Thursday, April 21, 2005

"normal may be set too low for today's population"

Oops - the stats are wrong, but no matter. It's the agenda that counts. As predicted, now that the smokers are nearly bound and gagged, it's time to go after the fatties, menace to the public good that they are. We're all paying for everyone else's health care, so we do have a moral responsibility to look after ourselves don't we?

The federal government greatly overestimated deaths from obesity in the United States, according to new CDC estimates, which now ranks it as the No. 7 most-preventable cause of death, rather than No. 2.

As recently as January, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated obesity as being responsible for 365,000 deaths per year in the United States. But the new estimate, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), puts the annual death toll at only 25,814 -- the earlier estimate was about 14 times greater.

The CDC announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its effort to stem rising obesity rates, yesterday introduced an updated and more tailored version of the food guide pyramid to help Americans live healthier.

Trial lawyers have latched onto rising obesity rates to push for class-action lawsuits against the fast-food industry, saying the industry should share some of the blame for America's girth and calling fast food the new tobacco.

But George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf III, who has led the effort in supporting obesity-related litigation, said the new death statistic is irrelevant and would not affect obesity litigation.

"Any time a study comes from an organization, which is basically beholden to industry studying the case, one is suspicious," he said [. . .]

CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said the CDC doesn't plan to use the much-lower obesity mortality figure in its public-awareness campaign, nor does it plan to reduce its fight against obesity.

But this is the second time in nine months that the CDC has experienced trouble with its obesity death data. In July, it said obesity causes 400,000 deaths yearly, but scientists questioned the figure.

In January, the CDC admitted making calculation errors and lowered its death estimate to 365,000. Dr. Gerberding said yesterday the CDC will strive to improve its methods for calculating the health consequences of obesity.

Currently, obesity follows smoking as the second leading cause of preventable death. But the new estimate of less than 26,000, offered today, would rank it seventh behind such killers as vehicular crashes and gunshot wounds.
I'll sue MacDonalds because I spilled a hot beverage on my lap. I'll sue Benson and Hedges because I smoked for 30 years, feeling like shit the whole time, but claiming I didn't know I might get sick. Why not sue the government for failing to intervene sooner with oh so accurate public awareness announcements. Hmmm - I wonder if winning the government contract to produce the ads involved any brown envelopes left on chairs in restaurants.

Hat tip: Damian Penny.

Rationing is next folks:
“..It is not inconceivable that some form of food rationing and portion size control may be required in future if the dramatic rise in obesity continues. This could be done via supermarkets since most of the food we consume in the home is purchased at a relatively small number of food outlets. Obesity is virtually impossible to treat by conventional methods so efforts need to be directed towards prevention. To change social attitudes and challenge social norms, governments must implement radical policy changes which will enforce an environment in which food production, marketing and consumption are controlled…”

Dr Rachel Davey, a professor from Staffordshire University.
Coming soon to a communist country near you.