A federal health agency has issued a rare correction on a widely reported government study that said obesity is about to overtake smoking as the Number One cause of death in the United States. The error was blamed on computer software.
The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstated the number of Americans thought to have died of obesity-related causes. The agency incorrectly reported in the March issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that obesity deaths climbed from 300-thousand in 1990 to 400,000 in 2000.
The correction, published in the journal's edition coming out today, says the increase in the 1990s was much more modest -- about 65,000 deaths.
Donna Stroup, acting director for the CDC's coordinating center for health promotion, attributed the mistake to a computer software error. Despite the correction, the agency said the study's main conclusions still stand. Stroup said the combination of diet, physical inactivity and tobacco are all leading causes of death, causing far more than a majority of total deaths in this country in the year 2000.
On the Net: CDC info: http://www.cdc.gov