FutureLearn – Obesity: Causes and consequences

Although I’ve finished University for the summer I have just started a 4 week on-line course focusing on ‘Obesity: Causes and Consequences’.   I didn’t know what to expect but already I’m enthralled.

Look for this image on the FutureLearn website

Look for this image on the FutureLearn website








The course is free and is being run by the University of Reading. It is being hosted by FutureLearn and is very interactive with videos, links to journal articles, polls and case studies. Course participants are from a wide range of backgrounds and are encouraged to interact with each other and share their views by posting comments on-line.

The driver for this particular course is the global obesity epidemic and the concern that as the world gets fatter, many aspects of day to day life are being impacted. I found out about it via the Nutrition Society Website but you can go direct to FutureLearn and there are lots of other free courses on offer.

In the first session some really good journal articles have been recommended.  One explored negative stereotypes about obesity from a health professionals perspective and a British Medical Journal (2013) article highlighted some interesting data, including:

  • More than two thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese.
  • Prevalence of obesity in US adults is leveling out after 3 decades of big rises.
  • Although the rates have started to level the long term effects of obesity are a major cause for concern.
  • The study found that obesity rates were high (33%) in those who earned less than $25,000 (£16,000).
  • Obesity rates in adults who did not graduate from high school was found to be 35%.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the course and over the next 4 weeks will let you know how I’m getting on.




McCarthy, M. (2013) US obesity rates are leveling out, but long term effects raise concern. British Medical Journal.347:f5213

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