NewsMax writer and National Anxiety Center founder Alan Caruba writes that the “obesity epidemic” ranks as the single most dubious news story of 2002. We couldn’t agree more. The Center for Consumer Freedom has been the leader of a very small group of organizations willing to call the Emperor “naked” on this one.

Much of Americans’ statistical weight gain is due to an accounting trick that re-classified over 30 million people as “overweight” in 1998 (click here to see what the government thinks of you). And the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that at least 60 percent of our actual weight gain is related to a lack of exercise.

Adding fuel to the fire, Harvard docs Michael Glueck and Robert Cihak (Dr. Cihak is a former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons) argue that “overweight” shouldn’t be considered an epidemic, because “statistically — and despite all the other fashionable fears — we’re actually getting healthier and living longer, better lives.”

Cihak and Glueck blame two trends for our societal misunderstanding of obesity in general and dietary fat in particular. First, the war on fat “was a boon to activists seeking funding and power” [here the authors single out the Center for Science in the Public Interest], especially “environmentalists trying to destroy the beef industry.”

Second, “snobbery” — “The elitist conviction that Americans can’t be trusted to take care of themselves, and that the ‘Holier/Healthier Than Thou’ crowd must therefore lobby and legislate and sue and try to force people to live according to their standards.”