Obesity Task Force Grows Fat With Drug Company Cash

Ray Moynihan reports in the British Medical Journal that the drug companies Roche and Abbott Laboratories provide approximately two-thirds of the funding of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), which has over £1m in cash reserves. Roche makes the anti-obesity drug Xenical while Abbott Laboratories makes Reductil. Dr. William Dietz, a senior member of IOTF and "well respected authority on obesity" from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is also a member of a U.S.-based committee reviewing definitions of childhood overweight and obesity. Dietz, Moynihan writes, is "one of the driving forces" behind the redefinition of obesity "which some researchers believe may exaggerate the problem and unnecessarily label children as diseased." Dietz declined to comment to the journal.