Obesity to be explored 'in unflinching detail' with televised post-mortem


The devastating impact obesity has on the the human body will be the subject of a new documentary in which a doctor performs a post-mortem on a 17-stone woman.

Obesity: The Post Mortem will examine what happens inside the human body when a person is overweight.

Pathologist Dr Mike Osborn, a consultant for the Royal College of Pathologists, and assistant pathology technician Carla Valentine will carry out the procedure on a female donor to show what excess fat does to vital organs.

Obese woman
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

It will be the first time in the UK a post-mortem has been carried out for this purpose.

The hour-long documentary for online channel BBC Three will show how the body was transported 5,000 miles from Long Beach California to the post-mortem table in London.

It will also also feature a cast of young people who reveal how biology, psychology and food have contributed to making them fat, and what it means to live with obesity.

The film, made by production company 7 Wonder, will also delve into the world of pathology, going behind the scenes of the first post-mortem aiming to uncover the internal effects of obesity on the body.

Dr Osborn said: "Obesity is very much there, it's seen, but I think it is very poorly understood. It seemed that making this film would be a way of exploring that and allowing a broader public to learn about the problems associated with obesity."

an overweight woman
(Lauren Hurley/PA)

Steve Condie, executive producer at 7 Wonder, said he hoped it would make people face the severity of the health crisis.

He said: "Sometimes you need a dramatic spectacle to grab people's attention.

"Obesity: The Post Mortem is a unique programme, an extraordinary visual experience packed with compelling insights into how obesity impacts deep inside in our bodies. We hope it will both fascinate and educate our audience."

Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three, added: "Obesity and body image are two issues we know resonate with young people but the debate is often framed by what's on the outside. Post Mortem dissects what's happening to our bodies on the inside in unflinching detail."