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Obesity is getting bigger in the United States
July 7th, 2011
05:59 PM ET

Obesity is getting bigger in the United States

Two-thirds of all adults and about a third of all children and teenagers in the United States are overweight or obese according to a report release Thursday by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

According to "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011," adult obesity increased in 16 states during the past year and rates soared to 30% or more in these 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Four years ago, only one state - Mississippi - had an adult obesity rate of more than 30%. No state showed a decrease  in it obesity rate in Thursday's report.

Nine of the 10 states with the highest adult obesity numbers are in the South. Mississippi, for the seventh year in a row, had the highest adult obesity rate at 34.4%. Colorado, at 19.8%, had the lowest, and in fact is the only state in the country with an adult obesity rate under 20%. Twenty years ago no rate was above 15%. The report found rates grew fastest in Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma and slowest in Colorado, Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

"There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years," said Jeff Levi, Executive director of TFAH.  "And we can't afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the medical costs associated with obesity are staggering– totaling about $147 billion in 2008.   More than 80% of people in this country with type-2 diabetes are overweight and new diagnoses doubled in 10 years, according to Thursday's report.  Overweight and obese people are at risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke. They may also be at greater risk of colon, kidney and esophageal cancer.

African Americans, Latinos, those with low incomes and less education had the highest overall rates, topping 30 to 40% in many states. The report found about 33% of adults who made less than $15,000 a year or did not graduate from high school were obese.

The researchers found that a lack of access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods in some neighborhoods and a dearth of safe community areas for families to walk and for children to play all factor into the obesity epidemic.

But there's more to it. "Portion sizes in restaurants are much larger than they have been, soft drinks at convenience stores are much larger than they have been," said Dr. James Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "When people have a larger size they will eat more. Snacking has gone up more and more. All of these things contribute."

"We've built inactivity into our lifestyles. We've designed communities around cars," said Levi. "Kids are watching TV and sitting around computers. We've found plenty of ways to entertain ourselves that don't include activity."

"The information in this report should spur us all - individuals and policymakers alike - to redouble our efforts to reverse this debilitating and costly epidemic," said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Changing policies is an important way to provide children and families with vital resources and opportunities to make healthier choices easier in their day-to day-lives."

Recommendations include making sure all food and drinks sold in schools meet the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, increasing access to quality and affordable foods, expanding the amount and intensity of physical activity in schools and in out-of-school programs, increasing physical activity by providing communities safe places to walk, bike and play, introducing pricing incentives to help people buy healthier foods and regulating how and where unhealthy foods are marketed to children.

Marks says what's particularly tragic is the increase in type 2 diabetes among younger adults and kids. "Since the 1970s, the rate of obesity has tripled or quadrupled in children," said Marks. "We've got an even larger problem coming in our children."


soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. T-BONE

    Kids are overweight because of their stupid parents. Please remember that kids are a direct product of their social environment. They emulate what they see at home. It's really not that difficult to figure out.

    July 8, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Alexis

    I don't believe in bullying people or being cruel and poking my nose in people's business, but part of this obeisty plague is due to the celebration of body size in our culture – We are encouraged to embrace our large body size regardless of it's detriment to our health. Gabby Sidibe, The fat girls from Glee, Mo-nique, the list of large body acceptance proponents goes on and on and with little thought to the diabetes & health issues that this trend is creating. I understand we all want to feel attractive, but fooling yourslef aint the way.

    July 8, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Olllleeee

    Healthy food is more expensive – lower prices! Improve public transportation, more friendly pedestrian sidewalks, crosswalks, educate people and wuallah!!

    July 8, 2011 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • linda

      Healthy food may be expensive, but I know for a fact that people getting food assistance get more money that I spend for food and I eat healthy. The article stated the biggest group of people obese were the poor. I also know for a fact they choose food badly and if they want to change this, then don't allow more that a % of food assistance to go to processed food. The article also stated they don't have access to fresh food – that's crap. All grocery stores carry it. I do understand that they may have trouble getting to these places though.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
    • Juli

      Healthy food is NOT more expensive. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and buying bulk items like rice and flour to make your own food is WAY cheaper than buying prepared and processed meals. IT just takes TIME and EFFORT that most people aren't willing to put in.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      You said it Linda. The EBT users are always looking to blame and are never accountable.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • jjj4567

      I am a skilled cook and good at making a dollar go long way. Prepared foods are cheaper.

      There is no way that I could make noodles as cheaply as I can buy thems. Here I can get a 12 pack of Raman for .88. I can get boxes of noodles with fake cheese sauce for 6/$1; or plain noodles at 3/$1 for 1 lb boxes. I don't have access to .34/lb flour, so I am pretty sure I can't make these noodles and save money.

      I have spent a lot of my life trying to make good choices in the grocery store on a very limited budget, and I teach adults nutrition, but I know longer can tell my students that eating healthy choices are cheaper. If they have 2 days to go till payday and only $2.00 do I urge them to buy a carrot, an onion, a box of noodles, and some beans, and accept their stomach will growl or 6 boxes of fake cheese noodles along with a carrot, an onion, and an apple.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Education.... Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia... I wonder what the correlation is with religious faith and education in those states, hmmm

      July 8, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      If the demand for fresh foods existed in these neighborhoods, the businesses would provide them. I'm sure they want their money, just the people want Burger King!

      July 8, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • James L.

      Truth be told, in a large number of cases, when people were quitting smoking is about the same time we had a surge in obesity. A known fact for a hundred years, you quit smoking you tend to get fat. Folks want to skip that part, so what else can we blame. Of course there are a lot of other causes and Obama wants to tax them. Not clear why Congress and other want to legalize smoking pot. Well, it would cut down the number of fat folks in town. Somebody please make up my mind. Truth does not exist.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      Last time I went to the market, apples were $0.99/lb and bananas were $0.69/lb. HEALTHY food isn't cheap; packaged, marketed 'organic' health food is expensive. Anyone that wants to eat healthy can do so on a shoestring budget. I do it every week.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      HEALTHY food is* cheap

      July 8, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • @Linda

      Check out the meaning of food deserts.

      From 1999 to 2004 I lived about 6 miles from a little place called Glendale, Oregon. Most of the town there was on foodstamps (though we were fortunate in not needing them.) The only place to buy food was a little mom and pop store, and the produce section was sad and pathetic. You were lucky if the food wasn't molded or wilted past recognition. The nearest grocery store outside of town was 3 mountain passes and over 30 miles away.

      So what did people eat? A whole lot of canned and boxed crap – because that was all that was available. There was one take and bake pizza shop that people could buy pizzas from with their foodstamps, and it was a good deal because all of their pizzas had vegetables on them and for about $7 you would get enough to feed your family for a few days. They got closed down for "fraud" because they were allowing people to buy pizzas on "loan" at the end of their food stamp period so they could at least eat for that last week.

      This is a town where you can't tell people to find another job, or a better one – there is no work for 30 miles, no buses, no carpooling, nothing. If you don't have a car, or worse if your car breaks down, you're screwed. I have friends that still live there, and the one major employer in town (a mill) recently closed – things that were already bleak for this town just got a whole lot worse. Most people living there can't afford to move. So what do you suggest they do?

      July 8, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • Alexander

      Linda I agree with a lot of what you said, but you are incorrect as to access to foods. In many poorer areas there are a higher amount of Food Deserts, aka a lack of grocery stores. For people with access to good transportation such "deserts" aren't a problem, but for those with a lower income and a lack of access to good, efficient transportation food deserts can severely limit access to fresh items thus leaving poorer individuals no choice but to buy processed food or fast food. Just something to consider, although the issue is clearly more complicated than that one factor.

      July 8, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Nigel

      I agree with your statement a 100%, I currently live in New York and I see it for my self. A prime example is Whole Food Markets, notice they are located in places like times sqaure Manhattan and other areas known to have a rich community but if someone was to go the south bronx Whole food Markets are nowhere to be found.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
  4. Mickey

    Genetics is not an argument for people who are obease. That is a cop out for those who are too lazy and self-involved to deal with an issue that they created. I understand that genetics may make you bigger naturally, but genetics does not determine what you put in your body. Obesity is not genetic.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Epigenetics may be a bigger factor.. ie it is not your ancestors several generations that gave you bad genes, but your fat mother/father who messed up you metabolism and structure of your genes even before you were born. If it was the sequence of your genes this would not be something "new" happen to our population.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Chris... you're so far off base that I don't even know where to BEGIN taking apart that statement.

      "Epigenetics may be a bigger factor.. ie it is not your ancestors several generations that gave you bad genes, but your fat mother/father who messed up you metabolism and structure of your genes even before you were born. If it was the sequence of your genes this would not be something "new" happen to our population."

      Messing up metabolism is one thing, BUT your genes were NOT restructured within one generation. I'm sorry, but with the rare exception of a point mutation that causes a rare and bizarre metabolic disease, which is NOT the case for 99.999% of the population, this isn't the mechanism of obesity. Parents' bad dietary habits and lack of exercise, which made them obese, did not cause a "change in the structure of their genes" which were passed on to the next generation. It DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY.

      And it's not the fat parents that directly mess up people's metabolisms, but the bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyles that they're passing on to their kids. It's behavioral. Now, part of this behavior is strongly influenced by society (income demographics, education, availability of fresh produce and healthy foods, convenience foods, availability of activities), but it's still behavioral... NOT genetic.

      In short... with the rare exception of a viable mutation, you have the same general genetics as your ancestors have had for generations. The only things that have changed are the types of food, the availability of food, and the sedentary lifestyle.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • evidencepls

      Leo, Chris is mostly correct. This is a whole new field this century, just like genetics was last century, thus the confusion. There is a whole new "genome" discovered in the past few years called the epigenome. This system is comprised of little biological RNA transcripts (siRNA) floating around in our cells that can initiate a response that modifies the actions or production of proteins AFTER their genetic code is transcribed in the nucleus. Single mutations in the genome do of course occur and can be passed on, but it is the epigenome that can be modified within a generation (environment) that can indeed be passed on. Recent evidence, however, suggests that this epigenome is also responsible for changes in biological processes that control metabolism. Therefore, it is very likely that the behaviors of fat parents can affect their offspring, given of course, that they were fat before giving birth. The silver lining may be that it is also then likely that the offspring with this altered epigenome can work hard, through lifestyle/eating habits, to modify their own over time and overcome some of the negative affects of their so-called bad epigenome. They could pass this "new" epigenome on.

      July 8, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
  5. David

    I am still surprised that my state, CO is the only state below 20% obesity. The eastern and northern suburbs of Denver skew that % higher, and are more in line with the national average. These suburbs include the poorer and least educated population, and are in contrast to the more active and better educated neighborhoods in Denver, particularly those nearer to the Mountain Parks and Open Space Parks that are accessible to Denver and the western and southern suburbs. I think that the lack of public lands, hot and humid weather, lack of education re: proper diet and exercise, plus all you can eat buffets for $7.50, as I witnessed on a recent trip to Missouri, make the choice of a better life style more difficult in the South and Midwest.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Leopold

    Most prices on food have doubled or even tripled in the last 10 years. Yesterday I saw a 2-liter bottle of coke for $0.69, which is the same as I remember it from 20 years ago. Whats wrong with this picture???

    July 8, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Our government should be subsidizing fruits and veggies, not corn.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • WOBH

      $0.69 for 2 ltr of Coke and how much is a quart of milk?

      July 8, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  7. Tina

    Always being on the bigger side all my life (but not obese in any way) I recently joined weight watchers and I have to agree with some of the posts that people need to make better choices. I wasn't bigger cause of some lame excuse I was big cause of my choices- of course I am not saying some people do not have medical issues. Being on WW has taught me how bad some foods really and are- and how good some are as well. You go to a restaurant and the portions are HUGE and it's all fattening. I think people have no idea how fattening their choices are. I tell my skinny boyfiend all the time how many points he's eating and of course he laughs at me. I see co-workers with terrible lunches or running out to get fast food every day and I shake my head because I think if they only knew...I have liost about 35 lbs and have never been happier and actually enjoy eating better!

    July 8, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. CAT

    End subsidies to corn & soy farmers. Until corn is no longer a filler and used in almost ALL processed foods, the poor, who buy these foods because they are relatively less expensive and provide more calories, will continue to gain weight, develop diabetes, and contribute to increased health insurance costs! Grow a garden, shop the perimeter of the grocery, visit local farmers markets, and stay away from foods that come in a box!

    July 8, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. So stupid...

    We know how to fix this, but people are too lazy and gluttonous to lose weight. I saw a family of diners at a buffet once swarming like vultures around the crab legs station, waiting for them to come out with more, and taking all of the crab legs before anyone else could get any. This family went back SIX times while I was at the restaurant. I was disgusted by how much they ate. Some of them were dribbling food down their shirts. Yes, they were all horribly obese.

    I don't care what these people look like. I care about the fact that people like that jack up the cost of health care for the rest of us. When 30% of the country is OBESE, that's a major economic problem. They become disabled more often. They end up with long-term conditions that were preventable.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Leopold

    Fat people think they're just like everyone else and cannot be discriminated against when it comes to such things as plane seats. Lets not forget that most fat people are that way because of (easy) choices they make themselves. Fat people are mostly lazy people who have little respect for themselves. Its not something they were born with which they have no control over. I was a fat kid, to which I might add that I was the only one in most of my classes in grade school, but when I became adult, I started watching what I eat more and started exercising. I changed it for myself and I know that most people can to, but it takes a lot of will power at first.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Leopold

    Lets not forget the hidden costs of obesity: Commercial jets consume more fuel to transport heavier people, cars consume more fuel when you load them more, etc...

    July 8, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MN

    EBT cards are a problem. Go to a grocery store in a low-income area and watch them make a mountain out of their cart. They have a "use it or lose it" policy. People with EBT cards should be limited as to what they can buy because we pay for that as tax payers and we will also pay for their health problems...

    July 8, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Rob

    Thirty years ago telling someone they were obese or fat in school and they needed to run another lap or two around the gym was accepted. Today kids can skip gym. And dont even think of telling them they have a weight problem. Unless you want to get sued. Our sick legal system protects the obese. Teach them early and they will figure it out themselves.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. R.S.

    Many of your comments are correct. But I eat less than 1000 calories a day. No sugar, no flour. And I exercise as much as my body allows me to. And sadly. I am still very overweight. Is depressing. Most of my diet is raw vegetables, non starchy kind, rest steamed squash and beans. So not all "fat" people are lazy gluttons and poor eaters. Though, I agree, some are. So it is no one answer fits all.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DTH

      1,000 calories is waay too few. Eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day but please eat more than 1000 calories because your body thinks it is starving and is shutting down metabolism.

      Google "paleo diet" and stop the madness of sugar/grains in modern diets.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • BobinCal

      If you are eating so little and not getting thin, you may have a metabolic problem. Talk to your GP or see an endocrinologist.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • susieq

      You are starving yourself and your body is responding by shutting down.

      July 8, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • M

      You need healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, lard and egg yolks. Eat fat to lose fat! But be sure to avoid all commercial vegetable oils.

      July 13, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    The government subsidizes corn, which is used to make most of the bad crap that people eat. Why not subsidize broccoli or spinach or carrots? Or, better yet, don't subsidize anything at all.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dylan

      Because for both political parties, Iowa is an early presidential primary state and you need to do well in Iowa to stand a chance to win your party's nomination. Come out against corn subsidies, you will lose Iowa and find yourself having to play catch up.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
  16. DTH

    There are essential fatty acids, there are essential ammino acids (protein), but there is no such thing as essential carbohydrate.

    Low fat diets are killing America. Eating fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day and eating animal fats and proteins works everytime.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. kim

    To all the skinny folks passing judgement: watch out, I've known lots of thin people who really ballooned up when middle age hit. They couldn't believe it was happening to them. You just might really find out what it's like to be overweight and to have so many mean and nasty people making uninformed, hurtful remarks. As they say: what goes around......

    Regarding the person on here who seems to be very anti-lean meat. People, especially people who are trying to lose weight, should not be eating fatty meats.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. erich2112x

    I don't know, I saw some pretty fat as$es out there in Europe, and Russia? Don't even remind me.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. whatthe

    Unhealthiest foods are subsidized through subsidies to corn farmers. 90% of foods in the supermarket contain something made from corn, including sugar. Subsidies should be reversed, so that fruits and veggies are cheap and unhealthy foods are expensive. It would be possible if the food lobby didn't have both parties in their pocket.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rice2

    "Nine of the 10 states with the highest adult obesity numbers are in the South." All fundamentalist bible-belt states. Figures.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rally2xs

    Stress makes me hungry. I think I'll be a lot thinner after i retire...

    July 8, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. krazygrrl9

    Each new years, I'd drop in to the drugstore and buy 3 boxes of Dexatrim and go on a 6 week diet. The great wise ones decided to neuter my Dexatrim into a product that did not help. Yes, I am overweight. But the great wise ones have stolen every tool I had that helped. Eff it!

    July 8, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dan Smith

    You don't have to eat fresh fruits to NOT be overweight. You can eat junkfood and lose weight... it's all about your caloric level. Ever heard of the law of thermodynamics? The "weight" comes from an excess of calories that are stored as energy. No energy in, from calories, no energy to store, no excess fat. Whoever is the complete moron that said THE LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS DOES NOT APPLY TO WEIGHT LOSS, the nices thing I can say to you is that you are a complete F***KING MORON! Notice, the "law" tell me how our bodies DEFY the LAW of thermodynamics? In fact, why don't you explain it to the medical community and get yourself a noble prize.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      True but not true. Calories In / Calories Out does matter. But remember that not all materials are treated the same by the body. Some kinds of foods are processed/used faster than others... other foods the body has to work at harder, spends more energy digesting, and therefore will cause you to gain less weight. (Whole Grains vs Refined Grains, etc.). Plus, some of the rules for Calorie labelling are based on how much energy can be produced if you set it on fire. This does not necessarily reflect how many calories the human body will digestively absorb from a given food, vs how much of it will be passed through as pee or poop.

      That said. Yes. If you want to lose weight. Move around. Eat less. Eat better. October 2009, I weighed 320 lbs. Today, I weigh 193 lbs. It creeps up on you bit by bit by bit and you do NOT see it happening as you gain the weight. The good news is the same compounded interest of gaining a teeny bit of weight every day for 15 years that made me that big, can be turned to good, and you can lose a modest amount of weight every day for 2 years and return to being a normal sized human.

      Granted, on the ideal weight charts, I'm still listed as Overweight. So I have work to do yet. But it's a far cry from the "Morbidly Obese" category I was once in.

      July 8, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
  24. Blah

    People don't eat fast food because it's cheap. They eat it for two reasons: 1) It's convenient, and 2) it tastes good. Price isn't an issue.

    At the supermarket down my street, apples are $0.99/lb and bananas are $0.69/lb. For the same coast as a tiny burger on a fast food dollar menu, you could buy an entire pound of healthy fruit.

    Studies have shown that fatty and salty food is chemically addictive, much in the same way nicotine is. That's why will power alone doesn't suffice. There needs to be regulation on the fast food industry: advertising, portion size, and nutritional content. Education is also part of the problem. People don't understand how much of what they need to be healthy.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Joe Tex

    People are feeding themselves with food that taste good rather than food that's good for their health. A triple bacon cheese burger over a grilled chicken sandwich. A double scoop of vanilla ice cream with whip cream & chocolate syrup topping over a pair of apples. A bag of cheese curls over a sticks of carrots or celery. We all do have a choice, and it's up the person to make a change. It doesn't matter where the person live, Mississippi, New York, Idaho, or Montana. We all need to stop blaming something, or someone. I pretty much heard all the excuses how they ended up w/ their current condition.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SW

      Statistics are not used as excuses. They merely inform us of trends that can help us to fix problems. No matter how many people comment on here, the stats are what they are, like it or not. It's absolutely true that the poor and uneducated are more vulnerable to being obese and that they happen to live more in certain areas of the country. That's not an excuse, it's a fact. Now that we know this, we can start to make policy changes that can make a difference. All of that discussion is on the macro or large group level. Yes, there is a personal level too. You and I have to make choices, but the problem is that people aren't making wise choices, so preaching isn't going to help. Now you have to go to the large group/policy level to help individuals make better choices, such as keeping physical education and sports programs in our schools, making policies on what you can buy with food stamps, etc.

      June 13, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  26. Carl P

    In some circles it seems that huge hips, girth and legs are considered a virtue. Where this happens obesity is generally not viewed as a cause for concern. Until this thinking changes our nation will not be able to gain control of this epidemic.

    July 8, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FFFAATTY

    Well, we know smoking is bad, we know overeating is bad. Do we really expect us humans to behave and do what is right? My past leads me to believe that we will not.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Dr. Vinny Boom Bah

    No one to blame here except the operator who operates the machine that opens the mouth and inserts the food.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. erich2112x

    At least American women don't die their hair every other day like Russian women and you don't have to beg them to shave their legs. I can deal with a little more meat on the bones, any day.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Cathy

    You know, as an obese person, I don't try to blame anything on genetics, or anything else. I admit that my condition is due to my own poor choices. I am human and am constantly trying to overcome my weaknesses, one of which is my food addiction. I find it disheartening, however, that people are so willing to critisize a fat person for being lazy and lacking self control when everyone has weaknesses-we just have to carry ours on the outside where the whole world can see. If everyone had to show their weaknesses on the outside where the whole world can see, many people would never leave their homes. Remember that when you look down at a person with a weight problem and who is trying to overcome it.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Loopman

    What I'm surmising from this article is that about a third of adults in the US making les than $15K a year are fat, poor and stupid. Normally, I would state the obvious, that the author needs to work on his people skills because stating these facts so blatantly will surely not win him any friends or infuence too many readers. But, I can see his point that obesity is, year-over-year, deteriorating the health of the entire population. Kids grow up today thinking that a meal isn't healthy unless it comes in a bag with french fries and a prize. I met a young woman, a mother of two, the other day as she and her kids were getting out of their car to enter their house. When the kids opened the back door to get out of the car, I couldn't help but notice that the entire floor of the backseat was crammed full of Mickey D bags and wrappers. I walked away scratching my head, afraid that if I said anything about it the mother would tell me it's none of my business. And she is right, it is none of my business what she feds her kids, but whose responsibility is to teach those kids what healthy food is? It's hers and she is evidently shirking that responsibility. Sounds somewhat like the Casey Anthony case. Who is going to stick up for the kids of parents that aren't doing right by them. Okay, I'll take my meds and calm down now and stop this rave. Good day to all.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Bobby

    We no longer walk the way we used to, we take our cars everywhere.. We burn gas instead of calories.. Our food is more processed with more sugar, fat , salt added.. We drink juices and sodas instead of pure water.. Our kids rather pay video games than sports. Our bodies are the result of this lifestyle.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jenny

    People with weight issues aren't simply uneducated or lazy as readers claim – they come from all walks of life. Sure obesity rates are HIGHER among the poor, but I can think of many politicians, entertainers, friends and relatives who struggle with weight. What makes the problem difficult to control is that there are MANY reasons obesity continues to rise: sedentary lifestyle, portion size, chemical additives, convenience and low cost of fast foods, advertising, subsidies for corn and sugar... the list goes on! Even our tendency to use plastic over cash is a contributing factor!

    And the solution to obesity is difficult because it's a lifestyle change: being more physically active, educated about nutrition, and making sacrifices with your time and money to put health first.

    The government could help with subsidies for fruits and veggies, higher standards for meals in our schools, nutrition as a mandatory high school class (and maybe personal finance!), regulation for processed foods, taxes on fast food, etc. but ultimately we have to take responsibility for our actions.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rachael

      You hit it head on with the connection to fast food and credit cards. I remember when McD's started accepting credit cards and said then that it would prove to be a big mistake...not for their wallets but everyone else's.

      July 8, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  34. Cathy W

    14 months ago, I was obese. Since then, I've lost just shy of 40 pounds in the last year, and am now only 2 pounds above what is considered a normal BMI. I did it by exercising, using a free calorie-counting app called LoseIt. I haven't cut out all processed foods from my diet, but do limit them. Anyway, I've been there, done all that, and I have to rant about a couple of things:

    1) It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Forcing myself to re-learn to listen to my body's cues, saying no to all the crap people bring to work, being patient, as the weight dropped off so very slowly. Learning to get up at 5:00am to exercise, because I know that I'll never have the drive to do it after work. All you people who say "it's EASY. Just quit pigging out and move a bit," I have to say you are full of yourself. It's not easy. It's hard. It's REALLY hard. And the fatter you are, the HARDER it is. Imagine hiking with 7 gallons of milk strapped all over your body, and tell me that going out for sports or running that way is EASY. When I started, that's how much extra weight my frame was carrying. Now I'm only carrying 3 gallons of milk, and it's so much easier to move around, it's a joke.

    2) "Calories in/Calories out, it's that simple." Well, it may be TRUE, but it's anything but simple. Explain how it's simple when you've been eating 1400 calories a day for a year, and gradually increasing your exercise days from 3 to 6 days per week, and you're losing 3/4 of a pound a week, then WHAM you stop losing. You exercise more, you eat less ... and you stay the same week after week (more than 9 weeks). So you increase your calories to 100 below MAINTENANCE, just to give it a try, and wham, you start losing weight at a faster rate. You need to eat enough to fuel yourself, and besides not losing, I was tired all the time. I wasn't eating enough to fuel my body properly, so it responded with a lower energy output. So yes, it may be true, but it's not simple, and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure things out. So to all you who claim it's simple, stop it. Have some empathy and stop spouting stupid old saws like that and try to be genuinely helpful.

    July 8, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      Congrats! I wish I could say I was that close to a normal BMI, but I still have some work yet.

      But as far as losing weight being HARD.... ya. I've gone from 320 lbs to 193 lbs, so I know exactly what you mean. Literally the most difficult thing I have ever done. Bar nothing. Especially surrounded by naysayers, or people at work who are used to you being big and honestly think they're being nice by offering you cookies or cake. (I had to tell one person "Look would you give shots of vodka to an alchoholic? Don't offer me cake...")

      I think the main problems are
      a) people don't realize it happening to them on the way up the scale.
      b) once they're up there, it's hard to believe you can undo it.

      But, once you do start to claim your life back and lose the weight, oh, my god, you feel So. Much. More. in control of yourself and your own life again. Once it really sinks in that you can change this, holy crap you grab onto that and don't let it go for anything.

      July 8, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
  35. MedNetFan

    Read this article about the role of Magnesium Deficiency in Diabetes: http://www.mgwater.com/diabetes.shtml
    A simple solution would be to supplement the drinking water with essential minerals. The demineralization of drinking water, commercial farming practices, overprocessing of food, stress of modern living, common drug side effects, have all lead to a dangerous reduction in the amount of magnesium in the typical American diet. It's not enough to tell people "eat your vegetables". People need to know exactly why how we grow and eat vegetables is so important. The nutrients in vegetables are found in perfect balance to one another. Over supplementation of things like calcium, over prescribing of magnesium wasting drugs like PPIs, excess stress which uses precious magnesium all contribute to this epidemic deficiency. It's not just diabetes that is the result, but heart disease, high blood pressure, depression (yes, magnesium is needed for serotonin production), osteoporosis (magnesium is as, if not more important in maintaining bone strength), the list goes on and on. It's a fact that communities & countries where drinking water contains minerals have lower incidence of common diseases. There is a reason why mineral springs are so rejuvenating. They contain elements that are absolutely essential for life and health.

    July 8, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Celma

    I think if they choose to be Obese, they should also should have to be responsible for the cost the add on our system. More Obesity–>more diseases–>more costs–> less americans working and people producing-> more debt. Being Obese does not happend in a week or two..it's a lifestyle you choose, it's lack of character to stop your self from binge of "comfort" foods and long TV naps. They should have to pay higher taxes or higher premiums just for their lack of responsability

    July 8, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Karen

    Key question: who funded this new study? I'd lay odds it was one of the weight loss companies - Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. They fund most of the obesity studies conducted in the U.S. And make millions off of people trying to lose weight. They key is to promote health among all people, regardless of size, rather than continuing to send a message that encourages a diet-and-regain cycle. That cycle only benefits the big weight loss corporations.
    As for affording healthful food, I don't know what needs to happen there. Linda's story of that small Oregon town was dead-on and one of the best posts up on this topic. That same scenario plays out all across the "most obese" states, which are mostly made up of those types of small towns. So it is economics and not lack of education because of religious zealotry, as one poster suggested, that keeps the Midwest/South so fat.

    July 8, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Demiricous

    Uhh its easy to get fat when you don't have a job and get food stamps...

    July 8, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Joe

    Finally – something America is good at – getting fat. YAY!!! We're the fattest, we're the fattest. Let's go to the buffet.

    July 8, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Rachael

    There is a lot of talk saying processed food is cheaper and healthy food is not affordable. Well, I admit I spend a little more on groceries each month because I opt for the healthier choices BUT it's not that much more. Some simple meals wouldn't even show a cost difference. I also wonder how much people are eating. You don't need to eat as much "healthy" food to stay satisfied. My husband and I are on a limited budget. So we eat out once less per month to pay for better groceries. Lastly, I've found in my many years of wellness counseling that people can afford more than they think by giving up $4 coffees and drive thru lunches. I figure you either spend the money now or pay for it later at the doctor's office. Many people just aren't willing to give an honest look at their priorities.

    July 8, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Barbara

    The problem has ALWAYS been that foods higher in fat content simply TASTE BETTER. Economics plays a small part in peoples choices. Simply put, FAT tastes good and it satisfies. When they can come up with an artichoke that people CRAVE and will also fill the belly, things will change.

    July 8, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SW

      I disagree. When we change to healthier diets, our tastebuds change too. I've been eating healthily ever since I found out that I have high cholesterol. Now I can't stand the taste of fatty food. I love the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy food.

      June 13, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  42. Jeff

    It's a myth that eating well costs more money. If you consider the healthcare costs associated with a bad diet you begin to see that a good diet is actually much less expensive. But don't start getting healthy, America. We have a Walgreens & CVS on every corner now, right next to McDonalds & KFC so keep on eating that crap!

    July 8, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Helena22

    You know, I can't believe that there are people still against modifying school lunches so that kids can have a healthier choice because their parents are obviously failing them.

    July 8, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. princessyaknow

    Yes our inactive lifestyles may cause the obesity epidemic, but I think our diets are just as much to blame. Healthier foods and smaller portions could help to lessen the gap created by inactive lifestyles.

    July 10, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.