(2 of 2)
So what's all the fuss about? The latest CDC paper estimated that 112,000 extra deaths each year are associated with obesity. That's a pretty big number, but a year ago, a different group of researchers at the CDC, using older data, put the toll for poor diet and physical inactivity even higher, at 400,000 deaths. Earlier this year, they admitted that they had made a mistake in their calculations and that the correct number was closer to 365,000 deaths. "It's really an evolving science," says Dr. George Mensah, acting director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. "As we get better [at estimating mortality rates], the numbers will likely change again."
Fixating on the latest death counts from the CDC may get you a few chuckles and some edgy ads. But that doesn't change the facts that Americans are growing heavier and that obesity-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes are on the rise. Some of the more responsible leaders of the food industry are trying to do something about obesity in the U.S., and they will tell you--but only if you don't name names--that campaigns that try to dismiss the problem as hype are doing them more harm than good. --With reporting by Coco Masters/ New York