The recent announcement that excess weight was accountable for just 26,000 deaths each year stands in stark contrast to the bloated 400,000 deaths statistic produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year and has left many demanding answers as to why the agency made such grave errors in its calculations.
The 15-fold decrease in the number of deaths places obesity at number seven on America's preventable death rankings -- behind septicemia and nephritis. Despite the new findings, CDC director Julie Gerberding refuses to change course on the agency's earlier estimate bankrupt.
The Center for Consumer Freedom, a staunch critic of the 400,000 deaths figure for many months, points to a growing number of voices from the media calling on the CDC to come clean:
"I think it's quite clear that the data and methods used in the study reported today are much better than in the study from last year. So the real question is why was last year's study even published? There are cynics who suggest that there's a vested interest among the weight-
control industry and some public health officials to make the number of deaths from obesity as dramatic as possible. Unfortunately, I think these discrepancies undermine the government's credibility on this subject."
-- ABC News, Dr. Tim Johnson, April 21, 2005
"That estimate has exploded like a bombshell amid the health officials struggling to control the undeniable upsurge of obesity here and abroad. It leaves the CDC in particular, with a lot of explaining to do..."
"The CDC needs to say, loud and clear, whether it believes the estimates. The whole notion of what constitutes normal weight and overweight may have to be rethought."
-- New York Times Editorial, April 22, 2005