An expert has claimed that the severity of the obesity problem has been overblown and that there is little to suggest being fat is actually dangerous to health.
According to Dr Vincent Marks, emeritus professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Surrey, "the obesity epidemic has absolutely been exaggerated".
Professor Marks believes that the government's warning over rising obesity levels is alarmist and told the Associated Press that many overweight people "may not look svelte, but they may be perfectly healthy".
The recent Foresight report, which was published in October 2007, predicted that 60 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women could be clinically obese by 2050 - a finding that is disputed by Professor Marks.
However, the majority of experts disagree with his viewpoint.
According to Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, obesity is associated with a range of health problems, including type-2 diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer.