Overheard: Whose fault is obesity?
September 19th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Overheard: Whose fault is obesity?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Obesity is a huge problem in the United States, and it’s linked to serious illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and certain cancers.

A new report suggests that by 2030 nearly half of all Americans will be obese, and these expanding waistlines will translate into billions of dollars of health care costs. The study authors advocate for nationwide interventions to get children and adults to be more physically active and eat healthier.

More than 400 readers commented on the story. The most popular reader comment came from Joe Skinner, who says:

This is something I've been saying forever, the problem isn't "Romneycare" or "Obamacare," it's fat Americans who are the problem and they are more willing to blame politicians for health care cost problems than to say the 300-pound reading on the scale might have something to do with it.

Bruce Force responded that weight loss alone won’t solve the problem:

I agree that we are responsible for our own health but I think this obsession with losing weight is the wrong way to go about it. When we talk about fitness, we never talk about skills and that's unfortunate because that what being fit is about: developing skills in order to survive.

Chichetr proposed the radical measure of taxing overweight people per pound, a comment that got 59 “likes” :

I'm sick and tired of seeing my fellow Americans waddling around from fast food restaurant to fast food restaurant, their giant bellies swaying and bulging out under their shirts. It's absolutely shameful.

I propose that we start charging health care costs by the pound. How many of these people do you think are going to keel over from 1, 2 or 3 heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disorders of every kind? The list goes on and on. How many of these people can actually PAY for the tremendous health care costs associated with their weight? Not many.

I as a taxpayer, I refuse to pay for these people. Tax the overweight and obese NOW!

But pgauthi responded with a more pragmatic approach:

Those of us living in the real world realize we can't just let people "take responsibility," because we have decided that everyone has the right to emergency treatment. So as much as it pains me to pay for the lazy obese I would rather pay for their preventive care than for their emergencies.

I would love it though if medicare tax and/or health premiums were based on BMI and cardiovascular fitness.

Delishus Cake represented the point of view that the high cost of healthy foods compared to fattening foods is part of the problem:

If fresh fruit was affordable year round and a salad didn't cost the same as 4 double cheeseburgers people might not be so fat. Low income people typically choose whichever option looks to be the most bang for your buck. If you've got $4 and you want to eat are you going to buy a salad or 2 double cheeseburgers, a large coke, and a fry?

But halfthestory argues the opposite viewpoint:

So tired of hearing the "it costs too much to eat healthy" argument. Plan your budget and buy healthier foods ... fast food is not much cheaper and is much less healthier. It's a lifestyle change and not a financial issue in most cases. It's just easier to justify when you say "it costs too much".

Chemical BPA linked to children's obesity

Finally, the usage of body mass index as a measure of obesity is imperfect, as readers such as CatMagnet noted. Height and weight are the factors that go into calculating BMI, but for some people that is not an accurate assessment of whether they are healthy.

On Twitter, science writer @miriamgordon responded to the story by citing this New York Times article from Tuesday, which notes that obesity as we know it may not be the whole story: “In study after study, overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and fare better than normal-weight patients with the same ailments.”

Part of the problem is that if you measure obesity with body mass index, you are ignoring other potentially critical measurements of health, including metabolic abnormalities, lean muscle mass and body fat, the article said.

Another science writer, @daviddespain, responded with an article he had written on his blog suggesting that young Asian-American women may be improperly categorized as healthy using the traditional BMI scale; they may have low BMI but high body fat percentage.

The state-by-state obesity data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not take these deviations from the traditional BMI picture into account, nor do the 2030 predictions.

More from CNN: Is your doctor's role changing in the fight against obesity?

soundoff (641 Responses)
  1. ohioan

    People can't seem to fathom serving sizes and I think that's what the problem is. What many people eat in one meal is actually their calorie count for almost the entire day. A serving of meat is 3 ounces aka the size of a deck of cards. Not a 12 oz sirloin or 8 oz chicken breast.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. meyouthem

    Apparently people now days have such addictive personalities to all sorts of things they can't say "enough". They keep shoveling the food, or other things into their bodies faster than the brain can react and say STOP. I have an addictive personality but even I finally got to the point of cuttig back because I was miserable and my clothes didn't fit anymore. The trick to all weight loss, without gainig it all back, is to suffer through hunger pangs between meals and eat sensibly at meal time. Chew, chew, chew and chew some more. Once your stomach shrinks back to normal (6 mos) you will be okay

    October 7, 2012 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chubbylady

      couldn't agree more! Once a person's weight balloons, they basically can no longer eat until they are satisfied. Your body wants to hang on to that weight. If you are overweight, you just have to make up your mind that you will ALWAYS feel hungry until your body weight is reset. How do you think celebrities maintain those figures...the honest ones just come right put and say "I am hungry all the time"

      October 8, 2012 at 20:46 | Report abuse |
  3. chubbylady

    And to those who insist healthy food is more expensive...let's just be real for a minute. What makes fast food desirable is that it is designed to taste really, really good. Secondly, nobody addresses the real reason people eat so much fast food. Not everyone is Rachel Ray. After a full day's work, the last thing I want to do is come home and cook. How much easier to just go through the drive-thru and plop it on the table when you get home? "Hey kids, dinner's ready".

    October 8, 2012 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. http://www.smedjanekonomi.se/editor1.asp?p=13

    This 140 character restrict been stoppin me from gettin alot of things off my chest but you'll find it equally a foul good issue, some other child noted.
    http://www.smedjanekonomi.se/editor1.asp?p=13 http://www.smedjanekonomi.se/editor1.asp?p=13

    November 25, 2013 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rs gold sell

    Omg, It's a nice post!
    Like you, Thanks!
    Excuse me, Please look at my username!
    rs gold sell http://www.rs4golds.com/

    December 7, 2014 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Manhattan Beach

    I enjoyed reading this. like manhattan beach seo redondo beach marketing and redondo beach. there's a customer acquisition structures redondo beach business working with hair salons, making highly focused customer acquisition structures and ad-copy advertising.


    July 21, 2017 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Michaelendut

    wh0cd915856 Levitra Generic

    August 29, 2017 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mrs Amanda

    I am from united states. I am 36 years old, work as staff in Walmart, i and my Husband has been married for 5 years but recently he started cheating on me which i caught him, this led to our breakup, he left the house to be with the other lady, i tried as much as possible to bring him back because i still loved him but he never came back, after a while i found he told me he had Herpes and asked me to check myself too which i did and i found that i have too, i was frustrated, i start taking various treatment, i read a lot too about this virus then i came across this https://robinbuckler. com which said he can treat herpes with herbal medicine, i contacted him and purchased and he told all to be done and told me how to use his herbs which i did for 2 weeks and i was amazed by the outcome, i was cured. he also did a love spell for me to bring my lover back which took place just in 24 hours, my lover came back and since then he has been so loving and caring, no more lies, no cheating, he also got cured from herpes too, this is awesome, unbelievable.......this is his email address___________________ robinson.buckler @t [yahoo] com.......

    December 13, 2020 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rolland Prezioso

    Thanks so much the information. I love sucking dick btw hmu


    January 3, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mariana Howes

    Thanks so much the information. I love sucking dick btw hmu


    January 5, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Rikki Lezon

    If you would like to improve your experience simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the most up-to-date gossip posted here.


    January 7, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. vreyro linomit

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I've either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being stolen? I'd truly appreciate it.


    January 8, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Imelda Mehler

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We've ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.


    January 11, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Emelia Weagraff

    An interesting discussion will probably be worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you simply write more about this topic, may well be described as a taboo subject but normally folks are inadequate to communicate on such topics. To the next. Cheers


    January 12, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tori Kump

    I loved as much as you'll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.


    January 15, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Robbyn Cisney

    Thanks so much the information. I love sucking dick btw hmu


    January 15, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Asha Guiberteau


    January 17, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. vreyrolinomit

    Hey there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!


    January 19, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Percy Enriguez

    Merely wanna comment that you have a very decent website , I enjoy the style and design it actually stands out.


    January 21, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.