Study: World is getting fatter, needs to stop
August 25th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Study: World is getting fatter, needs to stop

The problem of obesity is spreading around the world and poses serious health threats.  The finding is part of a new special report on obesity, and how to combat it in the medical journal the Lancet.   The editor, Dr. Richard Horton, calls obesity a pandemic, and said it is one of the “huge threats facing governments which are likely to derail all their best attempts to improve the health of their nations while at the same time controlling costs.”

Obesity Around the World
The first study says nearly 1.5 billion adults in the world are overweight, and half a billion more are obese.  Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) more than 30.  That’s equivalent to an adult who's 5 feet 6 inches weighing more than 185 pounds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s BMI calculator. 

“It is occurring in just about all countries, apart from the lowest income countries,” says Professor Boyd Swinburn, with the World Health Organizations Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention in Melbourne, Australia.  “There is quite a lot of evidence now coming out that this is being driven by changes in the food system,” he says. “The food supply: increasingly processed, available, affordable and highly promoted tasty food.”

The Lancet report says that the obesity rates for different countries vary dramatically due to environmental factors in those countries.  For example, they found “traditionally high levels of active transport," specifically bicycling, in the Netherlands contributed to a lower rate.  Only 1 in 10 women there were categorized as obese, while high levels of car use in the U.S. contributed to obesity.  In the United States one in three women are rated as obese.

The authors believe that the most effective way to stop obesity is governmental policies, including things like banning unhealthy food for children, shifting agricultural policies to promote health.

The report  also said trade "liberalization"  is  contributing to "global overconsumption."  The authors say that these kinds of governmental changes can be easier to sustain and more effective than other options to reduce obesity, though, as Swindon says, “There seems much more a willingness to spend money in drugs and surgery and health promotion programs, which work much more downstream, than there is to deal with the underlying cause right upstream.”

The Future of Obesity
Obesity is on the increase, and nations who fail to stop it could face consequences, according to the second study included in the Lancet’s series.

The report says that  following current trends, there could be 65 million more obese adults in the U.S.  and 11 million more obese adults in the United Kingdom by 2030.  Obesity can cause diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancer.

"If these trends continue, by 2030 50% (of) U.S. Men and 45% to 52% (of) U.S. women will be obese,” says Dr. Y Claire Wang of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, one of the authors of this study.

The report says that as obesity goes up, so will the amount of money spent treating people who suffer from it.  Wang adds, “In many cases being overweight at age 50 will not only double but actually triple or quadruple the incident rate for many diseases.”  In the next 20 years, the report concludes, obesity could result in   6–8.5 million cases of diabetes, 5.6–7.3 million cases of  cardiovascular diseases, and more than half a million new cancers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Wang anticipates that by 2030 the cost to treat people for these diseases in the U.S. will be about $66 billion a year, and 2 billion pounds a year in the U.K.

A Better Model for Weight Loss
Another part of the Lancet’s special report looks at how people can lose weight.

Many recommendations for weight loss suggest that people will slowly and continuously lose weight if they cut 500 calories a day from their diet.  Dr. Kevin Hall of the U.S. National Institutes of Health says it doesn’t really work that way.  He put it bluntly: “Let me be very clear.  This is wrong.  This does not happen.”  Hall says it would be true if your metabolism didn’t change, but we know it does.

In his report, the team created a computer program that could eventually be used by clinicians to model weight loss.  Team members say their program is a more accurate model and accounts for initial body composition and changes in metabolism as you diet.  The computer’s predicted weight loss is significantly less than other formulas suggested, but the authors believe it’s much more realistic.

Governmental Action
The final report in the series says governments must take the initiative in battling obesity.

“Governments certainly need to lead obesity prevention," says author Steven Gortmaker of the Harvard School of Public Health,  "but… so far few have shown any leadership whatsoever.  We’ve let the market do its work and it’s worked well to produce obesity.”

The report includes suggestions for ways governments can implement policies that  it says will reduce obesity and save money.  Proposals include a tax on unhealthy foods and beverages, school programs to promote good nutrition and physical activity, and cutting junk food advertising.  Gortmaker compares these proposals to measures against smoking, saying,“Tobacco taxes were really fundamentally important in altering intake of tobacco and now we see them everywhere.”

Next month a meeting at the United Nations will address noncommunicable diseases, including obesity.  The authors of these studies called for the world to take action.

soundoff (618 Responses)
  1. Relictus

    Eating healthy is ridiculously cheap and easy if you are educated.

    Are you eating 30 grams of fiber a day? Probably not. Many Americans get by on less than 15 grams a day. Eat a cup of pinto beans and you add 18 grams of fiber to your diet. A 25 pound bag of dry beans costs $15 – compare that to 25 pounds of ground beef or chicken, which would cost about $75. Pinto beans stored dry keep for months – guess how long chicken will stay good without refrigeration.

    And dairy is not good for you. The cheese and milk that you love so much may be causing your heartburn! Vanilla soy milk with added calcium has at least the same nutritional benefits – tastes better – and the cost is about the same. Except, soy milk will not cause you heartburn and does not contain lactose. A lot of people are lactose intolerant, and a fair number of the rest may be suffering heartburn needlessly. Get your Calcium and vitamin D minus the pain.

    Sweet potatoes and spinach – sweet potatoes cost about $1.24 a pound in my part of the country. They are delicious, cheap, and so very good for you! I eat half of one at many meals. Frozen spinach is about a buck a box – and as a dark green, leafy veggie, it's very healthy eating!

    My breakfast of champions – apple flavored oatmeal. A box is almost free, it is so cheap. High fiber, lots of nutrition, and filling. Stays good on the shelf indefinitely. Easy microwave meal, fast too.

    Hey, with all these good cheap fast healthy foods that I recommended, you may not have room in your tummy for garbage. Wouldn't that be a crying shame?

    I am working on my own eating habits after training to eat fast food for a lifetime.
    IT WILL CATCH UP TO YOU. Not "if" but "when". Guess how I found this out. Yeah.

    August 26, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valentijn

      Dairy isn't good for you? But it's a staple for the super-fit Dutch!

      August 26, 2011 at 03:35 | Report abuse |
    • JFT

      And what if you're in a situation where you can't eat all the carbs you mention? This is an ongoing problem that is causing most of the obesity in the world – people are becoming insulin resistant, and if they ate the way you suggest, they'd balloon even faster. Even with the fiber and low glycemic index of the foods you list, this would be a disastrous eating plan for me, and many others with insulin resistance. Oatmeal? Sweet potatoes? Beans aren't "pure protein" as so many people mistakenly think – they're loaded with carbs and they're not nearly as fiber rich as is believed. If you're living on 20 carbs a day so that you don't gain weight, beans are just not in the equation.

      There is NO one fix and I truly wish people would stop talking as if there is. There are things going on metabolically in the human race that are, at this point, unexplained.

      BTW, that stuff about dairy causing heartburn is bunk. Plenty of ethnicities eat high dairy, are very fit and don't suffer heartburn. Foods high in refined sugar cause heartburn, among many other factors.

      August 26, 2011 at 05:58 | Report abuse |
    • Mamudoon

      Relictus – While I agree with your post, I just wanted to point out that more and more people are becoming increasingly sensitive or allergic to soy (most likely because it's so genetically modified). Most people with soy allergies/sensitivities can tolerate small amounts of it, but soy is in just about everything nowadays, so it's very difficult to only consume a little bit of soy.

      While I've never had it, rice milk could also be a good alternative to people who have sensitivities to dairy or soy. It's very uncommon to be allergic to rice, so it's considered to be the safest milk alternative.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:04 | Report abuse |
    • mag

      @Valentijn - Dairy is bad for you! read a book or two and you will find out. "The China study" was my latest. We are all brain washed. Also.. we are the only 'animal' that drinks other animals milk on the planet. Leave cows milk for baby cows.. there are so many alternatives. I didn't get it until my son was diagnosed with an allergy to milk and i had to find alternatives -which there are so many! he outgrew his allergy and i will never go back to cows milk. it's nasty when you think about it.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:06 | Report abuse |
    • mag

      @Mamudoon - My son was allergic to soy also (as well as milk and eggs) and we used rice milk and almond milk.. Almond milk is absolutely delicious for smoothies! You're right -there are soooo many alternatives (there is now a flax seed milk) you just need to do your research or go to food allergy boards -they have the most info on alternatives b/c they have no choice but to find ones.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:09 | Report abuse |
    • James

      @ mag: pretty sure we're the only animal that turns soybeans into milk, too. "We're the only animal that drinks other animals' milk" is not an argument for or against dairy.

      That being said, yeah whole fat dairy products probably aren't the healthiest things you could be eating.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:13 | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      Saying that soy milk tastes better than cow milk sends a signal that you are ignorant, taste is relative, what tastes better to you may not taste better to someone else.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:33 | Report abuse |
    • Dick

      Yea, we tried soy milk – it sucks! Almond milk, on the other hand, is pretty good!

      August 26, 2011 at 06:37 | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Eating healthy is of course a good idea. Als is moderation. Trouble is most people do not know what moderation is and hey eat and eat and sit on the couch and complain that they have a slow \metabolism

      August 26, 2011 at 07:17 | Report abuse |
    • Sugartaste81

      I agree with most of what you posted, except that milk always helps my heartburn.

      August 26, 2011 at 07:48 | Report abuse |
    • Skegeeace

      The China study probably isn't the best to go by if you're not Asian- it's been shown that Asians and African-Americans are predominantly lactose intolerant- and of course there are exceptions.

      August 26, 2011 at 09:53 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Soy milk is disgusting! And I am vegetarian. I much more prefer almond milk though I add regular milk to my oatmeal daily to try to get some of the nutrients I miss out on my not eating meat. Oatmeal is the breakfast of champions, though I highly recommend skipping that instant stuff and buying the rolled oats/old-fashioned oats. They are cheap, more nutritious, and you can still stick it in the microwave (6 minutes at half power in a large uncovered bowl).

      August 26, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  2. Sandy

    The big lie is that calories are the same for everyone. The reality is far more complicated. Think of the teenagers who eat french fries and malts and stay thin, but gain weight as they age even though they eat much less. I used to eat lunch every day with a girl who weighed 90 lbs soaking wet, and she ate two packages of Ho Hos and chocolate milk every day for lunch. If these people exist, why is it so hard to believe that there are people who gain weight on very little food?

    As for me, I couldn't get past the image of someone who is so depressed she has psychosis having children so young she packs their lunch. We had a woman in town, a former pediatrician, who was severely depressed. She came home from supervising a field trip and tried to kill her two sons with a knife. One died; one survived. A friend of mine was also on this field trip and said this woman seemed totally normal. Getting fat to save her mind is a worthy trade off for the author, and the lives she saves might extend beyond her own.

    August 26, 2011 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamudoon

      Sandy, I definitely agree with you in that not everyone processes calories exactly the same. I'll use myself and my former best friend as examples. She ate nothing but fast food, soda, and fatty junk food, and was a perfect size zero. I never saw her exercise in the ten years we were best friends, either.

      Now I, on the other hand, have a lot of trouble with my weight. I have multiple digestive issues, so I'm very limited in what I can eat. I have to avoid things that are fatty and greasy, and it's forced me to adhere to a diet consisting of mostly fruit, non-leafy veggies (leafy veggies will also make me sick), yogurt, and cereals. And because I just generally don't feel well, I tend to just pick at whatever I eat.

      But because I don't eat very much, my body is constantly in "starvation mode," so it clings desperately to every calorie I consume and kills my metabolism. I'm also on multiple medications, and they can make me gain weight, as well. Anyone who's ever been on prednisone will know that that stuff blows you up like a balloon.

      I also have ankylosing spondylitis – a form of arthritis which causes your vertebrae to slowly fuse together and your spine to become extremely stiff. I have a lot of trouble doing regular everyday activities, let alone exercise consistently. I do love water aerobics and swimming, but they're not very good for weight loss – they're more for strength training.

      I'm not trying to make excuses or garner sympathy (and for what it's worth, I was diagnosed with all my health conditions when I was thin), but there are a lot more factors at play with weight than just "calories in, calories out." I do think that most overweight/obese people are that way because of their food and exercise choices, but there are always exceptions to the rule. There are no absolutes in medicine.

      August 26, 2011 at 05:55 | Report abuse |
    • amylynn


      A European filmmaker has been reversing weight problems in NON diabetics with a Diabetes diet.

      It has been giving people who have a hard time losing weight a normal body weight fast

      It is now used in 10 countries. ALL weight issues are caused by Food chemicals( PROCESSED FOODS) and he shows how to reverse it

      if you are Diabetic or not

      just google SPIRITHAPPY.COM

      August 26, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • willie

      I DEFINITELY AGREE TO MOST PEOPLE DONT HAVE A CLUE AND MAKE FUN AND CALL NAMES LIKE FAT SO BIG BUTT AND SO ON BECAUSE THEY DONT LOOK AT EVERYONE AND THING ABOUT THE PERSON ONLY WHAT THEY HEAR AND SEE ON THIS COMPITER AND WHAT THEY WHAT TO OR EVERYONE TO BE LIKE .I SAY GO TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!P.S BLOW AWAY LIVE IF YOU DONT LIKE

      August 26, 2011 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
  3. perilous

    So many people talking about personal responsibility, yet clearly do not practice it themselves by spouting such unbelievably ignorant and uneducated opinions as fact.

    Shut your mouth and mind your own business if you dont know what youre talking about, you judgmental, narrow-minded hypocrites.

    August 26, 2011 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JFT

      Thank you. The ignorance and hatred shown whenever obesity comes up as a topic is incredible. Some high metabolism dork who lives on cigarettes, soda and junk food, yet never gains an ounce, gets up and denounces all the fatties. Someone following some whacko fad diet for the second whole week in a row dresses everyone down about how easy it is. People who function fine on the carb laden European diet deride people who can't eat all those carbs and schmooze about how easy it is to just push away from the table. The human race is widely varied, and people got in trouble with obesity when the doctors and governmental agencies began touting one single diet as the be-all for EVERYONE.

      It's just not that simple.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:05 | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick

    Well put Relictus,
    I learned the hard way too. Now I have learned that the agricultural evolution has gone WAY past my own body evolving. Result: I cant eat the foods(garbage) that man creates without health problems.

    I eat no carbs but beans/lentils, all the veggies and some protein a day and I am healthy and happier than ever (yes, eating Paleo).

    I exercise every day too but dont get too carried away with that or you will put on muscle and at 6ft with a lean body mass of 200 lbs with 10% body fat I am now 220 lbs and tipping the BMI index at OBESE!! Get a better way of charting body mass based on something other than pure weight. BMI is as old as the hills and does not account for muscle and bone mass. BMI works to keep the sheep in line and worried but doesnt do a darn thing to tell them WHY they might be high.

    Eat less, exercise more than you have (sedentary person). Its a concept that will put the diet/health industry out of business.

    August 26, 2011 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply


    August 26, 2011 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hannah1

      And YOU should have stayed in school , or at least done an overhaul on your spelling atrocities!!

      August 26, 2011 at 06:15 | Report abuse |
  6. Dragon Soldier

    I eat whatever I want, but I run 4 times a week and do an intense gym routine every other day. Not bragging, just saying, if you love Taco Bell, eat all you want and bust your butt working out to make up for it.

    August 26, 2011 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vick

      Couldn't agree more, some people have to adhere to a strict diet while others don't have to do anything at all....but the majority of people fall into the category of failing to maintain an active lifestyle. I used to be the person who could eat whatever I wanted, and never have to exercise...but as I got older I noticed that I started to put on weight with the foods I ate, and even though I started eating less of it, I was still putting on weight.

      So I began to exercise intensely 3 times a week for about an hour... and I'm not talking about strolling on the 0% incline treadmill for 10 mins. I do high impact aerobics as well as circuit training. 10 yrs later, I still eat all the junk food I feel like eating, and I am in the best shape ever, with a 28-in waist! STAY ACTIVE PEOPLE!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • US Chem Corps, HOOAH!

      I keep trying to convince my wife that her diet (which she's improved incredibly) is only half of the way to lose weight. She knows she needs to trim pounds before she ends up like her father (obese, type-II diabetic, with hypertension, sleep apnea, and two heart attacks by the age of 58), but she's having trouble just bringing herself to exercise. Her diet is good... but I can't get her to come exercise with me. Maybe eventually. I hope.

      Also... Dragon Soldier? Are you one of us? 😀

      August 26, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Just injecting some reality

      Ok guys, it is great that you are able to eat whatever you want. That is not the case for many of us out here – especially the ladies!! I work out daily – average 2 hrs/day – both gym workouts and running. I run half marathons and full marathons, do kickboxing and am not overweight. However, I ALSO have to watch every bite I put in my mouth! Sometimes it gets a little tiring when I see everyone around me eating whatever they want, and knowing that is not possible for me. I have to constantly monitor my weight and make adjustments to keep it down where it needs to be. I have a very high amount of muscle compared to other women of my height. It doesn't matter. I still have to watch my diet!!

      August 26, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
  7. Mcfatty

    I blame Capitalism. We live in a country that is based on profit. There is a reason why people grow up eating nothing but fast food and junk. We grow up, inundated with continuous commercials telling you to eat more, eat fast, eat junk...everyday. What did you expect. But by all means, de-regulate everything. You want to know why the health care industry is so expensive, they're treating people who are suffering from diet based disease. America, F yeah!

    August 26, 2011 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hannah1

      No one puts a gun to anyone's head and makes them eat this fast food crap! It's a matter of CHOICE!! Every other ad on TV is a car ad; does this make people run out and buy a car every day???

      August 26, 2011 at 06:20 | Report abuse |
  8. joey

    uh, a little late !

    August 26, 2011 at 02:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. LD

    How about wealthy countries getting fatter while 3rd world countries die of starvation.

    I guess life is a catch 22. You can't win by losing. Is there any where in the world where a man can just get some peace and not have to worry about war, poverty, unemployment and crime?

    Where are all the people have decent manners and learned to share when they were kids? Damn I guess I was the only one paying attention...

    🙁 (This is bs.)

    August 26, 2011 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Flood

    Weight gain – and I don't want to call it obesity myself, or being overweight, more on this later – is in fact a health issue.

    But I think the debate is lacking perspective.

    Considerations could and should be given to evolutionary aspects of this transformation.

    You can be in the box and wonder how to stop your rattling or you can look out of the box and stop what's rattling it.

    Consider this: In my mid twenties I decided to physically train, I wanted to see what I could do with my body. At first I lost the extra weight. Then I gained muscle mass. Eventually I overbuilt my muscles. One day I stood in front of the mirror and told myself this had become ridiculous and I stopped. While looking in the mirror I recalled my Dad years before saying that our muscles are made to work against our own body weight, not extra weight; and I found that that made more sense than what I was putting my body through.

    However right that may be or may have been, is it still the case? We have long stopped jumping from trees to trees and in the past century have begun to move away from farming and other manual labor.

    Towards what? What is the next step for our species? Nobody knows for sure. You may say we are doomed, you may say technology will save us.

    Consider where we are now however. We work our fingers more than our legs, we aggregate in cities (arguably) where the next stop is 2 blocks away. We get hauled around by cars and buses. Many work in offices sitting down all day. I don't even have to go to the library anymore because I have it on my computer; oh and I don't have to go to my computer anymore because it's on my phone. Pretty soon we won't have to have a phone because we'll have it on chips in our brains (don't laugh, something "like" that has already been pitched – very seriously and professionally so I might add – on the Canadian show: "Dragon's Den"; the dragons were stunned into awe and disbelief. Quite a sight actually.

    Good and bad is a very human concept and it's no surprise that we look at obesity and think of it in and of itself as being a bad thing.

    I prefer to look at it as neither good or bad and I muse at the thought of how we're going to manage this.

    In venturing a prediction I beleive we will not start exercising more, eat better, create more physically active jobs, forgo the conveniences that we have come to accept, embrace and expect.

    That's right you know what I'm talking about; we'll have a pill for it before we find the cure for cancer.


    August 26, 2011 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kim

      We're going to turn into those blob-humans from Wall-E.

      August 26, 2011 at 07:44 | Report abuse |
  11. Mellow Guy

    Obesity is going up as palm oil production is going up.

    August 26, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. wudnshoe

    2/3 of Americans make up 3/4 of Americans, and it's spreading!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sahari

    I think the real problem is that the idea of death is so taboo, because we live in a cave, with blinders on, with a big question mark over our heads about what happens when we die. It's like, it's BAD to die, and it's GOOD to be born. In reality, birth and death are merely passageways from one state of awareness into another. Why can't we value Love instead of Gold? We'd find our judgments about weight, intelligence, and marketable ability slipping away into the nothingness that it really is.

    August 26, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hannah1

      Oh for crying out loud! When you're dead, you're DEAD. That's all. Finis!! One hippie left from 1960–woohoo!!!
      Eat , love, hug a tree, grow fat, die young!

      August 26, 2011 at 06:23 | Report abuse |
  14. Truth

    According to the BMI calculation, a lot of athletes and muscular people would still be considered overweight and obese. The BMI calculator web site even says that although it also says that BMI is not a direct measure of body fatness. Obesity is an issue although I would take this study with a grain of salt as I wouldn't consider most athletes overweight or obese when they are as athletically fit as they are.

    August 26, 2011 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Beni

      Athletes make up such a small proportion of our population that they probably have no effect on the stats.

      August 26, 2011 at 05:41 | Report abuse |
    • rienaporter

      I think most athletes are more aware of their bodies than the "normal" American who is overweight or obese. Athletes and their doctors aren't using BMI to calculate their body mass - in other words, BMI is a tool that ordinary people (and it's pathetic to me that obesity is now considered 'ordinary') can use to maybe take a look at themselves and say...ok, I need to lose a few points on my BMI. If they stick with it and start training for marathons, they will have a different relationship with their body and BMI will become moot.

      August 26, 2011 at 05:58 | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      When I say athletes, I do not mean just those that you see on television or are considered professional athletes. Those who work out and are lean/muscular fall under the overweight/obese category regardless of the fact that they may be much more fit than those that are considered in the normal range. My friend who is a workout freak is 5'10" and 190 lbs would be considered overweight by BMI standards. He got tested and says that his body fat percentage is under 10%. I do not consider the BMI system to be applicable to everyone, especially since it was thought up by someone in the 1800s. The formula only takes into account weight and height which really isn't a great measure since it skips out on a lot of factors such as muscle mass, bone density, waist size, and actual body fat percentage. I would caution everyone to at least be aware that the study uses numbers that are based on the BMI system which is flawed in its simplicity and low cost.

      August 26, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
  15. Not Fat

    Remember when you had to go to the circus to see the gat lady or watch a cartoon to see Fat Albert? Americans have gotten so disgusting and the rest of us end up paying for their pathetic eating habits.

    August 26, 2011 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      Yeah, apparently it's all "America" that's fat and fat people don't make up the majority of most other countries, too? Give me a break. I know it's en vogue to bash America, but get a friggin' new routine already!

      August 26, 2011 at 03:43 | Report abuse |
    • willie


      August 27, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
  16. Tim
    August 26, 2011 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tim

    Insert stupid joke here, about how the Earth itself is gaining weight.

    August 26, 2011 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wudnshoe

      Closed system, not possible, as the people become more numerous and heavy, if we took all the people off, we would find the earth had LOST weight 🙂

      August 26, 2011 at 03:52 | Report abuse |
  18. Michael

    Misleading headline. Thought the Earth itself was getting fatter. If it was, I'm guessing that it would also need to stop. Just sayin'.

    August 26, 2011 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Curtis

    This article is missing everything. First off BMI is the least accurate way of measuring body fat. Im 6' and 220 lbs. Im considered obese but yet I have a 9% body fat. Im a gym rat. BMI is judging a book by its cover. Second, our mean age in America is ten years older than it was in the seventies. Most people are a little heavier after ten years, and finally. America's minority population is growing every day vs the white population. Most non-whites tend to be genetically predisposed to be heavier vs whites. This is not racist, just statistics. This reflects a population shift. And one more thing. STOP CALLING OBESITY AN EPIDEMIC OR PANDEMIC. Its neither. You cant catch obesity like the flu. Obesity is a result of a lifestyle, not an illness. CNN and other news outlets use this buzzword to catch peoples attention and make it sound serious. Quick, pass legislation!!!!!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Centerlink

    Worse than almost anything are grains like wheat, corn, rye, barley and oats that have massive glycemic loads causing your body to pack glucose into fat cells while creating insulin resistance, almost no nutritional value at all, and have enzyme inhibitors, anti-nutrients that bind to nutrients and prevent absorption, and proteins that cause systemic inflammation. And whole grains are even worse. Just eliminating grains and eating more vegetables and fruits instead (most packed with fiber that doesn't tear up your digestive system) will end most obesity and related health problems.

    August 26, 2011 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JFT

      Thank you – a voice of sanity amidst the nonsense about fad diets and working out endless hours every day from the "healthy" ones who get on forums and flip out every time the word "obesity" turns up in a news article. Human beings are not meant to eat grains – yet governments tout them as the basis of a "healthy" diet – and then nobody can make the connection about people getting fatter and fatter and Diabetes Type II rates going up. Add to that the fact that carb laden grain-based foods are cheap and lots of people are broke – and you have massive rates of what used to be called "starch bloat", where poor people were overweight because they lived on cheap bread/cereal/ramen noodles.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:11 | Report abuse |
  21. Apul Maa'Deek-Aoud

    Next we'll liquify the dead & feed them to the elderly.

    If one desires to eat a pound of lard everyday what business is it of the gov't or anyone else?

    They're are more important issues to discuss.

    August 26, 2011 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hannah1


      August 26, 2011 at 06:17 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Lard isn't making people fat, it's the sugary and processed foods that are causing it.

      August 26, 2011 at 07:46 | Report abuse |
  22. Beni

    We really need to stop making excuses for ourselves. Walk around any suburb in America and all you see are obese people. Stop with the "BMI really isn't accurate", "What about athletes?", "Other races...". These are all just lame excuses to protect us from the truth. Our eating habits are disgusting and something has got to change.

    August 26, 2011 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rob


      BMI isn't accurate is pretty relevant when they're telling us, based on BMI alone, that so many people are "overweight" or "obese", when BMI not only was never intended to measure such a thing, but fails miserably to boot. Wikipedia notes: "BMI was explicitly cited by Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis."

      Further, about 6 months ago I adopted a puppy, and since then have gotten a lot more regular exercise. I've dropped 2 belt loops worth of fat, but gained muscle, leaving me at the exact same weight. So BMI says I'm just as unhealthy as I was 6 months ago, when it's plain to anyone with eyeballs that that's just not the case. When, as a society, we make stupid demands for people to simply "lose weight", what's lost is that most people can become a lot healthier without actually losing weight. If you're trying to get healthier, and all your measuring is your weight (adult's heights aren't changing significantly), like the doctors relying on BMI, you may not be able to recognize any improvement in health until several months into a program, and that leads to quitting before results really start to show.

      Should unhealthy people do something about their health? Obviously. Should BMI be informing any of their health decisions? No way.

      August 26, 2011 at 06:05 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Rob, even if some people with a higher-than-"healthy" BMI are heavier because of muscle, the simple truth is that MOST of them have a high BMI because they're simply fat.

      I have an "overweight" BMI. Why? Because I'm an athlete and a weight-lifter. was running five miles a day and weight-lifting, and weighed significantly more than I was "supposed to weigh" for my height. In fact, when I joined the Army, I never made the weight requirement, and they had to do the tape-measure test for me to pass my fitness test... even though I always had the highest fitness score in my company based on the actual run, sit-ups, and push-ups tests. I was overweight because of muscle, so I KNOW some people are in the "overweight" BMI class because of muscle.

      Still... MOST people have a high BMI because they're fat. I live in Kansas City, and trust me... I see it every day. People waddling around with their bloated stomachs hanging out. Their flabby upper arms are as big as my thighs. Those are the people contributing to the overall rise in BMI's.

      So, no, BMI is not the best measure of fitness. However, overall, it does show us what's really going on.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • willie


      August 27, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
  23. TEEPEE

    pushback from the dinner table...eat a salad for dinner. you'll be fine...

    August 26, 2011 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. TEEPEE

    does this mean the orbit of the earth will change? if I eat a pound of sugar and a tree falls in the forest...will anyone give a crap?

    August 26, 2011 at 05:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. TEEPEE

    gotta die sometime...we will all die of heart failure...

    August 26, 2011 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TEEPEE

      complicated by...(insert your disease here)

      August 26, 2011 at 05:54 | Report abuse |
  26. free2do

    I should have had a V8

    August 26, 2011 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dick

    Don't agree with the proposal for governmental control of what we eat, that's a bit too invasive. I would however support government policies that require K-12 curriculum to include an hour (or say, 1 period) of PE everyday. Folks need to watch the junk carbs they eat and cut down on computer time (as I type this comment into a comuter)!

    August 26, 2011 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. sam

    Better start TAXING ALCOHOL THEN its got nothing to do with smoking,Its being lazy drinking booze,and eating like pigs

    August 26, 2011 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RabiaDiluvio

    Any time a culture becomes "westernized" and starts eating large amounts of grain, starch and sugar and chasing it with carbonated liquid candy, it gets fatter. This should not be a surprise by now. Government intervention doesn't help if the government intervention is largely responsible for the issue.

    August 26, 2011 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Ginger

    Just make all the corn grown by the major farms into gasoline and not into HFCS and we'll be on our way.
    Feeding food animals corn makes them fat fast. Does the same for us. What a system... infuse the foods with crap that makes us inflamed , give us metabolic syndrome and watch us get fat while the corporations wallets do, and then scream about it when the inevitable happens and we become obese.

    August 26, 2011 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. kate

    THAT is the result of intemperance and incontinence.Chikena!

    August 26, 2011 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Geuze

    Diet Diet Diet, blah blah blah. Get up off your asses and move around.

    August 26, 2011 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Terry

    Fast food giant McDonalds will get right on this with a new "slap happy - pound dropping - McLickin Good Sandwich" or a sign that reads, "Fat People Stay Out".

    August 26, 2011 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Laurie

    Not only are we overeating, we are over reproducing. I think both need to be addressed.

    August 26, 2011 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Maya Puskovic Levine

    I am 28, I work out almost every day either power yoga or the elliptical for 45 minutes. 80% of the food I eat is fruit, vegetables, and meat/fish. I rarely eat processed foods, and never drink soda, energy drinks, or any juices that are not fresh and 100% juice. And, I weight 105 lb and am 5'3 – everyone always tells me how lucky I am to have a "perfect body". It's not luck!

    August 26, 2011 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      Thank You MAYA

      August 26, 2011 at 07:41 | Report abuse |
    • Vick

      Exactly! Why don't people understand that you have to include regular physical activity?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
  36. sam

    $ 66 Billion ? thats all.Oh My...And let me ask this question With Alcohol being one of the MAIN Culprets aside from Foods and costsing just the USA $ 280 Billion a year just for its USE,why is beer and other alcohol paying pennies in taxes when it is a $280 billion dollar burden on society in the USA alone ? for instance BEER being the cheapest POISON and most consumed being the One TROUBLEMAKER only pays .42 cents a gallon ? and WIne and Liquor paying a few pennies more ? and yet they put the hammer on SMOKERS but NOT the BIGGEST KILLER IN THE WORLD ? I guess that BOOZE IS GOOD FOR YOU RIGHT ? Bull..S..T

    August 26, 2011 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. sam

    Any questions ?

    August 26, 2011 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. sam

    Day in Day out its all about PASSIVE SMOKE and smoking...it dont even come close to what alcohol does and Passive SMOKE DONT KILL Like ALCOHOL,nor does a smoking cause me to kill anyone else....period

    August 26, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Logic

    Stop pretending you all are experts on the matter and that there is ONE solution to this problem. You ALL have valid points and I'm sure you can prove them, but you can also ALL be proved wrong. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to actually contribute to society and go to WORK.

    August 26, 2011 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. dinabq

    Food has become a commodity, and AGRIBUSINESS needs us to consume more food to increase their bottom line. Snacks are the most profitable of foods. These companies are not selling food to the starving in Africa because there is no profits to be made.

    August 26, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FreeMarketMan

    Government policies as the best way to eradicate obesity? Banning unhealthy food for children? If that works they way banning tobacco sales to teenagers did, we're likely to see our food companies pushing unhealthy food on poorer countries. And what comes after that? Exercise police coming into our homes? Taking overweight children away from their parents?

    Actually, government is the biggest contributor to the obesity problem, not its solution. Obesity is a consumption problem, and is often associated with overconsumption in other areas of our lives. If there is anything the government can do in resolving the obesity issue, it is to stop subsidizing farmers, and replace the income tax (which penalizes us for how much we produce) with a national sales tax (which penalizes how much we consume). These two government policies distort the true value of food (and other items) in relationship to our budgets.

    Ending farm subsidies will cause the price of food to increase. The higher price of food will cause people to reassess what foods and how much food they buy. The national sales tax will reinforce that value reassessment.

    Unfortunately, banning advertising, trans-fats, and other "government controls" do more harm than good.

    August 26, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. nushatka

    All we need to stay healthy (and that includes, but not limited to being lean) – is to learn how to be satisfied through our mental practices (meditation, yoga, prayer, tai chi – whatever works and available to you). Once you evolve into a human who can control the health of your mental self, the health of your body will follow. However, this is not easy; in fact, it is very difficult, it takes discipline, time, determination, and most important – a good mentor, a teacher. My personal approach to this problem was to strictly enforce a 40-hour work week, accept any help with errands/housework from other people, and rest as soon as you get exhausted (sometime not so obvious when you are running on coffee). Our lifestyles need to be changed – and this is very revolutionary for most of us, for in today's society we devote our selves to the jobs that will get us most income, so we could purchase most product that either doesn't bring us any long-term satisfaction or even makes us sick in a long run. We just need to grow up.

    August 26, 2011 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. MN

    Everyone should just start smoking again. Makes you thinner. Haha

    August 26, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. TheLemon

    Sadly, there may not really be any way to "fix" the obesity issues within the modern world. You can not tell people how to live thier lives. The problem lies in what society has evolved to become. When a baby is born, it doesnt know that it should eat carrotts and not an order of deep fried chicken. It doesn't know that it should walk three miles to the store, not drive. All of this and more are taught to it through society. Children learn by watching those around them. If all mom and dad do is order McDonalds, make huge portions for dinner, stock up on 2 liter bottles of Coke, and sit in front of the TV, why would that child be any different? This is the way it views life and the world, its all they know. When everyone around you is doing things one way, its very hard to even REALIZE something is wrong, much less go against it. Then of course food companies will do anything to get you to buy thier product, their goal is to earn people's trust, and get a reputation that allows them to keep profiting. And they are not going to stop any time soon. Not when there are billions of dollars at stake, and thousands of jobs. Its not like they set out to give people cancer. Thats just how the buisness evolved, and its bigger than any one person. As for physical activity, it again goes back to what is everyone else doing, what is the norm? The norm is not a two hour walk after work. It's not leaving the car at home and walking 6 miles to the store. These thoughts don't even cross many minds. Its like of course you probably wouldn't walk into WalMart wearing a purple dinosaur suit....unless everyone else was too. Society has deemed that unacceptable daily attire. If all of a child's freinds are playing video games after school, why would that child suggest they go outside and build a fort out of branches in the woods? Why would a child even think of that idea, if never exposed to a fort, or the woods, in his life? The way society is evolving, its breeding sedentary people, with an acceptance for unhealthy food. And it simply can not end, people there is no way nearly 7 billion people are going to completly change their lives. It's bred into them and the cycle goes on. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, its EASIER. Easier to sit, drive, eat fast food, trust food processors. No one wants to change to make thier life HARDER. BUT, of course, it can be, and is, done. But only because the individual wants to. YOU can make the choice to change everything you have been taught about how to live your life. The knowledge and resources are out there. It won't be easy, and it won't always be fun. People won't always accept you. But it will be worth it, if you value your body and wellness at all. To change the entire mindset of the world alone: nearly impossible. To change yourself and those you care about : reasonable. Start there, with you. You can't always worry what the masses are doing because they are not always right. But you don't have to accept it for yourself. So have the knowledge and courage to be in the minority, research, and be different. Then, if you're lucky, along the way, you might inspire a child, or a freind, or a coworker, or a random stranger, to change too 🙂

    August 26, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      You forgot sit down and suck down 20 beers and act dumb

      August 28, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
  45. amylynn


    A European filmmaker has been reversing weight problems in NON diabetics with a Diabetes diet.

    It has been giving people who have a hard time losing weight a normal body weight very fast

    It is now used in 10 countries. ALL weight issues are caused by Food chemicals( PROCESSED FOODS) and he shows how to reverse it

    if you are Diabetic or not

    just google SPIRITHAPPY.COM

    August 26, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jon

    The government should ban free refills of soda at fast food joints. Also reduce the sugar content of all sodas by 10%. In a year or two, drop it another 10%. Repeat until we see a drop in obesity rates.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • willie


      August 27, 2011 at 00:30 | Report abuse |
  47. phildaman

    We could just change the definition of obese 🙂

    August 26, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. John

    Seems like a lot of people here are pining for the days when 60%+ of the globe's population was malnourished. Now people are whining about, what, TOO MUCH FOOD?

    Oh, the horrors.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Chris

    The way I see it is that It is pretty much impossible to fight human nature, and human nature is to eat as much as possible. The fact is we now have more food than we need. It's cheap compared to previous generations and there is also a higher percentage of the population doing less physical jobs. This is what is leading to the rise in obesity rates, and unless that changes, nothing will change. It would be nice if it was in our nature to eat healthy and to burn off excess calories through exercise but we are not that advanced. As we age, people like all animals have a natural instinct to eat as much as they can, and to do as little "work" as possible to meet their goals. In short, as long as it's easy to be fat, we will be fat.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Tsuanami39

    Maybe if fresh fruits, vegetables and meat were as cheap to buy as all this processed crap, more people would eat better. My family eats as much fresh, organic and non-gmo foods as possible and it has doubled my grocery bill!

    August 26, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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