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Category: obesity epidemic

Can The Atlantic and David H. Freedman really be serious when they publish a story under the headline "How junk food can end obesity"?

Of course...

Can The Atlantic and David H. Freedman really be serious when they publish a story under the headline "How junk food can end obesity"?

Of course not. The headline is a friendly little deception to get our attention. The problem for us is to tease out the story they are actually telling, because they have signaled that they are not going to be straight with us.

Freedman, as you might recall, was the author of a piece in the January/February issue of the Columbia Journalism Review that bemoaned the state of medical reporting. "Personal-health journalists have fallen into a trap," producing stories that "grossly mislead the public, often in ways that can lead to poor health decisions with...

Can being a little bit overweight possibly be better for your health than maintaining "normal" weight?

Many doctors and obesity researchers would say no, but one persistent researcher has done a series of studies suggesting the opposite is true: A little extra weight might reduce the chance of...

Can being a little bit overweight possibly be better for your health than maintaining "normal" weight?

Many doctors and obesity researchers would say no, but one persistent researcher has done a series of studies suggesting the opposite is true: A little extra weight might reduce the chance of dying.

Virginia Hughes tackles this complicated issue in a piece in Nature, where she writes that the epidemiology is complex, and the cofounding factors are difficult to eliminate. And the message to the public coming out of all of this is perhaps most complicated of all.

The researcher challenging the orthodoxy is Katherine Flegal of the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC. Her latest study, published in January, found that "people deemed 'overweight' by international standards were 6% less likely to die than were those of...

The New York Times magazine does not have a good record lately with regard to medical stories. From its misguided profile of the man who falsely linked autism to vaccines, to its goofy claim that...

The New York Times magazine does not have a good record lately with regard to medical stories. From its misguided profile of the man who falsely linked autism to vaccines, to its goofy claim that jellyfish might hold the key to immortality, and a number of others, the Times magazine has appeared misinformed or naive. I went easy on a Times magazine story earlier this month about a boy with severe arthritis who appeared to improve on an alternative therapy, but Michelle M. Francl sharply criticized it in ...

The New York City Health Department is poised today to approve Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces. That has generated another round of reporting which, I hoped, might discuss the available evidence for whether such a ban would help reduce obesity.

Alan Mozes...

The New York City Health Department is poised today to approve Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces. That has generated another round of reporting which, I hoped, might discuss the available evidence for whether such a ban would help reduce obesity.

Alan Mozes at HealthDay takes time to ask the question, interviewing two researchers and reporting that the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Harvard obesity expert (Walter Willett), Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig, among others, support the ban. But he doesn't explain why they support it or think it would be effective. 

The AP's David B. Caruso explains that the ban would give...

New York City Michael Bloomberg is all over the news this morning in the wake of a...

New York City Michael Bloomberg is all over the news this morning in the wake of a press conference yesterday at which he proposed a ban on large soft drinks, sugary fruit drinks and sweetened coffee, in an effort to help curb obesity. The proposed ban would cover any sugary drink larger than 16 ounces. (For those of you who guzzle diet sodas by the quart, there's no reason for concern. Diet drinks are excluded, as are milkshakes and those sickeningly sweet blue alcoholic concoctions with little umbrellas.)

Bloomberg described the ban as an example of "doing something" about the nationwide obesity problem, not merely wringing hands.

The New York City Beverage Association raised the question that I'd like to consider here. Protesting the...

It's an interesting question. As a parent, I'm not particularly concerned, because my children have never had a Happy Meal or ever eaten at McDonald's. (Sigh. If only I were that kind of parent...)

On Tuesday, Santa Clara, California county supervisors approved a measure banning promotional toys...

It's an interesting question. As a parent, I'm not particularly concerned, because my children have never had a Happy Meal or ever eaten at McDonald's. (Sigh. If only I were that kind of parent...)

On Tuesday, Santa Clara, California county supervisors approved a measure banning promotional toys with high-calorie meals. Sharon Bernstein's story in the Los Angeles Times gives us a quote from one of the supervisors who supported it, and follows that with not just the routine rejoinder from the opposition, but a quote from Supervisor Donald Gage that raises an interesting question:

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