Filed Under: Big Fat Lies Food Police

Memo to HBO: A Cheeseburger Won’t Kill You — Or Your Children

When HBO trotted out its big documentary project on obesity featuring every food activist from Twinkie Tax godfather Kelly Brownell to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) dietary scold Margo Wootan, we weren’t surprised that the producers touted a 2005 claim made in the New England Journal of Medicine that the next generation will face lower life expectancies than their parents. The message? Just hand over a little bit of your freedom, “for the children.”

Of course, the claim that love handles are shortening our children’s life expectancies was debunked long ago. As our Senior Research Analyst told the Syracuse Post-Standard:

Even [the article’s] co-authors have downplayed it, with one calling it a mere ”plausible scenario.” Science magazine reported that another admitted that the ”life expectancy forecasts might be inaccurate.”

There’s also evidence that getting moving is more important to living longer, healthier life than just losing weight. One commentary found, “Obese men who were moderately/highly fit had less than half the risk of dying than the normal-weight men who were unfit.” Another study in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that leisure-time physical activity is associated with a lower risk of early death in middle-aged men, independent of body-mass index.

The claim that life expectancies will fall in the future despite probable advances in food technology, more effective medical treatments, and improved adoption of healthy habits should be cast aside for the bunk that it is. Brownell has written that “society does not have the luxury to await scientific certainty” before adopting obesity policy. That mentality seems to double for activists’ obesity talking points.

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