ABSTRACT

In 2001, the Surgeon General of the United States announced 300,000 excess deaths related to obesity, nearing tobacco as a primary cause of death. This was based on a study by David Allison and colleagues (1999) using data collected in 1991. With the aim of updating that data, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) commissioned a second study using data collected in 2000. That study claimed 400,000 excess deaths, although in this latter study, these deaths were attributed to poor diet and lack of exercise (Mokdad et al. 2004). A third study then refuted that figure revising its downward to 112,000 deaths. This third study was also carried out by CDC scientists who reanalysed the same evidence through a more fine-tuned method (Flegal et al. 2005).