We all know Americans are fat and it’s killing us off young, right?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that obesity accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths.
According to the new calculation, obesity ranks No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation’s leading preventable causes of death.
This from an AP story. Seems fat isn’t quite the level of killer they’ve been claiming it is.
…like several recent smaller studies, it found that people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.
Biostatistician Mary Grace Kovar, a consultant for the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center in Washington, said “normal” may be set too low for today’s population.
(Emphasis in this and following quotes mine)
Hmmm… ya think?! Maybe they should stop telling us what “normal” is supposed to be. It’s not like we don’t already have Hollywood and the fashion industry to tell us normal=starving Somalian.
Using the new estimate, excess weight would drop behind car crashes and guns to seventh place – a ranking the CDC is unwilling to make official, underscoring the controversy inside the agency over how to calculate the health effects of obesity.
Last year, the CDC issued a study that attributed 400,000 deaths a year to mostly weight-related causes and said excess weight would soon overtake tobacco as the top U.S. killer. After scientists inside and outside the agency questioned the figure, the CDC admitted making a calculation error and lowered its estimate three months ago to 365,000.
The new study attributes 111,909 deaths to obesity, but then subtracts the benefits of being modestly overweight, and arrives at the 25,814 figure.
CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said because of the uncertainty in calculating the health effects of being overweight, the CDC is not going to use the new figure of 25,814 in its public awareness campaigns. And it is not going to scale back its fight against obesity.
Now, when an ostensibly objective public agency declines to publicize data it’s own scientists have discovered, it leaves only one question: what is their vested interest in the anti-fat campaign? So what do you think, folks? Is it just institutional inertia, officials unwilling to admit they were wrong and that their daily sacrifices to the gods of fitness might not be quite as virtous as they thought… or is there money involved?