What the New Obesity Study Really Shows

I could only laugh when I opened up the New York Times and read about the new study on obesity and premature death.

First, for the last 25 years, we've been conditioned to believe that being overweight is per se unhealthy. But:

If scientists don't even have a (love?) handle on the health consequences of obesity, how can we trust them on many other, less well-studied claims? EPA's new air quality standards come to mind. These standards -- the most expensive environmental regulation ever issued (conservatively estimated to be in excess of $50 billion annually) -- are based on a single epidemiologic study of rather questionable merit.

Second, the New England Journal of Medicine editorial exposes ongoing fraud committed by the U.S. public health establishment. Consider this quote from the New England Journal of Medicine editorial:

...although some claim that every year 300,000 deaths in the United States are caused by obesity, that figure is by no means well established. Not only is it derived from weak or incomplete data, but it is also called into question by the methodologic difficulties of determining which of many factors contribute to premature death.
Now why aren't the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine similarly critical of the claim that smoking causes more than 400,000 premature deaths per year? Or that indoor radon causes up to 40,000 premature deaths annually? Or that outdoor air pollution causes 15,000 premature deaths annually? Why aren't these numbers subject to the same caveats? They are certainly as flaky.

Here's the answer. And it comes right from the horse's mouth.

The editorial reveals that:

A second reason for the medical campaign against obesity may have to do with a tendency to medicalize behavior we do not approve of.

And there you have it. Public health in the 1990's is not about health. It's about behavior. And if you don't behave according to the elitist standards of the public health establishment -- i.e. don't smoke, don't drink, don't eat too much, don't eat "junk" food, don't eat meat, don't eat fried foods, etc. -- they'll terrorize you with junk science.

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Copyright © 1998 Steven J. Milloy. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by WestLake Solutions, Inc.