The burgeoning obesity epidemic has led to another potential health crisis: over- or under- dosing of patients.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Dr Bruce Green's fears that current calculations of how much drugs to give patients, based on body weight, may leave some overweight and obese patients in danger of being under-dosed or over-dosed.

Some drugs are calculated per kilo of bodyweight - but for drugs which cause side-effects at relatively low doses, this could leave some people at risk.

Other drugs have a maximum limit regardless of the patient's weight - but this could mean heavy patients don't get enough of the drug.

The most striking thing about this report is the sheer number of patients to which it could apply. As the Sydney Morning Herald explained:

With almost half the population now overweight or obese, ''it's no longer a special population'', Dr Green said, but a major group for which drug dosing principles deserved proper scientific investigation.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that the obesity crisis is causing strain on health systems across the Western world. What should our governments be doing? And what can we do ourselves -- not just as individuals safeguarding our own health, but as members of families and communities?