Press Release

New Report: Food Is the Wrong Target in the Obesity Debate

WASHINGTON – After years of nutrition zealots claiming that the food we eat is killing us, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) has released a new report demonstrating that lifestyle, not diet, is the main cause of obesity. The release of CCF’s report coincides with two recent studies appearing in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, both of which support CCF’s contention that sedentary lifestyles and not food are the real threat to health.

CCF’s report, “Small Choices, Big Bodies: How Countless Daily Decisions Contribute to America’s Burgeoning Waistline,” explains how lifestyle shifts over the past several decades have contributed to obesity in America. For example:

• TVs outnumber people in American households
• Kids play video and computer games rather than going outside to play
• Riding mowers and leaf blowers have replaced push mowers and rakes
• In airports, sidewalks move people instead of people moving on sidewalks
• Women have joined the workforce in record numbers (before dismissing the notion as sexist, see page 32)

All these changes, and many more, are contributing to an epidemic of inactivity.

“Health activists and food police single out ‘junk food’ as the culprit behind our ballooning behinds, but pay little more than lip service to the couch-potato habits that have become the norm in recent years,” says Trice Whitefield, a Research Analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom. “Blindly pushing a narrow, food-only approach, these activists lobby for highly restrictive yet ineffective public health policies including product bans, fast-food zoning restrictions, and so-called ‘Twinkie’ taxes.”

Continued Whitefield: “These misguided policy initiatives ignore not only the recent changes in American lifestyles, but also personal responsibility. Ultimately, it boils down to this: Every person has the choice to minimize body weight and increase activity, or to maximize comfort and convenience. Choosing wisely, we can have our cake and eat it too.”

To schedule an interview, contact Sarah Longwell at 202.463.7112. For further information or to download a copy of “Small Choices, Big Bodies” visit

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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