New York Times Examines Increased Focus on Obesity
The New York Times on Friday examined how "fighting fat remains a top public health priority" in the United States despite a CDC study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found overweight individuals have a lower risk for death than those of normal weight. According to CDC and medical researchers, despite the results of the study, obesity increases risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems and remains a public health priority.
CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner said, "We would really be remiss if we didn't continue to mount a full-court press" against obesity. However, some social critics maintain that the "idea of an epidemic ... is in the financial interest of weight-loss centers, supplement makers, drug companies and purveyors of diet books and diet programs," the Times reports.
In addition, the "alarm" can benefit many scientists -- who receive grants to conduct research to study obesity and often serve as consultants to pharmaceutical companies or administer weight-loss centers at universities -- and help government agencies obtain additional funds from Congress, according to the Times (Kolata, New York Times, 4/29).