“Obesity Epidemic Continues Unabated,” read the headline in Forbes. “U.S. Obesity Remains at Alarming Levels,” screams USA Today. More than 150 media outlets reported on a recent study published in JAMA, and the typical headline went something like this: “Feds Find No Decline in Obesity Rates.” Which is another way of saying that there has been no increase in the rates of overweight and obesity. What explains the gap between reality and the sky-is-falling rhetoric?

The JAMA study, released last week, concluded: “Between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, there were no significant changes in the overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults or at risk for overweight and overweight among children.” The American Medical Association’s press release read very differently, however. It was titled: “Overweight Among Children, Obesity Among Adults Not Decreasing.” Now, perhaps we’re missing something, but has anyone ever suggested that obesity rates were decreasing?

Certainly not our benighted food cops, who use every opportunity to insist that obesity is only getting worse — at an alarming rate. The vice president and co-founder of the alarmist American Obesity Association even intones: “If we don’t try something new, in about 10 years everyone in the country will be overweight or obese.” And food scold
Marion Nestle
insists: “People are eating more and more and getting fatter and fatter…There’s no end in sight. That’s what the trend is.” Of course, as we reported earlier this month, Nestle derides statistics — insofar as they impede the march toward her favored policies of obesity lawsuits and marketing bans.