Experts dispute new report on lifespan reductions from obesity

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) says obesity scaremongers, in a bid to again frighten the public with an alarmist claim on obesity and mortality, are using statistics that lack empirical scientific evidence to back up their claims.

In a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), attempts are made to justify a widely reported, but unproven, assertion that children face a shorter life expectancy than their parents due to obesity and could lose five years of life expectancy.

The study by Dr. William Klish of Texas Children's Hospital done in 2002, is regarded by many as deeply flawed. Klish's dramatic claims and statements have since entered the lexicon of obesity hysteria but can be found in countless articles, editorials, and even Congressional testimony with no credible research to back them up. Klish himself, the originator of this pessimistic prognostication, admits his claim does not come from evidence-based research, but is based on intuition. Despite this Klish's report is still doing the rounds i.e.NEJM's current article.

Like Dr. Klish, Dr. S. Jay Olshansky and his team of co-authors admit that their dire prediction is based on their "collective judgment" rather than empirical, scientific evidence. His view on life expectancy has been highly disputed by several lifespan experts: Dr. James Vaupel, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, says the article is seriously flawed. Dr. Robert N. Anderson, lead author of the

CDC's National Vital Statistics Report on life expectancy told CCF he would be shocked if a generation down the road, life expectancy had not gone up pretty steadily. Dr. Richard Suzman, associate director of the Behavioral and Social Research Program at the National Institute on Aging says Olshansky's position is a minority perspective in demography.

Dan Mindus from the Center for Consumer Freedom says the claims are not supported by any data and are an attempt to further build up the 'obesity myth,' and says Olshansky disregards the findings of most mainstream scientists and all evidence to the contrary to falsely claim that life expectancy is going to decrease

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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