Regarding Oregon’s forthcoming plan to fight teen-agers’ battle of the bulge (“The fight against fat,” Oct. 6), we must get the facts right. The oft-repeated but baseless claim that “obesity costs 300,000 lives” every year in America is a good place to start. The problem: The respected New England Journal of Medicine now says that evidence of such a high mortality rate “is by no means well established,” and that the claim was “limited, fragmented and often ambiguous” and “derived from weak or incomplete data.”
Think about it. Saying that obesity kills every obese person is like saying that 100 percent of our elderly die of gray hair. This flawed statistic on the overweight is being bandied about by some of our foremost public-health nannies. We need to deal in facts, not hype.