Send to

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

The Obesity Paradox: A Misleading Term That Should Be Abandoned.

Author information

Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Department of Health Research and Policy and Department of Biomedical Data Science, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California, USA.
Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center