President Joe Biden’s administration appointed Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, who claimed obesity was mostly genetic and not primarily driven by diet or exercise, to the Biden administration’s 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Stanford is one of 20 doctors appointed to the committee, which will examine the relationship between diet and health through a “health equity lens,” factoring in socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and culture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) website, and provide recommendations to the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She has claimed that doctors largely do not understand obesity and that many patients can’t simply lose weight through improved diet and exercise.
“The number one cause of obesity is genetics,” Stanford said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Jan. 1. “That means if you were born to parents that have obesity, you have a 50-85% likelihood of having the disease yourself even with optimal diet, exercise, sleep management, stress management.”
Stanford told the host, Lesley Stahl, to throw the concept of willpower “out the window,” arguing that some obese patients can eat healthy diets and exercise consistently but still fail to lose weight. She also said obesity was a disease of the brain.
“For many of us, we can go on a diet. Something like ‘The Biggest Loser,’ right? You go and you restrict people. You make them work out for 10 hours a day and then you feed them 500 calories. For most people, they will acutely lose weight. But 96% of those participants in ‘The Biggest Loser’ regained their weight because their brain worked well. It was supposed to bring them back to store what they needed or what the brain thinks it needs,” she said.
As part of her work on the committee, Stanford will provide recommendations to HHS and USDA that inform federal dietary programs and nutrition programs, as well as dietary education.
“The Dietary Guidelines serve as the foundation for national nutrition programs, standards, and education. In addition, they provide health professionals with guidance and resources to assist the public in choosing an overall healthy diet that works for them,” an HHS press release on the committee reads.
Stanford and the White House did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.