Filed Under: Food Police

CSPI And Money-In-Science Hypocrisy

Today, through its "Integrity in Science" project, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) will attempt to impugn the credibility of researchers who receive funding from corporations. But much of the research that CSPI uses to further its own political agenda on obesity comes from the same scientists profiled on CSPI’s database of industry-funded scientists. And astonishingly, one of the people cited in CSPI’s database, JoAnne Manson, sits on CSPI’s own Scientific Advisory Board.These self-described "food cops" employ all-too-common obesity myths to justify "fat taxes" and litigation. As it turns out, these myths rely on statistics derived from researchers CSPI itself disparages as "industry-funded":CSPI myth: "Obesity causes an estimated 300,000 premature deaths each year." This statistic comes from a study by Dr. D.B. Allison, whom CSPI’s "Integrity in Science" database attacks for more than 20 cases of industry funding — primarily from the makers of anti-obesity drugs.CSPI myth: "Almost two-thirds (65%) of American adults are seriously overweight or obese." CSPI relies so heavily on this figure that it even keeps a handy little chart on its website. Ironically, CSPI sought to remove the researcher most responsible for this dubious statistic, Xavier Pi-Sunyer, from the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. CSPI head Michael Jacobson wrote to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson: "I urge you to replace several of the committee members with the most extensive industry affiliations (such as Drs. Clydesdale, Go, Kris-Etherton, Nicklas, Pate, Pi-Sunyer, and Weaver)."CSPI myth: "Each year obesity costs families, businesses, and governments $117 billion." Graham Colditz is co-author of a 1998 study which is the sole source for this figure. Colditz, however, pops up on CSPI’s "Integrity in Science" database for research funding from Roche Laboratories, maker of the anti-obesity drug Xenical. Nevertheless, CSPI uses this unreliable statistic time and time again.As the Center for Consumer Freedom noted in a press release today,it takes serious gall to denounce industry-funded scientists, and then turn around and use their work to justify CSPI’s radical agenda of fat taxes and obesity lawsuits.

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