“Don’t touch that doughnut. Hmm … or could you?” So begins a recent story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which provides all the evidence you would ever need to demonstrate the absurdity of our public discussion about obesity. Barring a food allergy, why would anyone question whether it’s OK to eat the occasional doughnut?
Thankfully, many editorial pages and columnists across the country have been responding with a healthy dollop of common sense to news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wildly overestimated obesity-attributable mortality. We told the New York Times last week, “The federal government had told us that your love handles were going to kill you.” But Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger notes the government’s obesity hysteria has now come face-to-face with reality:
The day the CDC released its killer-obesity study, George Bush’s HHS Secretary, Tommy Thompson, said: “We’re just too darn fat, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re going to do something about it.” He added elsewhere: “It’s a difficult fight but we all have to partake in it.” We all? Say bye-bye to those backyard picnics of burgers and dogs washed down with five Buds, Melvin; you’re in the anti-fat army now. Within months, HHS said it might let Medicare pay for “anti-obesity interventions,” suggesting obesity was now officially an illness, which in turn would pressure all insurers to pay for weight-loss “interventions.” … But until the CDC’s correction, “obesity” was about to become a well-financed public and private industry forced upon a bewildered population (“we all have to partake”) — by obesity researchers, politicians, drug companies, philanthropies, the insurance industry, ectomorphic health freaks and email spammers.
We made the same point to the Journal-Constitution, which reported, “The Center for Consumer Freedom notes that money also drives researchers who study obesity and those who write diet books or sell weight-loss devices.”
The Journal-Constitution also quoted us saying, “We want the CDC to come clean [about recent data] and admit they are wrong … The idea that 65 percent of us are overweight is just ridiculous.” Picking up on that notion, an editorial in today’s Investor’s Business Daily opined: “It seems there are lies, damn lies, and then there are Centers for Disease Control statistics.” The editorial continued:
According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, one night in 1998, 30 million Americans, including Will Smith, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant and George W. Bush, went to bed thinking they were perfectly healthy and awoke to find they were, in fact, overweight. As the CDC’s obesity hysteria collapses under the weight of new evidence, it is worth noting that politics, rather than science, may have been the factor tipping the scales. Epidemics require more funding to fight and, incredibly, CDC’s Gerberding says the agency doesn’t plan to use the much-lower obesity mortality estimate in its public-awareness campaign.