Press Release

Nation’s Media Criticizes CDC’s Exaggerated Obesity Statistics

Washington – The media’s criticism continues as major newspapers and columnists editorialize on the controversy over the last year’s widely publicized announcement by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting that obesity kills 400,000 Americans each year. New scientifically superior research released last week concludes that excess weight was accountable for 26,000 deaths—a stark contrast to the CDC’s bloated 400,000 figure. Despite the new, more accurate findings, CDC Director Julie Gerberding has yet to endorse the new estimate or issue an apology for the her agency’s embattled earlier estimate, even as it is now being written off by experts, the media, and the public.

The Center for Consumer Freedom has been a leading critic of the 400,000 deaths figure and now a growing number of voices from the media are also weighing in on the controversy.

“If there were a prize for yo-yo sciencing it would be in research on the ‘epidemic of obesity’…

Somewhere another batch of scientists is working on the next episode of ‘As the Research Turns.’ But the reaction gives you a hint of how the public has turned.’”
– Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist, April 28, 2005

“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 didn’t merely overhype a crisis, after all. She helped invent one. A net annual total of 26,000 premature deaths apparently occur among people the government classifies as overweight. She overshot by 375,000.”
– Vincent Carroll, Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor, April 21, 2005

“It’s true that Americans are fattening up. But federal researchers apparently have plumped up how many people die from it…”
“‘Counting deaths is not an exact science,’ a federal researcher told reporters.
Apparently it’s not even an approximate one.”
– Des Moines Register editorial, April 22, 2005

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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