A Times editor sent Appel’s email to the CDC and to the Times reporter who wrote the initial article.
“We need to respond to this,” Ogden wrote in an email to another CDC staffer.
Appel tells TheDC that he has not received a response from the CDC but that the Journal of the American Medical Association is set to publish a formal letter he submitted. At that point, the study authors will offer a formal response, he said.
“It is really unfortunate that the CDC highlighted such a tenuous finding,” Appel told TheDC.
Other scientists were skeptical of the study, though the Times article focused mainly on supporters.
“Still unfortunate that anyone still thinks this is worth writing about,” wrote Lancashire around a week after the study was published. He was responding to a request from New York Times reporter Michael Moss.
Moss, who did not write the Times’ initial article on the study, said he was “still not getting the 43% drop in obesity.”
Emails from another official — Charles Rothwell, the director of the National Center for Health Statistics — indicate at least some internal skepticism of the study.
“Not that I want to throw cold water on this,” wrote Rothwell in response to an email touting the study’s front page coverage in the Times. “Overall, these results we show are not encouraging and some reporters got the message that there still lies a huge challenge ahead.”
“I agree,” wrote Ogden.
The CDC did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.