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An Epidemic of Obesity Myths
Research Driven by Politics

Following the controversy over the CDC’s 400,000-deaths study, the agency convened a panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine to discuss measuring the burden of "lifestyle related factors" like obesity. The panel suggested that the CDC and other public health agencies pursue a research agenda that "offers the strong justification needed to persuade policymakers of the public health importance of reducing the impact of preventable lifestyle—risks." The panel’s other suggestions included:

  • "Motivate the public to demand policy intervention around preventable illness."
  • "Portray lifestyle-related risks as a public health concern rather than an individual problem."
  • "Highlight the social costs of under funding the public health surveillance systems that could answer questions about lifestyle-related risks and enable society to use trillions of health care dollars more effectively."