“There is clearly an [obesity] epidemic,” intoned Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Executive Director Michael Jacobson on last night’s NBC Nightly News and msnbc.com. But the top-rated network news show, which boasts more than 8 million viewers, was focused squarely on efforts by the Center for Consumer Freedom — including our funny TV ad featuring the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld — to fight the “scare tactics being used to take the fun out of eating.”

As we’ve explained before, the so-called “obesity epidemic” has been fueled by a handful of dubious studies — often conducted by researchers with substantial ties to the weight loss industry, which stands to gain from increased fears of putting on a few extra pounds. Many of those same industry-supported researchers also seek to re-classify obesity as a “disease” in an effort to convince insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay for weight-loss products. But, as a CCF spokesman told NBC Nightly News: “If obesity is a disease, it is the only one that I am familiar with that you can cure by taking long walks and keeping your mouth shut.

NBC Nightly News

Labeling obesity a “disease” removes personal responsibility from the equation, which is just what many food scolds want. Instead, we offered a heaping helping of common sense: “People know the difference between a banana and a banana split. And if you need a warning sign, everybody’s got a warning in their house. It’s called a mirror.” And when obesity researcher David Ludwig rhetorically asked how children were supposed to make decisions about what they eat, we reminded Americans that “Kids are not driving themselves to McDonalds. It’s not about kids and their choices. It’s about parents and their choices.”