Through its “Integrity in Science Project,” the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) questions 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 (available at cspinet.org/integrity). Astonishingly, one of the challenged people cited in this database, JoAnne Manson, sits on CSPI’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“By holding this conference on integrity in science, the self-described ‘food police’ at CSPI are taking hypocrisy to new heights,” said Center for Consumer Freedom executive director Richard Berman. “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.”

The following CSPI quotes rely on statistics derived from researchers CSPI itself disparages as “industry-funded.”

CSPI quote: “Obesity causes an estimated 300,000 premature deaths each year.”

This statistic comes from a study by Dr. D.B. Allison, who is attacked on CSPI’s “Integrity in Science” database for more than 20 cases of industry funding—primarily from the makers of anti-obesity drugs.

CSPI quote: “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 quote: “Each year obesity costs families, businesses, and governments $117 billion.”

Graham Colditz is co-author of a 1998 study that is the single 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 statistic time and time again.

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