Overweight in America

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The November 30, 2006 broadcast of the CBS Evening News featured ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan in a piece on the purportedly addictive power of food:

KATIE COURIC, anchor (Amman, Jordan): We've been reporting this week on America's weight problem, but the truth is it's not just America. It's everywhere. According to the World Health Organization, more than one and a half billion adults worldwide are overweight. Why do so many of us overeat? Trish Regan reports tonight, there just may be a scientific reason, in our series, "Overweight in America: The Science, the Solutions.

TRISH REGAN [reporting]: Ever wonder why we seem to crave most the food that's worst for us? Could it be that we literally can't resist it?...Law professor John Banzhaf hopes to use the addiction argument to go after fast-food companies. He's already been involved in some of the eight lawsuits that resulted in settlements or industry changes.

Mr. BANZHAF: If we can change the six major fast-food companies so they are providing clear and conspicuous disclosure on their menu of fats and calories, and they're providing appropriate health warning, we will have a very dramatic impact on the overall problem of obesity, and it will happen immediately.

REGAN: Not so fast, say critics...

ELIZABETH WHELAN (American Council on Science and Health): When you say a food is addictive, what you're really saying is that the obese person is a victim. And, you know, that's, I think, abandoning individual responsibility.