Food Nazis Get Fact-Checked

Apparently, the mortality rates from obesity that the media has been breathlessly lecturing us with were overestimated by at least 1500%:

But in a study released this week by the CDC
and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ("Excess Deaths
Associated with Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity"), the public health
community has finally owned up to their massive fib by acknowledging that the
number of deaths due to obesity in the US is closer to 26,000 not 400,000 as
previously reported.

The part of the earlier study that really got people's attention was the fact that even those slightly overweight but well short of obese had a significantly increased risk of death.  Now, the CDC channels Emily Littella in saying "never mind":

for the merely overweight with BMI's from 25-30 there is no excess mortality. In
fact, being overweight was "associated with a slight reduction in mortality
relative to the normal weight category." Being overweight not only does not lead
to premature death, something that dozens of other studies from around the world
have been saying for the last 30 years, but it also carries less risk from
premature death than being "normal" weight. In other words the overweight=early death "fact" proclaimed
by the public health community is simply not true.

In fact, the study argues, the risks from being underweight are greater than overweight, something that resonates with me having known two women who died due to complications from anorexia.

Other studies will have to replicate these findings, but this study does seem to have taken a more careful approach than previous approaches.  One thing you can be sure about, is that this will not stop lawsuits against fast food companies, since overwhelming medical evidence of the safety of breast implants has not stopped litigation in that arena.  Heck, the fact that most people who are suing asbestos companies admits they are not even sick has not stopped litigation in that arena.



  1. Doug:

    When "dozens of other studies from around the world have been saying for the last 30 years" one thing, and then one single study says something else, I have to be suspicious of that one study, even if I would like for its findings to be true. The article you link to doesn't discuss the methodology behind this study, so for all we know the CDC is pulling numbers out of a hat.

  2. Kory O:

    Doug, one thing this study took into account, apparently, was smoking. There are a bunch of people who refuse to quit smoking, or who even start it, because it will rev up their metabolism and keep them thinner. Most other studies "edited them out", but this one kept them in. Hence the different results.

    Now, back to my Cheetos! ;)

  3. Scott P:

    Whoo hoo! I guess that means I'm grilling porterhouses with poblano creme sauce for dinner tonight.