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The Epidemic That Wasn't?

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Science  30 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5513, pp. 2540
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5513.2540

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For half a century, nutritionists have pointed to soaring death rates as the genesis of their research into dietary fat and heart disease, and as reason to advise Americans to eat less fat (see main text). To proponents of the antifat message, this heart disease epidemic has always been an indisputable reality. Yet, to the statisticians at the mortality branch of the National Center for Health Statistics, the source of all the relevant statistics, the epidemic was illusory. In their view, heart disease deaths have been steadily declining since the late 1940s.