in common other than the finding of an association of obesity with a favorable outcome. The terminology has led to misunderstandings among researchers and the public alike. It's time for authors and editors to abandon the use of this term. Simply labeling counterintuitive findings as the "obesity paradox" adds no value. Unexpected findings should not be viewed negatively; such findings can lead to new knowledge, better treatments, and scientific advances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Obesity*