Activists debate whether obesity and related nutrition and inactivity risk factors have finally overtaken tobacco use as the leading cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in the United States today. Whatever the outcome of this politicized debate, obesity is clearly responsible for appalling damage to our population's health.

Less clear is whether policy makers and clinicians can implement effective interventions to address these public health harms, or whether these interventions pass reasonable benchmarks for feasibility and cost-effectiveness. With the ironic exception of bariatric surgical interventions, a striking proportion of antiobesity interventions prove disappointing or have yielded small population effects.

This issue's Point-Counterpoint offers two perspectives on this debate.

Our Point essay, by Malana Essington and Attila J. Hertelendy, takes a sharply critical view. They frankly conclude: “Failed legislation and a lack of scientific evidence are the basis for legislating weight loss and...

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