Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

In The News

Rebroadcast of the ABC News Special originally aired on April 21, 2003 is tentatively scheduled for December 22, 2003. Check your local listings,

John Stossel ABC News Television Special on how Addiction Is a Choice with Jeff Schaler aired Monday, April 21, 2003, 8pm, EST

You can purchase the video of this show at Laissez Faire Books: $29.95 and if that link doesn't work try ordering directly through the ABCNEWS Store by clicking here. If that doesn't work try clicking here. If that still doesn't work, click here. The product code is S030421 01. The video is about 44 minutes long and is great for college and high school classes.

If you are having trouble getting a copy of this broadcast, write to me at

Read reviews of Addiction Is a Choice by clicking here.

Purchase Addiction Is a Choice at Laissez Faire Books by clicking here.

Click here for the transcript

Click here for a link to Stossel's commentary.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence gets upset

Read Jacob Sullum's comments on the NCADD here

Click here for Dr. Stephen L. Dewey's complaint to ABC News President David Westin

Click here for Dr. Dewey's letter to Schaler

-->Schaler replies to emails via the Stossel website are now posted. Click to read.

Below is an excerpt from ABC News 20/20 with Barbara Walters, broadcast Friday, April 18, 2003, 10:00 PM, EST:

"Addicted to Food

Celebrities tell us that overeating is an addiction. Oprah Winfrey has said, "It's like a crack addict going to crack."

Today Show weatherman Al Roker has the willpower to get up at 4:30 in the morning and freeze in the cold, but to lose weight he had to get his stomach stapled so it's the size of an egg, because, he says, he's addicted to food. "People will look at this and say, 'Oh, what a crock, but it's true," Roker says.

Jeffrey Schaler, author of Addiction Is a Choice, disagrees: "These people are playing or pretending to be helpless. If they want real help, they need to confront the fact that they're lying when they say they can't do something that they can do."

Schaler says we're stronger than we think, and that overeating, smoking and other so-called addictions are all things we can choose to control. Our genes are not in charge, he says, we are.

Schaler says people may process food differently because of their genes. But, he says, "The activity of eating is not controlled by a gene."

Winfrey has demonstrated that she recently lost 33 pounds.

"It's a myth that we have no control over our body weight," says JoAnn Manson, an obesity expert and chief of preventive medicine at Boston's Brigham & Women's Hospital. She says genes do partly determine body shape, but not mostly. "Maybe a third is genetic and the remainder is lifestyle-based," Manson says.

-- from ABC News 20/20 with Barbara Walters, Friday, April 18, 2003, text at

Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.