Second Helping

I set up a draft of this post a week ago, it's probably a little outdated by now. But I thought this news about how the CDC changed its calculation for obesity's lethality was still worth mentioning:
According to the new calculation, obesity ranks No. 7 instead of No. 2 among the nation's leading preventable causes of death.

The new analysis found that obesity - being extremely overweight - is indisputably lethal. But like several recent smaller studies, it found that people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

Biostatistician Mary Grace Kovar, a consultant for the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center in Washington, said "normal" may be set too low for today's population. Also, Americans classified as overweight are eating better, exercising more and managing their blood pressure better than they used to, she said.

We blogged a lot about this inflated figure, last year. Whatever the statistics say, I'm traveling a country now where the figures are not so inflated, and the difference is noticable.

And I'm particularly surprised by the data on protective effects of mild obesity. I really ought to look at the JAMA article and figure out how they're calculating this. Are they just weighing the recently deceased? Because a lot of time, you know, people lose some weight in the months before they die. Or, they take on a lot of water weight, possibly moving them into morbidly-obese classification.

In any case, obesity is still epidemic in the US, and I think the public knows it's not healthy. It's not helpful when the CDC manufactures hysteria to try to further educate people. Because then, we risk these consequences:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group backed by the U.S. food and restaurant industries on Monday launched an advertising campaign aimed at dismissing as hype concerns about the large number of obese Americans.

The full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers were inspired by new government data questioning government assertions that obesity causes nearly as many deaths as smoking, according to the Center for Consumer Freedom, which paid for the ads.

The group, based in Washington, does not disclose names of its donors, though spokesman Mike Burita said casual dining restaurant chains "are predominant sources of funding for us."

A spokesman for Darden Restaurants Inc., the nation's largest casual dining company and owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, could not say whether Darden was among contributors to the group.

At the Olive Garden, they treat you like family. But, then again, so does La Casa Nostra.