Issue: A study by Policy Analysis Inc. concluded that overweight people cost their employers $12.7 billion in sick time and insurance coverage in 1994 alone.

Behind the Scenes: Following in the footsteps of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (whose funding of the anti-tobacco crusade made sense given their strong link to Johnson and Johnson, the maker of Nicotrol), drug giant Knoll Pharmaceutical paid for the study as part of an “awareness campaign” that included advertisements for its new diet drug, Meridia.

What’s Being Said: Emmy-award winning actress Camryn Manheim recently wrote in Time magazine, “Do you think the shrewd folks at Jenny Craig, Slim-Fast and Weight Watchers could make billions scaring the bejeezus out of you about pestilence? Make no mistake – fat phobia is a big moneymaker for those who have figured out how to promote and cash in on self-hatred.”