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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 (629 Responses)
  1. Michael

    A good friend of mine is a geneticist, and he is the epitome of perfect health. I call him "The Machine" because he eats certain foods at certain times of the day, he works out regularly and hasn't changed in 20 years.

    I asked him once how he stays in the shaped he is, and he said "good diet, exercise and good genes."

    I want to know why it's OK for him to praise his good genes for the good health he has but people who are fat regardless of what they do cannot blame their bad genes?

    September 19, 2012 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HoundDogDigs

      Maybe you should ask him.

      September 19, 2012 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Inspirational Gal

      Michael, I think we can definitely put 'part' of the credit or blame on genes, but this man still did the work to get in that fantastic shape...and someone like me, who definitely has the 'obesity gene' has to work much harder and will probably not reach his status, and yet, I have lost 75#, and in my 50's am in the best shape I've been since my 20's. I cut out the junk food, refined sugar & flour especially, eat more 'whole' foods, fruit/veg/meat/whole grains, drink lots of water & exercise any where from 30 min to 1 hr 30 min 5 days a week.

      My point is, if we lean on blaming the 'genes', we've given ourselves a nice excuse not to DO anything. It's definitely DOABLE! I'm living proof!

      September 19, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • dumbfounded

      Good Genes can also refer to having the discipline to eat right.

      As my grandfather used to say, You've never seen a fat P.O.W. In case you don't follow, if you don't eat, you won't gain weight. I actually heard a 350 lbs woman that said water made her feel 'bloated'. Her own words. Yet she was drinking a 2 liter coke and eating nachos and cheese at the time she said it. Being fit is work for some of us. You just have to have enough discipline to get off your rump and do something about your life instead of sitting there eating a deep fried anything and complaining that someone else has better genes.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Genes have an impact but with exception to extreme conditions that don't allow ones body drop weight "Genes" is an excuse most of the time. Most of the people with amazing "genes" likely are doing other things as well to lead to their leaner body. Take me for example I have always been a bit bigger 6 years ago dropped 80 lbs so was 179 6ft tall guy working out. I have a brother that is 6'2 145 lbs at first I used to go he seems to have a much higher metabolism "better genes" but as I paid closer attention I realized he was more active and although he would eat what he wanted at times he just didn't eat nearly as much as me period sure Thanksgiving he could eat as much as me but typically he likely eat 1500-2000 calories. Most people over eat and that is why they are overweight not genes etc. More calories in than used = weight gain. Stay consistently at a caloric deficit and you will lose weight and then once ideal weight is achieve bump daily calories up slowly until you aren't gaining or losing to maintain. That's hard for most so they blame cost of food, bad genes, where they live, being too busy etc. Make it a priority and you will do it.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • rjp34652

      Maybe the question should be asked what business it is for any of us to dictate how a person eats. Isn't that up to the eater? Everybody that reads this (the honest ones anyway), eats or does something unhealthy. Is it really government business – or anybodies business – what we eat and do if it isn't illegal?

      Is this a free nation or is everything we do somebody else's business – government business – insurance company business? If it is, then America is no longer free. Think about it all you busybodies out there.

      it's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      September 19, 2012 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
    • NickZadick

      I call hogwash on bad genes...on the TV show "Biggest Loser" they ALL lose weight... genes is just an excuse for fat people to stay fat!!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • NickZadick

      RJP .... then you are free to pay for your medical expenses associated with your excesses !! Enjoy your FREEDOM!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • Deadlift

      http://chaosandpain.blogspot.ca/2012/06/your-fat-is-unequivocally-your-fault.html?zx=470cf14f3c6f014

      September 19, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      I think what people don't like to accept is that what most people refer to as "self-control" is largely genetic. And it is very specific, some can control their tempers well, some their eating, some their drinking, and others can even control their breathing when most of us (rightly) gasp for air. We expect, and fortunately find, that most can control their sexual behavior reasonably well. But these are all instincts with a range of controlability. Just like almost all will breath eventually, most at some point will be overcome by hunger and eat. But this point varies from person to person. There isn't some magical thing beyond nature and outside of causality called "self-control". When we are talking genes, that is included. We just recognize it is always shaped by environment. No one gets fat when there isn't food.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      Health needs to stop being confused with skinny. Many people are healthy and may still not be skinny by traditional notions. People just need to start taking responsibility for themselves. If you are predisposed because of your genes to being over weight then you need to take greater care to eat better and manage your fitness levels. While this is isn't the case for everyone, life isn't fair some people will have to work harder then others just to achieve the same results, that is life people. While this is America and everyone is free to do as they so chose, the rest of American shouldn't be responsible for paying the hospital bills for an uninsured obese person who has a heart attack because they can't lay off the McDonald's 5 times a week. Accept responsibility people work hard and you will see results, it won't happen overnight it takes dedication and commitment.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • own yourself

      When your friend said it was "good genes," he was being polite. He could have easily said something like "I just make better choices than you, or I get off my butt and exercise." If you pressed him your geneticist friend would not be able to identify the genes that are "good" that he has. Bad genes may be the case for a small portion of the population, but it is a convenient excuse for a far greater number of people.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      Common sense, you are wrong. Most geneticists are quite convinced of the importance of genes in obesity. But that doesn't mean we can't modify environment to prevent it – after all, with roughly the same genes we used not to be this fat. It is quite possible to modify the environment to keep most of us thin.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      I meant to address that comment to "own yourself" not "common sense".

      September 19, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  2. Cruddy

    If you are trying to lose weight and its not a medical cause get this book call the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It will tell you why you do the things you do.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. hogarth

    Frankly this whole conversation makes me want a hamburger and fries SO bad.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cristiabella

      So CNN's to blame! Knew it all along.

      September 19, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  4. Diane

    Why can't every person who shows up a pharmacy to get their prescription filled for their high cholesterol, diabetes, or other diagnosis related to their obesity be required to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes before they are given their prescription?

    September 19, 2012 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      For the same reason you are not required to take an AIDS test when you go walkin the streets.....

      September 19, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
    • oicu812

      Because , as in my case, it'e not a diet/fitness problem. Genes can sometimes kick your a-ss. I am 6'-5"/235lb, fit, not fat, but heredity has kicked my a-ss.

      September 19, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Cristiabella

      Because fascism is naughty.

      September 19, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • MarylandBill

      Because isolated exercise does nothing. It has to be done most days of the week to have real health benefits.

      Also, you don't know how much exercise someone is doing already. I walk a minimum of 1.5 miles (on rainy days) and between 2.5 and 3 miles most other weekdays. Hasn't made my weight normal.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I'm not sure that is the exact solution but do think that a increase on health insurance or prescription costs for people with the issue that are overweight would be a way to not penalize the small percentage of people that are diabetic high blood pressure etc but at a healthy body fat percentage (I think the best way to gauge physical health) but the people that are overweight and obese would pay extra since they are contributing to the cause. Something needs to be done but it will take something drastic to have impact many will just pay the charge just like people at work here that pay fees for being a smoker and there spouse being smokers. In the end people need to really want to be healthy make it a high priority in their lives and they can achieve it. Based on my experience with being obese and a healthy weight via the food I eat and exercise. If an overweight person says they wish they could be a healthy weight but aren't likely they don't really want it as anyone can do it and exercise isn't mandatory it helps but you can lose weight solely on eating less consistently. I suggest weights and nutrition as it's better overall. STOP MAKING EXCUSES MAKE YOUR HEALTH A PRIORITY!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      MarylandBill,

      If you are walking 1.5-2.5 miles a day and still gaining you are eating more calories than your body burns. I can lose weight weekly without doing any exercise it's so much about eating right. Exercise allows you to eat more but you can out eat any exercise regimen.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  5. Katz123

    Obesity is a problem that can be linked to society and our obsession with having food that is easy and quick instead of taking the time to have healthy meals and stay fit. Our children need to be taught about nutrition, our doctors need to educate their patients about nutrition, our government needs to take a stand that a healthy lifestyle will not only add years to your life, but reduce the risk of disease and the cost associated with them. We are all paying the price for unhealthy lifestyles and the medical costs associated with them. Affluence in our society has led us down a path of wanting the most we can have, including food while doing the least to get it.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Inspirational Gal

      I do agree we need to slow way down. It takes time to cook right, and shop right. Make it part of family or friends bonding time, make it fun. I would love to find a good guy who likes to cook! Now THAT is sexy! 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      But people need to want to change and unfortunately with the easy of fast food, boxed food, prepackaged food and our countries addicition to the internet and tv, this is not likely to happen.

      People are afraid of change.
      People are afraid to sweat.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • ES

      Some of us need a quick way to make food, We get honme at 6pm and need to go to bed at 9pm in order to face the new day. There isn't time for 2 hours of cooking, not even 1 hour,
      So, we usually skip dinners alltogether.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  6. se

    who's fault is obesity? the person who shoves food in their mouth that is not healthy, followed by a sedentary lifestyle in front of the TV

    September 19, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Otto

      You got it!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • MarylandBill

      Why does TV always get the blame? At most I figure most people spend 3-4 hours in front of a TV every day. I grant they would be better off taking a walk or playing a sport... but lets remember that the other equation is that so many of us spend 8+ hours a day working a desk. My Dad pulled freight in a warehouse for 30+ years; during those years he could sit in front of a TV all he wanted and never gain a pound.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  7. maximuspl99122

    Puertoricans in nyc are the fattest ever

    September 19, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jeff

    I think, after reading all the post, most of us posting are fit, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week, most of the posters do watch what they eat, etc... I work out 5 days a week for about an hour, do the Insanty workout 6 days a week, walk the dogs twice a day, play with my daughter, spend time with the wife, help with homework, cook meals, perform constuction projects around the house, etc, etc, etc and still have time to play guitar and xbox. So you can do it all, just put down the fork and get out and move.

    The point that I have not see raised is this.
    Yes, on the surface level, fast food is "cheaper" than healthy food (which I think is complete BS, for example, by the time you buy 2 meals at , that is easily a sandwhich and veggies made at home for the entire week). That being said, fast food does not stay with you, the body absorbs all the cr@p, then hours later you are hungry. Eating healthy has the opposite effect.

    My parents are also moribidly obese and as other posters have said, I'm sick of hearing the complaints when nothing is being done to remedy the problem.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Myxelplix

      Dude are you a drug dealer? You seem to have more free time than anyone I know, participate in your leisure activities for about 10 minutes spurts or are some alien creature who never sleeps.

      Don't get me wrong – I'm in my 40's and in great shape. I manage to get 5-7 workouts in a week but they last 1.5 – 2 hours. When I'm not doing that, I'm at work. When I'm not working, I'm at home with the kids. I don't have any pets because I have kids to clean up after so maybe that's the difference between me and you...and the fact that I don't do any goofy exercises like Shaunte's Insanity. What a dork!

      September 19, 2012 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • Inspirational Gal

      I wanna know if you have a brother? lol

      September 19, 2012 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Don't be a hater 🙂
      And if fact Im an enginner working on DoD projects.

      Insanity is a awesome cardio workout and melts the pounds away. I've been hovering aroudn 208 for years and finally broke the 200 lbs mark.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      55 hour work week means you work 11 hr days. Assume 30 minute to get ready for work, 30 minutes for dinner and 8 hrs sleep leaves you with 4 hours of free time per day. Most people probably don't get too motivated to blow 25% of that uncomfortably exerting themselves....big suprise.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      I'm tired of all the comments saying 'healthy food isn't more expensive' and 'people just need to budget for it'. In college and immediately after when I was working at my first job, I couldn't afford to buy fruits and veggies all the time. Lets face it. 'Unhealthy food' isn't just fast food. There is plenty at the supermarket that isn't healthy. At my local store, I can get a box of mac and cheese for $0.45. Ramen runs about $0.15 per packet, but a small bag of the cheapest salad they have is $1.29.

      I'm not thin, but I am in good shape. I bike every day and have my ab workout routine I do 4x/week. The key isn't necessarily buying healthier food, it's controlling your intake. Don't deride people for things you don't understand.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Exactly what I point out, except:
      I can get a box of mac and cheese for $0.45. – processed cheese and unnecessary carbs, probably a good amount of sugar too
      Ramen runs about $0.15 per packet – high sodium and again unncessary carbs
      but a small bag of the cheapest salad they have is $1.29. - assuming it comes wiht salad dressing which is high in sugar instead of using vinegar and oil or something else.

      Face it, anything that comes frozen our out of a box is NOT HEALTHY FOOD. The only way to eat health is to prepare it youself. I'm not saying that I do not enjoy all the creature conforts of man-n-cheese, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream. These are treats not every day items.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  9. MJ

    Why blame anyone? Most people that are overweight are very happy being over weight. Why try to change them? Most people that are over weight know they are, are happy that they are and have no desire to change. There have been several studies across the country that evidence that obese and overweight people as a majority do not have any desire to change and are very happy the way they are. And those that are not happy are the ones changing.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • obesityisnojoke

      and whose paying the medical bills?

      September 19, 2012 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      a quote from Animal House. "...fat, dumb and happy is no way to go through life son...."

      September 19, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • Wack Canuck

      They may be happy, but then their mounds of lard are spilling over on my lap as they sit beside me on the plane or subway or movie theater, I'm not so happy.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • Inspirational Gal

      I strongly disagree that 'most people that are overweight are very happy' about their condition.
      Jolly appearances often veil a hurting, troubled psyche & soul. There is nothing to be happy about when you see what you've done to yourself, feel the pain of the weight, the limitations, what you've let yourself become. It drains the life from you.

      No, sir, people may 'act' like their happy & jolly in their obese state, but I guarantee you, they are not.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      God I freaking LOVE being fat....LOVE IT!!!!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      MJ, I agree that "blame" is irrational and a waste of time. Additionally, long term weight loss is very rarely achieved. But I do think it is important to work very hard at preventing weight gain in the first place. Increased food consumption (and the related waste products) have a very negative environmental impact. Additionally, the money spent on weight related diseases is paid by all of us. I have seen it argued that, like smoking, the early deaths of the overweight may make up for the increased expenses (by saving on social security), but I have yet to see these numbers add up. Additionally, we have loss of work hours and the very important contribution of grandparents to child care add up to significant financial loss from weight related morbidity and mortality. I'm not even counting the unmeasured costs, like reduction of earnings in cinemas that have to provide larger seats...especially since as a thing person I kind of like all the space those new seats give me!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Correction

      The quote from Animal House is..."...fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life...."

      September 19, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    Once we wind up with single payer, government controlled healthcare, this problem will slowly go away. The level of care will be so degraded that folks will not want to go to the hospital and will take better care of themselves.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. xinechan

    I am 32 years old and my bipolar disorder was diagnosed when I was 16. I have managed my illness with meds for half my life. The media covers mental health concerns and the media covers body weight concerns as if they are mutually exclusive. I receive 2 messages loud and clear (1) For the love of God take responsibility for your mental health needs! AND (2) For the love of God take responsibility for your waistline. Every time I improve my metabolism I need to trouble shoot my meds. I was the weight loss leader at my Curves and lost 35 pounds in 4 months and it landed me in a mental health hospital with my meds a mess and I needed a new mood stabilizer and anti depressant. I have good insurance, specialist and good doctors and I can't figure out how to loose weight with my chronic mental health needs. How can people without insurance do it?

    September 19, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • xinechan

      I am now an old woman who loves to fly to the moon. Watch me fly, fly away!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • A

      I believe you're the exception, not the rule.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  12. Josh

    Am I crazy to think that junk food has replaced (or at least supplemented) drugs and alcohol as a source for poor people to drown their sorrows in? They might be broke, but a Big Mac meal is a quick cheap high.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Josh

      Wait, maybe not. A can of Reddi-Whip costs a buck more than a Big Mac but the gas could last you for a couple of days. Oooooooooooooooorah!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
  13. YOU ALL NEED DISCIPLINE!

    WE ARE THE FATTEST PR!CKS ON THE PLANET. WE AREN'T HATED FOR OUR "FREEDOM", WE'RE HATED FOR OUR FOOD – AND HOW WE WASTE IT, AND HOW TRIVIALLY WE TREAT IT. 2/3RDS OF THIS COUNTRY ARE DISGUSTING FAT BODIES. BEASTS. BEHEMOTHS. ENJOY YOUR IMPENDING STROKE, A-MASS-ICA.

    September 19, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Correction

      Actually, Kuwait is now the fattest country on the planet.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
  14. ken

    The simple fact is many Americans have become addicts...addicted to their work, the tv, fast and easy, yet unhealthy foods, soda's and an overall avoidance of exercise...combine that with the overwhelming proliferation of processed foods and you've got a very obese population.....without monetary incentives, the problem will get only worse....tax the obese..through increased health care premiums, lower wages while simultaneously giving cost advantages to the healthy....

    September 19, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      Have you seen what a lot of people buy at the supermarket. Instead of buying cereal they buy donuts for their children for breakfast. They buy fried chicken instead of buying baked but then you can't find baked. it's everyone's fault Maybe we the consumer should demand better choices

      September 19, 2012 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • Deadlift

      Then buy a raw chicken and BAKE IT YOURSELF, DIANNE. That would even be cheaper. Are you stupid?

      September 19, 2012 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
  15. jon

    Obesity is obviously the government's fault. That's why NY is trying to fix it. Why should I have to take personal responsibility for what I put into my body via my mouth? That's why I vote. I expect the representatives that I vote for to tell me what I should and should not eat, and how much I can and cannot eat. Why vote if they refuse to do that for me?

    September 19, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      It's not the soft drinks it's everything.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • Inspirational Gal

      I never thought I would say this, but I am leaning toward agreeing with NY's decision, here's why: we didn't use to get bombarded with such hugely unhealthy portions everywhere we go, now we do. You may say, well, that's the public's choice, the market is simply giving them what they ask for. I think that is a bunch of bs...these companies don't care what you do with their product as long as you keep buying more & more of it...so they are heaping their massive unhealthy out of proportion portions on society. I'm starting to be of the mind that we do need to regulate this. Couldn't hurt.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • Deadlift

      NY is not telling you what you can and cannot eat. They are telling restaurants what they can and cannot sell. HUGE DIFFERENCE. If this concerns you, then you eat out wayyyyyyyy too much. The main reason for obesity is STUPIDITY.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
  16. Shiba Fussa

    Stop blaming society and McDonalds' and take personal responsibility. Nine years ago I was packing on the LBS but it happened that I was forced to get into shape and it changed my life. I never set out to lose weight – only goal was to pass this test. I couldn't run a mile w/o walking. I changed my diet (started cooking at home, eating out less), started exercising (eventually running up to 12 miles/week, doing pushups/sit-ups during TV commercials) and I wound up losing 40lbs and have kept it off to this day. My BMI is where it should be, my vitals are where they are supposed to be. I don't take meds of any kind. I still eat fast food once in a while but if I do I run an extra mile or two to work it off. I never bought a diet book or exercise DVDs. If people would change their lifestyle (don't be afraid to walk or take the stairs), eat better (something not out of a box or frozen food section) and exercise we would not be so overweight/fat/obese. Its simple and its on you to make a difference despite the challenges our society presents you in that goal.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Punisher

      You still eat fast food once and a while? So you're still helping to fuel our insatiable hunger and demand for fast food?

      For shame!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
  17. Diane

    I find fault with everyone; the consumers the restaurants everyone. I used to be overweight but lost 40lbs granted i still need to lose about 8 more but I feel proud of myself. When i was overweight I ate what the restaurants gave me w/o thinking now however I almost never go out o eat. Why? I've seen what restaurants serve. Two for 20 no one needs that much food. Everything is sauced cheesed gravied pile with onionrings etc. All i need is a blue plate special which seems to be a rarity these days. Of course people can take leftovers home No need to eat all that food. i've learned how to eat now

    September 19, 2012 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Lanfear

    If you blame anybody but yourself, you're in for a world of hurt! (feelings) 😉

    September 19, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Walter

      Shut up Donnie!!! You have no point of reference. Let's go bowling. You want a finger? I can get you a finger...

      September 19, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
  19. dumbfounded

    fast food is only cheaper when you don't count the additional medical visits you will be needing because you're 200 lbs over weight.

    I haven't been to the dr in years. Don't have a single issue.

    My brother who is 200 lbs over weight goes to the dr at least once every 2 weeks.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred

      A complex problem like obesity can not be defined easily.
      In some cases, the cost of healthy food is the primary issue.
      In some cases, the persons eating habits are at fault.
      In some cases, (where cost is not the issue) the choice of food consumed is the issue.
      In rare cases, genetics plays a major role.

      In almost all case, how much free time a person has in the normal day plays a huge factor.

      There is no easy fix. No magic pill. Each and every case is likely to have a different set of causes, and require a different path to a "cure".

      September 19, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • easye123

      Hi Fred, IMO its about MAKING the time to stay fit. It shouldn't be an afterthought, but a PRIORITY. Being fit, healthy, and good looking is a form of wealth, just like being financially wealthy or intellectually wealthy. Its an investment.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
    • easye123

      ...how do I know this? 5'11", 212lbs, 13%body-fat. I eat as I please, but I do not chose to eat crap food at every meal. I choose to stay away from soda for the majority of the time (have one maybe a week), and I smoke weed. I workout heavy and intense 3-5 times a week. I love to smoke weed before I workout, it makes the mind right 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
  20. Lanfear

    This article debunks every excuse in the book. http://chaosandpain.blogspot.ca/2012/06/your-fat-is-unequivocally-your-fault.html?zx=470cf14f3c6f014

    September 19, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • easye123

      I've done some Chaos and Pain workouts... very brutal. Definitely not in the same ballpark as an afternoon stroll or walk on the treadmill.

      Intense and heavy is the way its done!

      September 19, 2012 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
  21. Byron Delaney

    I have a MS in Nutrition. Nobody wants me to give them advice. And there are essentially no community nutrition programs in the US. Well Michelle Obama seems to have taken that role, although she's a lawyer so not qualified at all. Here's how to lose weight and keep a healthy weight: Walk approximately 15 miles a day four or five days a week and eat three sensible meals a day. Be sure to stay hydrated. That's it!

    September 19, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      No one wants your advice in real life so you think we all want to hear it here??? LMFAO

      September 19, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Horus

      Well first off, who has time to walk 15 miles per day? And your claim about 3 meals per day seems to run counter to what the vast majority of "experts" currently believe – that 4-5 smaller "meals" per day is better for weight, and insulin control.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • yaya@aol.com

      Hey Horus, if you dont have time then RUN! Lifting weights is also a sure way to keep the weight off as it changes your metabolism.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Einstein

      Ok, walk 15 miles a day; let's say the average person may walk 3 miles an hour. That means it would take 5 hours to exercise. I'm not sure how many hours your species stays up before requiring rest but that ain't gonna work here on Earth.

      Now, if on your planet the average person walks 30 miles an hour, that's 30 minutes of exercise – not to shabby! But, maybe before you comment on Earth's Internet blogs you could come up to speed on the physiological limitations of the human race.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Horus

      @yaya – I've been a martial artist since I was 8, and lifted weights since my early teens. I'm in my 40's now. I still lift weights 4 times per week and hit the dojo 4-5 times per week. Weight control is all about lifestyle (for the vast majority)

      September 19, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • Byron Delaney

      If you eat 4 to 5 "small" meals a day, you better be sure they're "small" and not fatty.

      And everybody, look down, what do you see? YOU ARE HALF LEGS THEY NEED TO WALK

      September 19, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • @ Byron Delaney

      I'm an double amputee from a car accident 4 years ago. Thanks though!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron Smykowski

      "they need to be a small but not fatty". Is your nutrition MS from clown college? Ingesting fat doesn't make you fat! Fat fills you up, carbohydrates in excess make you fat. More specifically, carbs high in the glycemic index spike insulin and trigger the storage of carbs as fat. Cut out sugar and reduce other carbs substantially and you'll be good to go!

      September 19, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • easye123

      Walking is for amateurs. Sprints are better! 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
  22. Horus

    Ignorance is the biggest culprit to blame. Overweight people seem to ignore the issue until they are grossly overweight, which makes it more difficult to lose, and greater health risks. I realize some people have "conditions" but let's be honest; much of the obesity can be attributed to lifestyle.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. yaya@aol.com

    epigenetics, its your mother's (and possibly your father's) fault more than your grandmother(s)

    September 19, 2012 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Melissa

    It's not just genes. It's genes AND poor diet. I am overweight and I don't blame anyone but myself. I also suffer from thyroid disease. But it doesn't mean I am incapable of losing weight. It means I'm lazy. Period. And that's just the way it is. That in combination with the ease of eating out a lot, is my problem. It's difficult to eat healthy when you're always in a hurry. It difficult for others because of the price. Organic foods and health foods are so expensive. And it's very sad. I just wonder why in the world that is so. And it can't all be down to growth time for organic foods. It just can't be. I love fruits and vegetables, but tbh I am a cheapskate. I have the money to buy healthy fruits, but man oh man, have you checked out the prices???? A bundle of grapes at 4$/lb is quite ridiculous. Soy products, tofu, etc., all expensive. Lean meat is more expensive. It doesn't make sense. When you think about it, you're cutting out fillers and biproducts out of these foods, so less work right? Anyway, bottom line and my point is, you can lose weight, no matter what genes you have. But you have to have the willpower. I've lost 94lbs, and I worked VERY hard to lose it. I counted calories, I walked 11 miles a day. I didn't even run, just walked. I did it in a year. And if I can do it with thyroid disease, anyone else can that doesn't have it. For that matter, anyone that does have it can do it as well. But I will say another thing, it's not nice to make fun of fat people. It's not. A lot of factors contributed to my weight gain over the years. Most of all stress. I thought about it this way, if I'm already overweight, then who cares. I'm depressed and no one will want me anyway so screw it. That WAS the way I thought. As of now, I'm still overweight, but I have a very supporting boyfriend who loves me for me (he's normal weight...6ft 190lbs), and I'm happy. I'm also in very good health. I have clear lungs, good heart, low triglycerides, etc. Obviously, I'm not done losing weight, but it IS possible for anyone to do. Just gotta have willpower 🙂 And stop letting a*holes like some of the people on here bring you down. Because it doesn't help. Telling someone what they're already aware of doesn't do them any good. And I feel sorry for people that make fun of anyone for anything that is wrong with them.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tyson

      I know what you mean by the organic foods costing so much more! One way I don't spend too much on my groceries is by shoplifting certain foods....they don't even notice!! Store securiy is such a joke....

      September 19, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • Inspirational Gal

      Congrats, on the great work you've done, Melissa...you sound so...EMPOWERED!!! You are 100% correct. And the great thing is, once we start taking these steps, we often find our medical conditions improve, prescrips are no longer needed, life improves!

      September 19, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • own yourself

      Organic food costs more because it is more labor intensive and yield is often, though not always, lower than crops that use pesticieds and herbicides. Lets be clear about one thing: Organic does not mean healthy. They are not even remotely close to meaning the same thing. If you eat a fruit grown organically and traditionally their caloric value will be very similar. Some people believe the lack of chemicals makes them better for you, but that does not make them "healthier" in a discussion focused on diet.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Organic is healthier. Honestly, how are we to know that these herbicides and pesticides do not alter our genes in some way to prevent weight loss. I haven't heard of any studies in that, and I've been working in healthcare for quite some time.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      @tyson, rofl, so THAT'S how it's supposed to be done. But I really don't wanna go to the pokey. :/

      Sooooo freaking glad I have a garden :p

      September 19, 2012 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
  25. Renee

    I am a nurse. I was alone with a 400 pound woman who couldn't lift her own arm. Ten minutes after moving her in bed I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder blade. The strain lasted for weeks. I immediately filed an injury report in case I was put out of commission for any length of time. I've had patients so big it takes 6 people to move them. At 400 lbs this woman is the size of me, my husband and one of our children combined. Political correctness and people's inability to cope is contributing to this problem. We, for some reason I can't understand, are unwilling to say things to people for fear of hurting their feelings. Well, we better do something. In case you haven't noticed, nurses are being asked to care for more patient per shift not less and needing 6 to move one patient is just not going to cut it!!!!

    September 19, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Punisher

      I'll bet she didn't even feel it when you kicked her.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Seriously Punisher? I'm simply giving my opinion from the "front line" so to speak. Healthcare workers are being injured every day due to morbidly obese patients. Oh, by the way, my patient was a wonderful woman who was completely unaware of my injury!!!!!! That said, healthcare costs are a huge issue today and I can tell you that at this rate America will need more and more healthcare workers to care for this growing demographic, not less.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      I feel your pain because I was a PCA for the last 4 years while in Nursing school and it is hard to lift up on these people. HOWEVER, if you follow protocol you won't hurt yourself. I had 32 patients every single night 12 hour shifts for 4 years on a cardiac floor. And I'm sure you know, those patients had to be weighed every single day. And the majority of them couldn't stand up. So we had the old fashioned bed weights, roll this way, roll that way, lift, down. The bad part is, most nurses that haven't been techs, are too sorry to help you. And that's the truth. But like I said, if you follow the correct procedures and MAKE others help you, there's no sense you'd have to strain yourself. The bad part is....we, just as other hospitals, were constantly understaffed and bombarded with call-ins. Sad, sad.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Melissa I knew some young, naive newbie would spout protocol because yeah, that's the problem. I've been nursing for 22 years and you know as well as I that you can't always wait for others. Well, bad nurses do. Real nurses have to problem solve on the spot in emergency situations. I am a dialysis nurse who was working on call late at night. Waiting for someone from a skeleton crew is not always an option. Neither is letting your patient suffer for that. Now, the real issue related to this article is the problems associated with obesity. The fact is there are those who are obese and are trying to improve their situation and there are those that do not give a damn and have no sympathy for anyone who has to care for them, not only healthcare workers, their families etc.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Wow, you sound like some bitter gal that hates her job. Fact is, YOU'RE UNDERSTAFFED. And it wasn't YOUR fault. I wasn't saying that anyway. I was saying it's your employers fault for not having staff there SO YOU COULD follow protocol. As for being a newbie, blah blah, whatever. Just because I was new, doesn't mean I'm stupid. And I GUARANTEE you, you were either transferring her to another bed, OR pulling her up in the bed because she slid down. HARDLY an emergency situation. But I AM aware of emergency situations that you strain yourself. Yes, sadly, it happens much more than it should. Which is why I mentioned PROTOCOL. Use your brain next time you reply please. You're obviously smart enough to finish nursing school, act more educated.

      September 19, 2012 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Melissa what you're doing is what all new entries to health care do. You have all the answers. For someone so smart you fail to recognize emergencies of the BASIC kind. Trust me I'm educated enough to know I'd like to talk to you again in 20 years!!!! And, after all the crap is said and done, I would do it all again. Nursing is in the blood. I did what I had to do for my patient in order to save her dignity!!!!! Anything else?

      September 19, 2012 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
  26. rjp34652

    WHOSE FAULT?

    The real question is WHO'S JUDGING?

    Isn't it bad enough the government has a vice grip on our wallets, now they want to stick their fingers down our throats?

    If the issue is insurance, then cut off the offending whale or cow from benefits. Government doesn't have the right to tell a man or woman how to eat. If Bessy wants to look like a cow or Bernie wants to look like a pig or if either one wants to eat themselves to death isn't it their business?

    Is this a free country or does the government and the corporate interests have a greater right to invade our dinner plates and snak tables?

    it's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    September 19, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Because they are STUPID!

      http://www.livescience.com/10582-obese-people-severe-brain-degeneration.html

      "A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said today.

      Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by 8 years.

      The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent "severe brain degeneration," said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology."

      September 19, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Frank The Tank

      Recent research has shown that the empirical evidence of obese people being significantly overweight is accurate. As a corollary, the marketplace for obese people is shrinking.

      As a world leader, I believe it is important for America to provide systemic research grants for our scientists. I believe strongly there will always be a need for us to have a well-articulated innovation policy with emphasis on obesity prevention. Thank you.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
  27. Inspirational Gal

    Wouldn't it be great if the whole nation, all parents, grown ups, made the decision to NOT buy junk food from ANY of the fast food giants for 1 day...to show their restraint, desire to do something about obesity, and to show that WE are in charge of our lives, not THEM. I'll bet that would wake a few people up to start paying attn. Just 1 day would hurt them where it counts.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LOL

    Healthcare premiums based on body fat %- think of how that would mess with the system. I question the patriotism of obese people. Maybe we need to start a coliseum of games with fat people vs lions lol.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vince

      HaHa! Yes start a real "Hunger" games with the obese people.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  29. Primal 4 Life

    It's the original food pyramid and all those grains that are responsible. Stop eating grains and you will lose weight, period.

    Follow the Primal Blueprint and you will regain your health in no time. It's that simple.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Curious

    Why is fat equal to being stupid or lazy? I know lots of people who are overweight who are brilliant and are very hard workers. It appears that it is ok to call a fat person lazy and stupid, I guess it has become an accepted stero type. If this was about race or religion this would be considered discriminatory.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JCR

      Being overweight does not mean you are less intelligent, but it is correlated with lower IQ and SES. That's just a harsh reality, and people will always make an assumption where a significant correlation is present – that's how the human mind has evolved to work. This just means we need to push harder to modify conditions to reduce obesity; that is the best way to avoid the suffering caused by what is a very difficult to fight prejudice.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • own yourself

      People base their assumptions on observations. Many people view obesity as an inability to moderate or control ones self in a manner similar to hygiene. The problem with your statement and many peoples logic regarding obesity is there is no basis for how people became obese. Your logic is based on people just magically being obese, which is not the case. Obesity is the sum of a series of decisions usually stretching over decades.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
  31. LOL is a moron

    So now fat people are unpatriotic? We pay more in taxes because we buy more food then you, which means we pay more to fund this country's military....this gives them more money for better guns, body armor, Humvee armor, night goggles, etc....our extra money is helping keep soldiers alive!

    Next time, instead of hurling insults at us, a simple "thank you" will do.....:)

    September 19, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • getserious

      WOWWWWW. So now you being fat and gluttonous is a source of contribution to your country?! Holy crap how some people can twist self talk into ANYTHING that benefits their self esteem. You are a joke for that comment.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  32. Vad

    I would be in the camp of people who would allow insurance companies to raise rates on the obese. Employers too should not be on the hook for their employees unhealthy life style. This would still give people the choice to live their unhealthy life style, they would just have to pay for it. Maybe, just maybe the hit to the pocket book would motivate some to live better. Problem is, would insurance companies use it as an excuse to come up with non-realistic standards that affect healthy people as well?

    September 19, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. gag

    We can't even control obesity in our prisons.
    Note the prisoner on death row who claims he is too obese to be executed.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vad

      I thought the same thing when I read that. I guess prisoners are allowed to make as many trips to the chow line as they want? I didn't understand that at all.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  34. XtinaDmom2

    I'm really surprised by all the intolerance in the posts for this article. As someone who has been heavy since birth, I can say that genes do matter. I'm not one of the lucky ones, but I don't see myself as a fat, lazy American either. I care about my health, but I'm fighting an uphill battle against my body, my schedule, my grocery store, and an environment filled with food traps and sabotage. My grocery store contains one half of one side of an aisle of organic alternatives. Everything from ketchup, soup, cereal, and bread is full of corn syrup. There is one brand of sprouted grain bread available, and it is usually sold out. I have to pay double for a lb of beef without pink slime. I've had to educate myself as an adult about the garbage that the government allows in our food. I pay the higher prices because I can, but most people in this country have to eat the garbage that they can afford, not in McD, but from the grocery store. If we're not running to the gym it's because we are carting kids to soccer practice and piano lessons after working a full day. It's very easy for folks not affected by obesity to judge those of us who are. The obese are not poor, lazy Americans. They are people with limited money, time, opportunity, or help. What this country needs is a food education and a government that cares about what its people eat. If we all had the opportunity to eat what our grandparents did then we'd all be better off.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vad

      No hate toward you X. But come on, nearly half will be obese? How many more overweight? That is a lot of people with "bad genes." I will also say the absolute last thing we need is another Government agency. Besides, isn't there the APHA, Health Department, American Medical Association and many many others both Government and Private that give out that kind of info? With respect to your opinion I believe (in most cases, not all) that it is personal choice not genes that got them where they are.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • denman838

      You're making this way more complicated than it needs to be.
      Exercise 45 to 60 minutes daily. Walk, run, yoga, calisthenics,whatever. Get your heart rate up, sweat and burn some calories.
      Breakfast – English muffin with honey and a piece of fruit.
      Lunch – Lean Cuisine entree, small bag of carrots (or another veggie), protein bar (I eat a Zone bar), and an apple.
      Dinner – eat a sensible meal. Not pizza, fast food, or Doritos & bean dip. A SENSIBLE MEAL.
      NO SNACKING, no cheating, no ordering in at work, no "free" breakfast burritos, doughnuts and all that other crap that shows up at the office.
      WEEKENDS – reward yourself. Go out, have the ribs, or the pizza, etc. Make it something special rather than a commodity.
      YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT. Slowly, surely, if you stick to it, you will lose weight.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  35. Curious

    If we are going to hold obese people accountable then also hold smokers and alcoholics accountable, then people who are daredevils should pay more because they choose to take unneccesary risks and have more injuries, where does this stop?!?!?!?! I think a lot of people are casting stones but not evaluating how the decisions they make that affect others...

    September 19, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deadlift

      Out of the obese, smokers, and drinkers, only the obese COMPLAIN about their situation and BLAME everyone but themselves. See the difference?

      September 19, 2012 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
    • gag

      We already have sin taxes for smokers and drinkers.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • own yourself

      You win the argument...If you can't hold obese individuals accountable then I guess we shouldn't hold anyone accountable for anything right? That was essentially your logic.
      The reason we can start holding people more accountable for their health is because it is costing the country dearly, research has demonstrated the health hazards of being obese, and technology has developed enough where people can be held more accountable.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  36. Byron Delaney

    Why do we have long legs? Walk, don't drive, don't complain, just walk. 15 miles a day. You will lode weight.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Thunder Thighs

    Yes, there are genetic components, however, it is our responisbility to eat right and exercise. We don't walk as much or get as much phyiscal activity as our ancesters. Diabetes is going to sink the healthcare budget unless something radical is done.
    We need to do less fork lifts and 12oz curls. Just remember the immortal words

    "if you are too chubby no get hubby" -Patty O'Melt

    September 19, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Doug Wilson

    You are now on the "fat gene"? So, just because you have an "anger gene" is that OK to cuss out everyone? No, I am on my fitness journey and would love to have as many people come with me. http://www.dugslife.com

    September 19, 2012 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Kude

    I wholeheartedly agree. Americans are fat. It's disgraceful, and horrible. But, it's not the government's job to fix that. Taxes are meant to fund the government, not force social reform. The Government has no right to tell us what we can and can't eat.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheRationale

      I think a lot of people would agree with that on principle – people should be allowed to live for themselves. However, on just that note, taxpayers don't want the burden of covering the costs of other people's poor decisions (a number of whom can't cover their own costs), so a fat tax would be a way of having only fat people pay for fat problems. The tax could be as much or as little about encouraging healthy behavior as you wish to see it, but from the money side, it's about fairness and taking responsibility.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  40. Deadlift

    All you idiots crying about food costs, consider this:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/06/08/154568945/what-america-spends-on-groceries?sc=tw&cc=share

    September 19, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Beth

    Will, please don't tell me you're comparing obese people to olympic athletes. Yes, you do need carbs for energy. If you are burning tons of energy a day training, you need a lot of carbs or your muscles will start wasting eventually. But if you take in more carbs than you burn, the body stores it, and that's when obesity results. I'd guess that an olympic athlete needs hundreds of carbs a day (btw, their goal is improved performance, not to lose weight). The average person will do just fine with less than 100.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deadlift

      You almost have it right, Beth. Carbs are good when they do what they are supposed to and you time your meals properly. Your body will store carbs as fat unless you deplete your muscles some how before consuming them.
      You need to do some type of high intensity cardio (skipping, sprinting), or weight lifting in order for those carbs NOT to get stored as fat. It's all about timing your insulin spike.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  42. Kattale

    For the people who believe that charging more for people who are overweight "pay by the pound" I want you to know that we do pay higher premiums on our health care for our BMI being over 25! So if they can descriminate against me for being what they call obese... next they can charge you more because you have a history of asthma in your family or maybe your IQ is not as high as your neighbors which makes you at high risk for doing something stupid... charge you more! It becomes a game of pointing fingers... first it was people who smoked now it is people overweight... I don't have the answers for this problem, but I think it is unfair that my premiums are $50.00 higher a month than someone who has a BMI of 25 (mine is 28) where does this end!!

    September 19, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. TheRationale

    Imagine if the people of the US stopped smoking and ate healthier. We might have enough money to pay for people who get medical problems that aren't their fault to begin with.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. OldMan

    One of the things I notice is the bad habits adults give to there children Do you ever notice how many parents go straight to McFatties after work and get the evening meal? I remeber when it use to be a special treat just to go to a fast food place when I was a kid. Now kids are fed it five times a week..

    September 19, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. snowboarder

    there are several reasons for the growing obesity. more sedentary work environments. corporations attempting to win customers by increasing portions. more processed foods.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Remarkat

    We should impose HUGE taxes on unhealthy activities and insure that those tax dollars go directly to cover health care costs. A huge proportion of our national healthcare bill is caused by fatty/sugary foods, smoking, and alcohol. The costs to society should be reflected in the price of the products. Without imposing those economic correctives, we are essentially making a transfer payment from taxpayers and premium payers to the companies selling and the people buying these products.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jake

    The root of the obesity problem in America is farm subsidies. Subsidies => production of way more corn than we want / need => finding uses for excess corn => production of cheap, high-fructose corn syrup => high-fructose corn syrup in just about every packaged food at the grocery store => obese Americans.

    This is pretty well-understood and I'm surprised it wasn't even mentioned in this article. If only politicians understood the unintended consequences of subsidies. Econ 101 should be mandatory for all Americans.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Scrape

    Excess is an American thing

    September 19, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. lynn

    You people are really mean. Yes, I am overweight but can assure all of you that my diet does not consist of Big Mac meals, fries, etc. I'm active and swim. I have a degree and have worked every day for more than 30 years, never go to the doctor for anything related to my size and pay my insurance premiums just like you do. Lots of generalizations going on here and lots of assumptions about people whom you don't like just because of the way they look. Let's face it, we live in a society that thinks only thin is pretty and now all the media around obesity gives ammunition to legitimize discrimination and hate. For every one of you purported skinny, "healthy" people (whom by the way will die too) who have someone who loves you and thinks you're great, so do we "fat, lazy" people have people in our lives who think we are wonderful too!

    September 19, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      Lynn, I think you're probably in the minority though. Don't you agree that most obese people don't exercise regularly and don't eat the healthiest of diets? You may be healthy (probably because you DO eat well and exercise), but most obese people are not and that is a major drain on our healthcare system. Not trying to mean, but it is also very unfair when you get stuck in a middle seat on an airplane with an obese person on each side. There are many impacts that obesity has on non-obese people (and obviously, even greater impacts on obese people themselves).

      September 19, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • own yourself

      You are sadly mistaken regarding preference and fact. The issue is not about what people find attractive. The issue is what is healthy and what is going to cost the country billions of dollars. America in general may be vain but not so much that it has launched a crusade against obese people based on looks. The reason is healthcare costs. Once you stop perceiving this struggle as you being discriminated against for looks and realize it is based on your overall health needs then you won't feel like the injured victim and realize that people are trying to reduce obesity to save money.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  50. getserious

    can't stand fatness being blamed on genetics, society, etc. I can't recall one obese person i've known or met to truly do all the things you should to live a healthy lifestyle and have a body to reflects that. Obese people complain about external factors then go cram a supersized #3,5, and 9 down their mouths and sit on facebook all day. You think all the skinny people around the world in countries that don't have access to tons of fast food and doughnut shops and energy drinks just also happen to have good genes? No, it's because the way your body looks is about 80% related to your diet and the rest a result of physical activity. Quit blaming your desire to consume twinkies and DIET coke on genetics.

    September 19, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      Uh, you just contradicted yourself. You made a clear and valid point that in countries that don't have all the high fructose corn syrup foods available, they are skinny. So clearly, the availability of these things in America IS a factor to blame. If we regulate food better (or just cut farm subsidies), the problem goes away.

      September 19, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • getserious

      I didn't contradict myself at all. Those people just don't have the OPTION. Just because you have the option and opportunity to physically harm someone doesn't mean you can blame the fact that you CHOSE to hurt someone on the idea that it was a readily available option for you.
      It's people like you who BEG for your personal freedoms to be taken away because you apparently don't have the ability to make good choices for yourself without government intervention that is leading to everyone else's personal freedoms actually being restricted. Jerk.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Getserious, I'm not sure how you think you know anything about me, but I'm 6'2" and 180 lbs, so not exactly obese.

      The point is, like it or not, when we have hundreds of millions of people in our country and grocery stores filled with crap, we're going to have an obesity problem. We can sit here and blame individuals for not having self-control, but that does nothing to address the problem.

      I would prefer to eliminate farm subsidies than regulate, but we've got to do something to improve our food supply or the problem is not going away.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Rofl, you honestly believe that genes have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it? Really? hahah. You're delusional. How do you suppose families of thin people keep the same thing bodies throughout their lineage? OF COURSE genes has a hand in it. It's not ALL genes though. Just as I said, in my post, I've got thyroid disease, and my family has weight problems on my mothers side. But I lost 94lbs through VERY hard work. People without thyroid disease would've probably lost that much quicker than I did. Of course it has a lot to do with genes and society. I'll repost what I said that you must've missed:

      It's not just genes. It's genes AND poor diet. I am overweight and I don't blame anyone but myself. I also suffer from thyroid disease. But it doesn't mean I am incapable of losing weight. It means I'm lazy. Period. And that's just the way it is. That in combination with the ease of eating out a lot, is my problem. It's difficult to eat healthy when you're always in a hurry. It difficult for others because of the price. Organic foods and health foods are so expensive. And it's very sad. I just wonder why in the world that is so. And it can't all be down to growth time for organic foods. It just can't be. I love fruits and vegetables, but tbh I am a cheapskate. I have the money to buy healthy fruits, but man oh man, have you checked out the prices???? A bundle of grapes at 4$/lb is quite ridiculous. Soy products, tofu, etc., all expensive. Lean meat is more expensive. It doesn't make sense. When you think about it, you're cutting out fillers and biproducts out of these foods, so less work right? Anyway, bottom line and my point is, you can lose weight, no matter what genes you have. But you have to have the willpower. I've lost 94lbs, and I worked VERY hard to lose it. I counted calories, I walked 11 miles a day. I didn't even run, just walked. I did it in a year. And if I can do it with thyroid disease, anyone else can that doesn't have it. For that matter, anyone that does have it can do it as well. But I will say another thing, it's not nice to make fun of fat people. It's not. A lot of factors contributed to my weight gain over the years. Most of all stress. I thought about it this way, if I'm already overweight, then who cares. I'm depressed and no one will want me anyway so screw it. That WAS the way I thought. As of now, I'm still overweight, but I have a very supporting boyfriend who loves me for me (he's normal weight...6ft 190lbs), and I'm happy. I'm also in very good health. I have clear lungs, good heart, low triglycerides, etc. Obviously, I'm not done losing weight, but it IS possible for anyone to do. Just gotta have willpower And stop letting a*holes like some of the people on here bring you down. Because it doesn't help. Telling someone what they're already aware of doesn't do them any good. And I feel sorry for people that make fun of anyone for anything that is wrong with them.

      September 19, 2012 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Melissa, just teasing, but you might not want to use ROFL when posting on this subject! 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
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