Posted by Pattie on 4/27/2005 12:09:00 PM

CDC Needs a New Director

I go to Vegas for a break from cyberspace and meat space and all hell breaks lose.

Last week, JAMA published an article that basically says being thin may be lead to death sooner than being fat. Linking to JAMA is worthless unless you are a subscriber, but I have a .pdf version that I can pass along to anyone who e-mails me.

Here's their conclusion:

"Underweight and obesity, particularly higher levels of obesity, were associated with increased mortality relative to the normal weight category. The impact of obesity on mortality may have decreased over time, perhaps because of improvements in public health and medical care. These findings are consistent with the increases in life expectancy in the United States and the declining mortality rates from ischemic heart disease."

Show Me the Data has posted some help in interpreting the article, including some info from Glen Gaesser who is also this week's guest on Size Matters, Too.

Okay, there are a bunch of caveats in their study, but in a world that has considerably exaggerated the consequences of being fat, this is very big news and may mark a break in the ridiculous "War on Obesity."

The wild thing is the strange bedfellows this whole thing is creating:

The Center for Consumer Freedom reported that Dr. Tim Johnson of ABC (co-sponsor of last year's Obesity Summit), has called this study more solid than anything the CDC put out previously and stating that the government has lost credibility on the subject of weight. (Well, duh.)

Tucker Carlson basically hit the nail on the head when he stated that the obesity scare was more about classism and prejudice than science.

Blogs are afire with a big discussion at Alas, A Blog and an equally interesting discussion at Big Fat Blog.

Sandy Szwarc has, of course, written a great piece about the whole fiasco over at Tech Central.

Kell Brigan sent me an e-mail the other day that sums what an important response to this mess:
Thanks to Paul Campos and Vincent Carroll of the Rocky Mountain News for calling for the resignation of Julie Gerberding, Director of the Center for Disease Control. As Mr. Carroll put it:

"Two years ago the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Congress that we faced 'an epidemic of obesity" that was dispatching 300,000 Americans to the mortuary every year, "second only to tobacco-related deaths.'

"Last year the CDC's Julie Gerberding turned up the volume still further, claiming in a study she co-authored that 410,000 tubby Americans were waddling annually into an early grave.

"So why didn't Gerberding resign Tuesday as head of the world's most prestigious public health institution when her claims were exposed as grossly, fantastically exaggerated by scientists at her own agency and the National Cancer Institute?

"Why aren't there calls in Congress for her to quit?..

"Gerberding is yet another bureaucrat who uses a public pulpit to launch scare campaigns that serve simultaneously to elevate their own importance.
Missing the mark by a factor of 16 is not good enough for government work."

Fat acceptance advocates have an opportunity at this moment greater than ever before to get our message of health at any size and the acceptance of body diversity across, as well as to expose the suspect behavior of so-called public health experts.

We must call for the resignation of Julie Gerberding, as well as that of Dixie Snider, the CDC's Science Office and one of the primary pushers of the "obesity epidemic" lie.

As activist efforts go, this one is simple. All we need to do is write, call, e-mail and telegraph messages to our congressional representatives demanding the resignations of Gerberding and Snider.

Finally, we have something concrete and effective to work toward, and an affordable, accessible way to make it happen.

Let's get the word out, and prevent these dangerous, incompetent, co-opted "experts" from ever spreading dangerous misinformation again.

Find Your Representatives:


Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for the war on obesity. I doubt it with all the spin doctors aspinnin' but it won't hurt to act now.