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. pbernasc

    it's a combination of people food ignorance as well as general ignorance and the fact that in the US the food industry has the freedom to put sugar anywhere they want without limits.

    So, food culture in the US is very primitive, it's instinct driven rather than culture driven and the food is adulterated with sugar so sell more. The second is absurdly subsidized by the gov which subsidize corn production and so makes it very cheap to adulterate food with sugar, which in the end cost a lot of money to the tax payer, since it causes obesity problems that increase health care cost

    September 19, 2012 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sarah

    Ultimately, obesity is the fault of the individual. Just like someone who shoots a weapon is at fault for using the gun. Just like someone who drives a car, is responsible if he/she drives irresponsibly. The car isn't responsible. The gun isn't responsible, the user is. The food isn't responsible, the eater is. Sometimes outside influences can help to aggrivate a situation, however the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual. If we loose sight of that, we're gonna be in big trouble.

    September 19, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lanfear

      Ultimately, Sarah is awesome and has a clue! 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      False analogies do not make a very convincing argument. Cars and guns are not necessities of life but food is. Now, when most of the food available is highly processed, bloated with corn, starchy, fatty, and filled with high fructose corn syrup AND you feed that to a populace who doesn't know that all that stuff will harm them, you end up with Americans. Indeed, the food manufacturers are only interested in one thing: maximizing profits. The easiest way to do that is to make their customers addicted to their products, especially without their knowing they have an addiction. I strongly suspect that the FDA is behind a lot of this. I mean, the Food AND Drug Administration? Why would the same administration oversee both food and drugs? Hrmmm. Could it be that the drug manufacturers have coerced (with cash, of course) the government to subsidize the food manufacturers to make food that is so bad for us that eating said food would eventually require us to go to the doctors and have them prescribe drugs to help us correct the problems caused by eating toxic food? Is it really beyond the realm of possibility? The sane person would say "No". This is the Capitalism that we as a nation are so madly in love with. This is what we deserve. Love it or leave it.

      September 19, 2012 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      That is true Sarah and a perfect analogy. The question is, how do we prevent gun murders / obesity? Do we sit around and hope people don't use guns to kill others? Do we sit around and hope people don't eat the horrible food products available to them? That's one approach, but it won't result in fewer murders or less obesity. If we want to actually reduce obesity (and it's enormous economic costs), we need to do something about the food supply. It's unrealistic to just hope people miraculously gain a better ability to control their eating habits.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      I agree Jake. While I don't agree with telling people what they can and cannot eat, I certainly agree with government regulations over what supermarkets and restaurants can sell. Just like restaurants/bars are not allowed to sell liquor to someone who is clearly intoxicated. That doesn't mean that you are not allowed to drink to your hearts content - technically, you can still buy a buttload of booze and drink it at home, or have someone buy it for you. No one is taking away your personal rights by placing tighter restrictions on a business.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • Vince

      I like the analogy Sarah, ultimately the user is responsible, but I will add one thing....

      While the driver of a car is responsible if he she causes an accident through irresponsible driving... if the accident is due to the GM producing a car with faulty brakesi it is GMs fault.

      I think this "faulty car" analogy might be applied to food manufacturers who "mislead" the public advertising supposedly healthy food options that in fact aren't. Slipping in cheap food additives that are basically indigestible sawdust ("cellulose" which you see on many food labels) into muffins and such that the public generally isn't aware of without research.

      I think the public needs to take the responsibility to be aware of this stuff. But there is some fault on the food manufacturers here too. The fact is 50 years ago before High Fructose Corn Syrup, and cellulose was added to food, the food supply was generally more nutritious and fresh (though less "convenient") and the public didn't need to read the "fine print" as much. We have a higher burden to educate ourselves than past generations because there are more "land mines" in food today.

      So while the burden is on the eater, I don't want to give food manufacturers a free pass.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      The FDA has jurisdiction over legal, consumable things we put in our body, which would include food and medicine. You can (probably) dial back the conspiratorial paranoia.

      September 24, 2012 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
    • reality

      Sarah is very correct. It is fully individual responsibility. Food stamp, medicaid must be stopped for overweight people.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • jose

      thank you sarah, its a personal choice and using the anologies you did is the right thing to say. people stuff themselves with food and don't do any movement and want to blame others for their habits of eating and desire life styles. Well, nop it is their responssibilities to eat less and do exercises, to blame others is a habit we as a country have gotten very confy lately, but is it not a solution to this pest of obesity-you are correct

      September 28, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • duckforcover

      What a novel concept. Personal responsibility. Spot on Sarah!

      September 30, 2012 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  3. Lanfear

    "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?"

    Apparently Mr Delishus Cake has not heard of cooking, or doesn't know how. The only way a salad would cost the same as 4 double cheeseburgers is if you buy it pre-made. How much is a head of lettuce? It's a dollar where I live. I can make at least 4-5 large salads from that, with the help of other dirt cheap vegetables.

    Low income people are going to go with the easiest option simply because they are lazy, hence why they are low-income to begin with. They, along with mr delishus cake, are too dumb to cook or make time for cooking. Being dumb and lazy is a recipe for a low income lifestyle.

    Fresh fruit does not need to be consumed all year round and our ancestors only ate it seasonally. Fruit is high in carbs and sugar and will contribute to weight gain if you eat too much of it. It should be seen as a treat, a dessert.

    Furthermore, this study pretty much debunks the whole "healthy food is expensive" arguement:

    September 19, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Eternal Satyr

      What do you expect from someone whose moniker is "Delishus Cake"?

      September 19, 2012 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • cat

      Actually, it can be extremely expensive, depending on where the person is living. There was a recent national study done that examined specific sections of urban areas and focused on the "affluent" sections compared to "poor" sections of these communities, and what it found was an eye-opener for many people in the medical industry. The $1 a head of lettuce is primarily offered in areas where supermarkets, and other bulk distributors, or healthy farmer's market programs provided the main source of food supply for the residents. But virtually all of these forms of food distribution do not exist in population centers with large numbers of poor residents, or residents with fixed or subsidized incomes/housing. In these poorer areas, the local convenience market was all too frequently the ONLY source of food, other than the chain restaurants or fast food places that are everywhere in urban neighborhoods. The people doing this study found that most of these convenience markets didn't carry fresh food, or if they did, one apple would be sold for as much as a dollar, while the half pound bag of potato chips sold for 49 cents. What happens, then, if someone grows up in a home that doesn't cook because it is cheaper to get fast food? The behavior perpetuates itself, and nothing changes.
      Learning to cook, and cooking good food, is as much a learned activity as anything else, but it's got to start somewhere. Get food distributors to open comparable food markets in the inner cities and work with children in the schools, but understand that the problem didn't happen overnight, and it will take time to change, Personal responsibility is a key part of the problem, but it's a much more complex problem that the average person wants to face. from the way the responses sound on this thread, it's easier to blame.

      September 19, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse |
    • Rusty

      Eating a head of lettuce with crap vegetables and no dressing is definitely cheaper than fast food, you got it.

      Put together a reasonable meal with proteins and vegetables that arent crap may not be

      If your goal is to make a cheap meal with whatever veggies are cheapest, I am sure you can accomplish it. But when people are trying to make healthy meals that they actually WANT to eat, its not as simple as getting a head of lettuce and eating that all week

      Overeating is just another bad habit, like smoking and drinking and drug use.

      I assume you do none of those, correct?

      September 19, 2012 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      Rusty - I overeat, drink, AND smoke weed. (I don't touch cigarettes). I drink about once a month and I smoke weed about once every couple. When I do these things habitually and regularly, and when it affects my health, then you can lecture me about that. As for over-eating, I do this pretty much every day, because I work out so much that my body simply NEEDS the food in order not to be depleted. Theres a big difference between that and somebody who is inactive and overeats regularly simply because they WANT to, not need to. This is why I am in the best shape of my life and why I get stared at when I go to the gym.

      BTW – there's pretty much no difference between organic and non organic vegetables. I personally do not eat organic vegetables because I think it's a waste of money. You can buy a $2 bottle of dressing and that will last a long time. Or you can do what I do, mix vinegar with olive oil since I always have those on hand anyways. I know what you're thinking... that takes thought and creativity, something most people lack these days. That's not my problem.

      I also didn't say ONLY to have a salad. I was simply debunking the argument from Delishus Cake which indicated that 4 double cheeseburgers is cheaper than a salad. Hogwash.

      Meat is not expensive if you buy it in bulk. Neither is rice/noodles, bulk or not. Costco is awesome.

      If food really is too expensive in your area and it's not because you spend too much money on iPods, trinkets, and other junk you don't need, then move somewhere with a lower cost of living. I live in Victoria, BC, Canada and it has been reported to be the most expensive city to live in Canada. While I make it work, I am in the process of making arrangements to move to Alberta, because I don't like spending so much on bare necessities. It's probably going to take me at least another year before this happens, but I'm already applying for jobs and doing my research. It's called being responsible for your situation and taking initiative to make a change.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • Elexsor

      Lanfear (love the name... WOT): I couldn't agree more. I posted on the original article that it is not the food that makes people fat. It is overeating. I can eat 2 Mcdoubles, 2 large fries, and a sausage egg and cheese mcmuffin everyday of the year and would actually be 6lbs lighter at the end of the year. That's before adding any of my workout routines in. Calories in... Calories out. Eating healthy only matters in your health. Not being overweight. I've known several fat vegetarians... and I mean biggg.

      I eat what I want because I exercise. I love and I mean LOVE candy. I eat it all the time. Pounds of the stuff. However I don't have weight issues. In fact I'm currently getting back to my track and field days (from 20% fat to 10% fat). Still eating candy. Still drinking beer every friday and saturday. I'm 35 and still dropping the lbs. Calories in less than calories out. It is that simple. I don't eat less than 80% of my BMR and I eat at least twice or more a day. I have candy/beer fun days then I make sure I work off the extra calories. Yes.. it is that simple.

      We wouldn't have a weight problem in this country if people spent the time in front of TV walking in place instead of reclining and shoving snacks in their face. Expensive to eat healthy? Riiiiight. Those snacks aren't cheap and the $1 fruit parfait is not the number one selling item at McDs. How many people have yards in the states with no real garden in them? Exactly. I rest my case.

      September 20, 2012 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. V

      While some low-income people might be "lazy", consider the example of a low-income, single parent family where the parent has to pull double and triple shifts to help keep up with rent, utilities and taking care of the kids, and that doesn't have a car of her own so has to ask for rides everywhere, or take the bus, or might even have a run-down car that requires ALOT of gas and servicing to keep running...at that point it is lack of resources (time, energy, transportation, access) to be able to prepare healthy food all the time.

      Education plays a big part in this too and it is about coming up with solutions that can meet the logistical demands of these lower-income families. It is easy to tell them "make a sald", it would be more effective to talk with them to understand what the specific reasons are they struggle with good nutirion to make pointed education and give applicable advice instead of speaking in generalities to everyone. Don't get me wrong, there will be pleanty of people who do not listen and guzzle their double cheese burgers, but I think you would be surprise at the number that just need some help.

      September 27, 2012 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • jose

      a cheese or hamburger in any of those fast food restaurant is about 7 dollars, with $7 I can buy a head (at times 2 for $1) of lettuse $1, two punds of tomatoes $2 or less, five lbs of cabbage $1, 4 apples $1, 4 oranges $1, and a melon $1. now, that is seven dollars, I would eat the cheese cake in 4 to 5 minutes and how long or will I even eat all these fresh fruits and veggies in a day? no! so the excuse of fruits and veggies being expensive is not true, its just that people llike to eat fatty foods and not only that they eat too much of it even if it is healthy food. so yes, they are those who blame anything to have excuses for their irresponsible way of handling their body food intake.

      September 28, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  4. The Eternal Satyr

    The 2,000 calorie a day allowance was established during the peak of agricultural and industrial productivity when people were much much more active and burning many more calories than we do now. People back then were more physically fit and were much less prone to obesity. Now, most of us sit in chairs at computers and cash registers all day AND it is so easy to eat more than 2,000 calories a day. And it's not just the calorie intake, it's also the white starchy carbs and the fatty, corn-fed meats. It's combining carbs and fats on one food item – like pizza and cheeseburgers. It's eating potatoes in one form or another at every single meal. It's drinking soda, even diet soda, which is just as bad for you as regular soda. It's medications, like Metformin for diabetes, that can change your body chemistry to such an extent that it's virtually impossible to lose weight. It's the chemicals in plastic that leach out into your food and into what you drink that act like hormones that make it virtually impossible to lose weight. Before we even start puberty, we're caught in an impossible dilemma – either starve yourself or eat until you're obese. We have created an environment, whether by design or by default, in which we are destined to be fat and sick. But, hey, that's good for the GDP right? I mean, health care makes up a very large percentage of what our economists consider to be a hallmark of our financial success as a country. Isn't that what makes America great? Infinite growth! As in the infinite growth of our waistlines...

    September 19, 2012 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rusty

      You know, this is complete BS right?

      Ive done nutritional testing and my body 'core' calorie burn (without exercise) is 2500 calories which means that a 2000 calorie diet would be fine for me if I am trying to lose weight. Maybe thats because I play sports but to denounce it is not accurate out of hand is irresponsible

      Everyone needs to know what their body burns, based on their lifestyle and THEN decide what a healthy diet entails

      Besides , what do you eat every day? The rest of your post was just a rant and didnt provide any value

      Please post your daily food intake so we can learn at the feet of a master

      September 19, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
  5. Carbonman

    American (and Canadians, to a lesser extent) are always after the deal and the easy way. Fast food is marketed to the consumer as an economical option (it isn't) and many people are too lazy to cook nutritious meals for themselves. In the US in particular, people buy homes that are so far away from everything they need on a day to day basis that they drive to pick up dry cleaning, a video, groceries and everything else. If you don't walk anywhere, how can you burn off the extra calories you're eating?
    The American dream is to have a house and land. This is accommodated by families buying in huge subdivisions far from the goods and services they require. The developers buy cheap land in the middle of nowhere and build cheap housing. People like 'the deal' and move to places only accessible by car. The dreams need to change and people have to learn that they can't have everything. Most Americans won't take the tougher path.

    September 19, 2012 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Fat Boy

    Did anybody pause to think if all those pesticides, insecticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals that are used to make plants and animals grow faster and bigger somehow got into our bodies and scramble our inner balance? What if some of us are more sensitive than others to all these chemicals. Maybe the inactivity and portion size are only part of the problem!!!

    September 19, 2012 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dave Meltzer

    Is this a joke article? CNN is seriously quoting these fake names and calling it news? Higher standards are expected – this is not CNN, merely a failure of an idea by an intern

    September 19, 2012 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Pete

    Obesity is first the fault of the individual. They are the ones who cannot control their urges and don't want to exercise. It should be your own responsibility to take care of yourself. With that being said, society holds part of the blame. Fattening foods are cheaper than healthy foods. All of the advertising is for addictive sugar laiden processed food. Misinformation is running rampant when people think that they can just take a pill to make themselves thinner and healthier. Society must provide the tools to success. People must use them. Both are failing.

    September 19, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Name* sara

      This is a ridiculous claim to those that really have tried to lose weight the "right" way and failed. I exercised intensely 4 days a week and ate 1500 calories for at least a year...and Gained weight. It's not just about calories; nutrients are key. I stopped the craziness with dieting, switched to a whole food, traditional diet with less grains and no calorie restriction, and lost 20 pounds in one year. I eat 1 gallon of whole raw milk, 1/2 a pound of butter

      September 20, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
  9. Nate

    Natural selection would deal with this "epidemic." Unfortunately it does not exist anymore for the human race in developed societies.

    September 19, 2012 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Al Russell

      Natural selection would only work if it stopped people from becoming obese before they had offspring.

      September 19, 2012 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      Al, Selective mating is having the same effect as is reduced fertility among the overweight. However, the question arises as to whether this is what we want. These forces favor the thinner genes, people who either are driven to eat less or process it less efficiently – or both. In the short term this is good, while surplus exists. But the likely scenario is that this won't last, and that the eater genes will again be desirable. We probably want to maintain, and will maintain, some genetic diversity. In the man time, it seems advisable to try to keep as much of the population as possible healthy. This doesn't have to mean draconian measures, but simply cutting down on aggressive marketing of unhealthy options, reducing triggers to overeat, and encouraging a lifestyle in which activity is the norm.

      September 19, 2012 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
  10. Lone

    I'd be more worried about some of the people around here who are already dead and ugly on the inside. A shame we can't change society to exclude them, or pressure them to straighten out their overflowing self-hate. On any given day I'll take a decent obese person, who could easily be fit in a year, over a social corpse who spends their life reliving high school or selling their past for cheap kicks.

    (And before you call me fat because I'm being empathetic (look it up), no one has any reason to believe that you're not, not online, when obesity is 1 in 3 in the US. You have no excuse for getting therapy, or growing up, any more than a fat person has for losing weight.)

    September 19, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Al Russell

    If the number of calories going in is higher than the calories going out you will get fat. People make this sound like rocket science, with all the statistics, BMI, etc... but it really IS that simple. Eat less and exercise more and you will maintain a healthy weight, barring a thyroid problem, which is actually far more rare than people make it out to be. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it takes effort, but once you get used to eating less and moving around it gets much easier. Go out for a walk. It's free. One more tip- if you are eating at McDonald's or Burger King more than once every two months you are eating too much fast food. Stop it.

    September 19, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      Actually, it is much more complicated than that. You are right about the 1st law of thermo, but what you're forgetting is that different foods trigger different responses from the body. High fructose corn syrup doesn't release fat and doesn't make the brain feel "full". It doesn't make the body burn energy and it makes us want to eat more. What we put in our bodies makes a HUGE difference, which is why we need to seriously address our food supply if we're ever going to tackle the obesity problem.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Al Russell

      You are right Jake. I was oversimplifying. However, eating healthy is also not terribly difficult. Most of us know very well what we SHOULD be eating. I generally avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and processed carbohydrates whenever possible. It's also not nearly as expensive as people say. Sure, you can go all out and buy all your vegetables, eggs, cheese, bread and milk from the farmer's market and it can quickly become very pricy. But you can get everything you need at the grocery store. If you eat less you can buy less as well. Just pass by the top shelf junk food (because they do tend to put the healthier stuff on the lower shelves in our grocery store) and mind your budget. It CAN be done without breaking the bank.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  12. DocMountain

    I think its more a problem of our society then people give it credit for. In today's American society, everything is built on being faster, easier and quicker. Americans want things yesterday, they don't want to have to wait to get something, make something, download something, etc. One problem is when that is many Americans apply that to food too. They want their food now, already prepared, no cleaning/preparation/general waiting required. The problem is eating that way is terrible for you. Fast food is bad for you, but try having a low calorie, low fat, low sugar, low salt meal at any restraurant. Its almost impossible. We could also talk about portion size and how in the United States, bigger is always better. Bigger car, bigger house, bigger wallet, bigger/taller cheese burger. The triple cheeseburger at Wendy's should be outlawed. The only truely healthy way to eat is to prepare food from home. And I'm not talking about microwavable meals, or meals out of a box, but actually taking the time to cook a meal, and having more vegatables then potatos. Given these two things, we have American society constantly want bigger and bigger portions, at ready now times, AND we teach these values to our children. These are our societies values that are some of the principal causes of the obesity issue, so why isn't our society wanting to take some of the responsibility for them then.

    September 19, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Al Russell

      I've noticed that at Hardee's the small sodas are MORE expensive than the mediums. They are also huge. A small is now what I remember a large being when I was a child. The portion sizes are creeping up.

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

      Al, Unfortunately I think it has to be cold turkey on the sodas in todays society. The biggest difference I see between the thin and the overweight is that the thin drink water while everyone else drinks soda, be it "diet" or regular.

      September 19, 2012 at 20:11 | Report abuse |
  13. jim111506

    The key to all of this is to admit that fat people are undeserving of basic human rights and respect. They ought to be humiliated publicly and forced to apologize for being disgusting. It's the only way to solve the fatty problem.

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

      I respect sarcasm, but prefer it when it comes with a point.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • jim111506

      Jake, the eternal optimist! I wasn't being sarcastic; I was just trolling.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Well you caught one! 🙂

      September 19, 2012 at 19:37 | Report abuse |
    • jim111506

      O.K., I'll leave you guys to your serious conversation. If I offended anyone, please don't give it another thought.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • judy


      October 2, 2012 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  14. Jake

    The only way we will ever tackle obesity is by addressing our food supply. As long as our grocery stores are filled with high fructose corn syrup products, we will have an obesity problem. Yes, at an individual level, people should make the right decisions. At a macro level, that's just naive to expect.

    The solution is this: 1) Eliminate farm subsidies (corn subsidies are the main cause of this mess), 2) Ban high fructose corn syrup

    Do that and obesity rates will be down 50% in 10 years.

    September 19, 2012 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Al Russell

      While I totally agree with you about High Fructose corn Syrup, I don't want to turn the US into a Nanny state, where we have to ban junk food in order to make people's decisions for them. High taxes on junk food might be an option. If that money could be filtered into funding medical care for the diseases those products cause it would be even better. The corn subsidies really do have to go though. It would be brilliant if we could shift those subsidies to farmers who grow healthy foods.

      September 19, 2012 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Russell, I responded but it didn't go through. I'll try again.

      I would rather not regulate things, but if something is clearly horrible for us, basically poison, I'm willing to consider it. When you consider the economic cost of having high fructose corn syrup in so many of our food choices, it makes me want to do something about it. I mean, if someone really wants it, keep it legal to buy it somewhere but not in a grocery store. High fructose corn syrup is certainly on the same scale as alcohol and cigarettes in terms of public health.

      And my other question to you is are you British?

      September 19, 2012 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
    • JCR

      Jake, I agree this approach is bizarrely naive. Arguing that this *should* be handled by the individual is like arguing that men *should* look only at a woman's brains in picking a mate. People living in a fantasy world are not going to get things done. We know what environments gave us a thin society before, we just need to figure out what aspects of that we can replicate.

      September 19, 2012 at 20:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      JCR, I agree. I have more to say, but my posts don't seem to be going through.

      September 19, 2012 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  15. Jake

    Basically, many of us know what needs to be done, but our system is built to prevent any revolutionary changes (ironically). It's a plus in many ways, but will unfortunately lead to our inevitable downfall unless / until we change it.

    September 19, 2012 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mutt

    Obesity is one of the most preventable conditions yet this has more obesity disgustingly than any other country. People have two choices but laziness and lack of self discipline usually prevail when it comes to their health and will only do something about their obesity when they are rushed to the hospial and are barely able to fit throught the door.

    September 19, 2012 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Trent

    According to the Democrats it's the government's fault for letting people eat what they want instead of controlling that people eat. So they are starting to contorl what you eat now..NYC for example.

    September 19, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Angie Helms

    Hello! I grew up on beans, pinto beans and rice, a complete protein. Cost? Pennies. People expect fast food. Go use your 10.00 to buy some beans and greens with a little ham hock and you can eat for a week. People want sweet, salty, fatty. I never had ice cream, milk shakes, or burgers, or any fast foodl. It was a treat to go out to eat or get donuts or even a soda.. Fries, yea when momma bought a whole bag of potatoes for 1.50 and cooked them, and they are just about as cheap now. Now days no one is at home to cook. Yea fruit is expensive, but most veggies are not. Ever see anyone eat a beet? Talk about cheap! When's the last time you saw some roasted carrots? Again, a whole bag last all week. My mom made roast, potatoes and carrots for VERY cheap. And we ate it two or three nights in a row. People are spoiled on fast food.

    September 19, 2012 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. John

    If anyone seriously wants to understand obesity, then they need to read "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubes. You need to look at actual science and not just spout a bunch of conventional wisdom. It's very easy to say that fat people are fat because they make bad choices, but there are very clear medical and dietary drivers that have nothing to do with levels of excercise or even the number of calories consumed.

    September 20, 2012 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. grow up

    The majority of the previous comments were penned by people who clearly have no personal or familial experience with weight issues. Hence the gross oversimplification and utter lack of understanging or empathy. People who are obese are not so simply because they lack willpower or self-discipline, as good as it might make a slender person feel to think so. Overeating is an addiction, just like alcoholism or drug abuse. But, unlike these other addictions, the overeater must eat to live and, thus, it becomes a daily struggle to moderate the addiction. Please understand that nobody wants to be fat. Nobody wants to look unattractive, be made fun of, or die young. Why, then, would that not be incentive enough for an obese person to lose weight? The answer is that the compulsion to eat is overwhelming. It satisfies both biochemical and emotional needs and until you or someone you love has experienced it, you do not know of what you speak.

    To the majority of you posters, it sure feels good, doesn't it, when you don't share a particular problem, to sit in superior and self-righteous judgment of someone who does? You've found something you can pick on to feel better about yourselves. Well, I'm sure you all have your foibles, your character deficits, and your own crosses to bear. So, please cease your smugly self-satisfied and uninformed comments. We are all of us imperfect.

    September 20, 2012 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lanfear

      I say, welcome to life. It's full of challenges, ups and downs. It is up to us to overcome them. Strong minded people do. Weak minded people simply cannot overcome their addictions and ultimately, it is still their personal responsibility.
      Personally, I struggled with alcohol in my previous relationship because my partners ex, and mother in law drove me crazy. I drank every day to escape and it got to the point where I simply could not go without my alcohol. I even began drinking on my lunch hour at work. I gained about 35lbs and I was judged, I hated how I looked. I've come a long way since then.
      My point is that I did not blame anybody but myself. I did not look at my problem as a "disease". I did not play the victim card. I got my shiit together. Now I have more self confidence than I've ever had. Dumping the ex helped but the alcohol addiction was still something separate that I had to overcome, along with losing the weight. It's been an emotional and empowering journey.

      I don't agree with bullying or being "mean" to people that are overweight. But, the excuses are tiresome because these people are mentally and physically capable of helping themselves, through will-power and hard work. If you are content with being obese then you are in no place to complain about the consequences or complain about how society percieves you. Just my opinion.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
  21. Thomas

    The complicated part in this is that everyody has a marginally different metabolism. Personally i have protein/fat superior metabolism and my body performs better using those substrates. My calorie intake is rouglhy 25% protein 25% fat and 50% carbohydrate which is massivly different from the tex book guidelines of 15% protein 15% fat and 70% carbs but it is what works for me, i did a series of trial and error experiments by varying my diet every 2 weeks and scrupulously recording everything i ate, with its nutrutional info and compared to to my energy levels and mood 8 times a day and as a resuly i have more energy and feel so much better than i did before without changing he amount of calories i consume.

    But while it is true there are multiple genetic factors that influence the way the human body stores, distributes and burns fat the amount of calories you consume is still crucial. ultimatly it comes down to a very simple equation.

    Energy in – Energy out = Energy stored

    if you consume more calories than you burn the excess will be stored simple as that. Unfortunatly though burning more calories than you consume does not guarantee you will make up the difference by burning you fat reserves, alot of people will burn protein instead if they have a similar metabolims to mine. in which case to lose the fat you need to lower the carb contence of your diet and increase the protein content. The human body primaily uses carbs as its primary energy source followed by fats then protein, so by taking in calories as protein over carbs you force your body to adjust

    September 20, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. John

    For all of you who are judging people's value and worth by their weight.... I am 280 lbs, my IQ is in the top 2%, and I have a STEM job where I am among the top in my field. I contribute to the greater good of society every single day, and I would bet I've done more for society than a lot of you skinny folks spewing hate on here. You want "survivial of the fittest"? Some of you skinny folks aren't even worth the air you are breathing or the space you take up. There is more than physical fitness to consider even if you are going to be so cruel to try and decide the worth of an individual based on your ignorant measuring sticks.

    September 20, 2012 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jena

    Time to get back to personal responsibility. If you stuff crap food in your mouth, it's YOUR fault!!

    September 20, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Regina

    Sarah, LanFEAR, et. al. - Do some homework. Many, manyoverweight people are on life-saving medications THAT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN! Remember those millions on Prozac? Well, just about every one of the medications available for depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia causes weight gain.

    You know what, fat disturbs me as well. But how about those people, for example, who were brutally sexually assaulted as children. Sometimes abuse victims will unknowingly try to protect themselves by gaining weight. I'm damn tired of the lack of charity and compassion in this country.

    Other people have lived lives you cannot imagine. You have NO RIGHT to judge.

    September 20, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Regina

    Sarah, LanFEAR, et. al. - Do some homework. Many, manyoverweight people are on life-saving medications THAT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN! Remember those millions on Prozac? Well, just about every one of the medications available for depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia causes weight gain.

    You know what, fat disturbs me as well. But how about those people, for example, who were brutally sexually assaulted as children. Sometimes abuse victims will unknowingly try to protect themselves by gaining weight.

    I'm damn tired of the lack of charity and compassion in this country. Other people have lived lives you cannot imagine. You have NO RIGHT to judge.

    September 20, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lanfear

      Perhaps you need to do some "homework" in the health and fitness world, where anything is truly possible but only when you believe in yourself. A world where you only fail when you give up.

      I am well aware that medications can cause weight gain. Some people put on weight easier than others and it has nothing to do with medication. But none of that precludes you from exercising or living a healthier lifestyle. It might mean that you have to be more careful with what you eat and how much. It might mean that you have to exercise more than the average person. Such is life. 4.7% of americans have a thyroid condition and I have personally spoken with a couple people who were still able to lose and maintain a healthy weight despite their condition. I also have personal trainer friends who have taken obese clients and the majority of them give up within the first week. Most of the people who use medication, medical conditions, genes as an excuse for their weight, do not exercise every day. They do not eat properly. They use their condition, whatever it may be, as an excuse to live a very unhealthy lifestyle. This is why they get "judged" by society. People like you coddle them and are part of the problem. Lack of charity? I'd say there's far too much out there.

      September 20, 2012 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      And being beaten, etc, while I have sympathy for those victims, is still no excuse. As I said earlier, life is full of obstacles and we need to be the bigger person and overcome them, not succ-umb to weakness. Everybody has their problems and that's why most people don't want to hear it. There are many people who survive abuse and go on to live normal, healthy lives. Sure life for them might be a struggle, obviously, but ultimately we are still responsible for our own actions.

      September 20, 2012 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  26. grow up

    Well-said, John. I am an obese, Ivy-League-trained, municipal attorney, also with an IQ in the top 2%, and I work for the greater good, as well. I doubt that many of the posters, here, of vitriol and invective against the obese can match our intellectual and professional attainments or social utility. Sadly for them, in this day and age, intellectual ability counts for more than physical, which may explain why they feel compelled to jeer at the physical appearance of those less physically perfect than they.

    September 20, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. grow up

    Lanfear, I am glad that your story turned out well. Good for you. However, what you present is anecdotal evidence–one person's success story. The number of people who lose weight and keep it off over the long-term is woefully small and there are good, biologically-based reasons for that. Please read some solid, scientific literature on the subject, if you are interested–perhaps the book that John suggests. There was also a good program on PBS, once, which discussed set points, cellular and neural biochemical impulses, and other factors (genetic included), which are responsible for some people's predisposition to gain weight and their seeming inability to permanently reduce it. Lanfear, you seem like a well-intentioned person, and someone who is amenable to reason. Please don't join the handful of people who, having successfully lost weight or conquered some other addiction, themselves, becomes sanctimonious towards the rest of us who have yet to succeed.

    Jena, I would venture that eating properly and making good food choices has never been a struggle for you. If you've never had to struggle, then you've never had to overcome. You needn't feel so virtuous.

    Regina, thank you for exhibiting some compassion.

    September 20, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lanfear

      I understand what you are saying but I do not need scientific literature to tell me why most people can't keep the weight off. It's pretty obvious when I look at the world around me. It's because Americans are fixated on quick, easy fixes. They see a "diet" as a temporary thing, so they make healthy choices temporarily and after they lose weight they revert back to their old lifestyle. When your body weight goes up and down over and over again it is highly damaging and it becomes even harder for your body to lose weight the next time around. That's why if you truly want to keep the pounds off you will need to change your entire lifestyle, permanently, rather than "go on a diet".

      I don't look down on people who can't achieve their goals, but I can't respect those who give up on them.

      September 20, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • jose

      You really believe that obesity is because it is a biological inprinting? Then try my way for a few months and you will see how erroneus you are. This is it, first you don't blame anything body but you for your eating habits, you need to realize it is you who is putting the tremendous amount of food in your body, not that anyone is forcing you to do it. Second, eat a recomended portion size on every meal. Then eat fruits and vegetables to help you feel lighter and more confortable, but eat your regular food, but less in size. Then everyday, go to the gym or park in your area and first walk 30 or so minutes, then jog for 30 or more minutes or combine jogging and walking at times or do slight jogging. Then you get a habit of doing this everyday for the rest of your life and you will see how obesity is just a fake condition which people would like you to believe you were borned with and therefore you have to have that. is it hard to do these simple things, no if you do it everyday and yes if you are not used to doing them, but once you get into the habit you will see, it is ok and you will be healthier and more confy in your daily like-now obese people have the tendency to say its my body, its not your business, I love me like this, I like my figure and etc, excuses to keep doing what is wrong, if you are one of those then you will not lose weight and will keep saying ok its in my genes and I can't do what this guy is saying because I have a medical excuse-I tell you there is not such a thing as a predipose genetic habit on you, you make it as you live your life and that is ultimately up to you

      September 28, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
  28. grow up

    And, yes, alcoholism and other addictions are diseases. One should strive to overcome them because the consequences of failing to do so are life-threatening. However, please don't heap abuse on those who still struggle or who fail to succeed.

    September 20, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. grow up

    Okay, Lanfear. I can agree with a number of the statements in your repy to my post. I've got to get back to work. I've enjoyed our discussion. Good luck.

    September 20, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. John

    Lanfear, when you say that you "do not need scientific literature to tell me why most people can't keep the weight off" let me simply say that people used to think they didn't need science to show them the earth was the center of the solar system instead of the sun. They just knew it was so. That's why the science is so important.. what you "know" may not be correct.

    September 20, 2012 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. grow up

    Actually, I agree with John's point, but had earlier decided to disengage from this discussion. Since John raises the point, let me add my two cents. As a general proposition, if you profess to be qualified to speak on a topic, you should be willing to further educate yourself about it. Many people, here, are self-styled experts, who appear to think they know better than the real experts in their fields.

    Finally, let me say that the tenor of this conversation, the underlying premise/assumption, has been that obesity is a moral failing and, thus, people who are obese are justifiably assailable. I don't think we would be spewing quite the same venom at people with other types of ailments and addictions. Every one of you who is not obese, thank your lucky stars you don't share this affliction.

    September 21, 2012 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Linda

    We ate out at a restaurant the other night, and were celebrating a special occasion. I wanted to have a light dessert, but there were none. All of the desserts were very fattening, and also sickening sweet. I often will find that so many foods are produced in restaurants and by food manufactuers with huge amounts of sugars, fats, carbs in them. It is true that many people are busy and would like foods that are quick, easy, and taste good. But, many food manufactured by the food industry, and available are loaded with fats and sugars and are very fattening. It is up to the individual to make good choices as far as what they eat, and to be more active, but it would be easier to do that, if there were more healthy choices, and fewer unhealthy ones.

    September 21, 2012 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Angry Previous Fat Dude

    Shame on you "CNN", for allowing these twits and bullies to continue the REAL weight problem of America.
    I'm sure, if truth be told, most of the weight problem of America has been initiated by the type of people who have insensitively commented on this subject, here and elsewhere. They are the same people who were bullies as kids, telling their overweight classmates how ugly they were and convincing them that they were worthless. This has caused a large portion of people, that began a vicious cycle from their young school days, to carry a low self esteem and comfort eat to hide their hurt. This ends up to be an unimaginable habit of devastation to themselves and our nation.

    I would really like to see how one of these twits breaks a lifelong habit from their lives. I'm sure they would discover the difficulty, and might be more sensitive to commenting on issues that overweight people try to remove from their habits.

    I've had bariatric surgery, hoping it would be a great tool in the discovery of how to break the eating habits, however as much as it has been a great tool of discovering my habits, it has not (in itself) helped me to CHANGE/REMOVE those habits. Like the smoker, I won't quit quitting though. And despite the twits and bullies, I am doing this for myself. It's my decision, not the pressure of the public. I wholeheartedly believe, encouragement and support will help a person break habits must faster and easily, than the badgering and blaming that the public currently do to obese people.

    btw.... for the idiot that thinks taxing overweight people would solve health issues of America, why not tax every insensitive comment, that twits like you make, and see which produces more money and has more effect in the long run of solving the health issues. For that matter, let's tax our politicians for every lie they tell, and see how much money it produces to help Healthcare...... we may even wipe out the national deficit, eh?

    September 24, 2012 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. e

    Obesity is not a "Fault" it is a lifestyle.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. julie

    I don't think we should legislate stupidity. The fact is in america we are surrounded by TONS of yummy and fattening restaurants and foods that people eat for a majority of meals. Drive down busy streets and its literally 2 restaurants every block. Its about resisting temptation. I don't think its a reversible thing, some people just don't have much will power. Reminds my of my beloved doggy. Left to his own devises he'll eat himself into oblivion. 🙂 I don't think there is a solution other than personal responsibility because we'd have to shut down most restaurants or track everyones consumption to limit calories, etc. Unrealistic.

    September 27, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Santa M.

    ALL THE HEALTHIER FOOD IS EXPENSIVE, WHILE THE JUNK FOOD IS MORE ACCESSIBLE. FOR EXAMPLE, AT MCDONALDS YOU CAN GET A SODA FOR ONLY A DOLLAR, BUT IF YOU GO TO THE STORE AND TRY TO BUY FRUIT, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU SPEND MUCH, MUCH MORE. Who’s to blame? Most people say: we are. We choose what we eat. But a growing number of advocates, nutritionists, and lawyers are taking the struggle from the food court to the court of law. They want to sue the companies that make and market what’s on your plate. Is this just the latest example of a lawsuit-happy society shirking responsibility? Or are lawsuits a powerful weapon to combat our nation’s obesity epidemic?

    September 27, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. jennifer holland

    the animal fat myth and the low fat diets are causing the problem. there is not a healthy one size fits all for human beings and you can be fat and fit and there is no association of high cholesterol being associated with heart disease – it is inflammation and a certain type b of the LDL protein that creates plaque in arteries and leads to heart disease. the reason none of this is known is MONEY – plain and simple. It is a billion dollar diet and cholesterol lowering drug industry that stands in the way and they are going to fight to keep the messages that fat and cholesterol are unhealthy since once the truth is known they are going to lose all that money. Don't believe me – do your own research.

    September 27, 2012 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. MIke from Denver

    Its the individuals fault. People do not have to eat fast food and unhealthy food. There are options. Nobody is forcing you to eat the junk food. Also people have to learn potion control. You don't have to eat everything in front of you. I lost 50lbs in 11 weeks simply by changing my diet and exercising moderately (walking and light jogging). I cut sodas completely from my diet (absolutely no need to drink sodas.) I cut down on the processed sugars and starting eating more fruit/veggies. I stay away from high fat proteins, although I still like eating a good steak or burger. It is all about personal responsibility. I find it interesting that people who succeed at reaching their goals take personal responsibility for reaching the goals. While people who don't reach there goals blame other people.

    September 28, 2012 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Regina

    LANFEAR–So, you would expect people who are very sick–those suffering from clinical depression–to "take responsibility for themselves?" Do you expect cancer patients to exercise and take personal responsibility for themselves. How about my friend, who suffers from a pituitary gland tumor. Should she take responsibility? I'm trying to take responsibility for menopause weight gain in addition to the medication that causes it.

    Meanwhile, I'll take a weight test and pay extra if I'm deemed too fat. Will you take an intelligence test as the criteria for voting?

    September 28, 2012 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Lardlad

    Until we stop dealing with obesity as if it is a math problem and more like a biological one, it will continue.

    September 28, 2012 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Peyton

    I feel the point of school lunches are not to determine how students will eat, but just to make sure they're fed. Students will throw away food that doesn't taste good, complain that they're old favorite foods are gone, and eventually stop buying lunches and start bringing them. I figure the best idea would be to simply give students the choice. Do you have to give them all the choices? No. But give them enough variety and taste in those choices that they'll actually buy lunch from the school.

    September 28, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jose

    Obesity is a self inflicted condition which some people would like to blame on others, healthcare, not enough fresh fruits all year around and so more excuses. You are the one who eats and decide what to eat and how much to eat. If we had self control or cared about something like our health or family, we would not eat so much it would not be a problem. Having health insurance is not a solution, not eat too much is a solution. Eating healthy foods is not a solution, not eating too much healthy food is a solution. There is not one single bad food for you out there, none I tell you, the problem araises when you eat too much of it and it does not matte what the food is you need to eat in moderation not stuff yourself with it. So don't blame health companies,they don't put the food in your plate, don't blame lack of fresh fruits and veggies all year round, this is the only country where you can get fresh produce all year round and nevertheless, it will not help since what you are eating is too much of whatever you are eating since that is the reason why you are obese. Stop blaming others and stop eating so much and start moving, move, exercise, move, but move enough for you to be healthy, and maybe that is the only thing you can do a lot of, movement

    September 28, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. jose

    Incredible, as I keep reading this I keep reading that people in low income families will get fat because they are on a budget and who are these people who think that meat and fast foods are creaper than vegetables and fruits? People I buy $10 worth of vegies and fruits and it will take my family over three days to consume them:apples, lettuse, cabbage, pears, melons, oranges, grapes and let say I spend $25 worth of it with others, corrots, peas etc, we can't eat $25 worth in a week and we go to a fast food restaurant and we by $30 worth of fast food and we eat this in 5 minutes or less. Incredilble the stupidity which is implied in these false comments and reasoning, itis just not true. Poor people like fatty food and meat and cheese and cakes and pastry, don't say its because these things are cheaper than fruits and vegetables it is just a big big big lie which I don't know who they are selling this to, but its complete intestinal waste to say that, sorry, but what an idiocy in that reasoning. uufff who are these people? Who are these masters of studies? That is why I see and deduct, these studies are from stupid people, don't listen to them, they are wrong, very wrong.

    September 28, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. mapaxn

    I have a novel idea. How about let's stop the blame game and work together as a society that promotes physical AND emotional well being by not bullying fat people. I'm sure that all the crapola rants here aren't going to help fat people lose weight or feel any better about themselves. So how about instead of being a total jerk, you try another approach that actually gets results.

    September 29, 2012 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Kishan Shah

    Hi – I have battled my weight all my life. I started from 400 lbs and have dropped down to 190 lbs through pure diet and exercise, without the help of surgeries, trainers or fad diets. I researched proper nutrition for months and implemented a program. I worked and reworked and have been at it for years. I had an article in HuffPo which explains it all:

    September 30, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. marie

    people need to take responsibility for their weight. as someone who has lost almost 100 lbs of weight, I know. government intervention can only help = people who do not know what to do or where to start. please dont assume people know what to do or have the incentive to lose weight. if the thought of being healthier would really be enough, everyone would be perfect weight per their height. the highly processed food of our nation has made the taste of natural foods seem unnatural. natural food and exercise is the only answer. that is not easy for most people to swallow. good luck.

    September 30, 2012 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Dave

    I am sick of my tax money and insurance money going for the care of these fat lazy people like Chris Christy Rush Limbaugh and dick Cheney

    October 2, 2012 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. athleteinthemaking

    I believe that the obesity problem is a combination of several of the factors being bounced around here on this forum: individual responsibility, higher cost of healthy food and educational needs. Unfortunately, the obese need to realize that nothing in our society will change fast so it is ultimately up to the individual to take a stand for their health and make changes. If you wait for the government/society to fix the problem you will wait yourself to an early grave.

    October 2, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sally

    Six months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and had to switch to a gluten free diet. Since then I have lost 80 lbs without even dieting. The difference is this: before diagnosis I was constantly hungry, now I am not. Eating food with gluten had damaged my intestines so that they could not absorb essential nutrients. I could eat food, and store it as fat, but my brain thought I was starving because I was not getting the nutrients my body needed. After switching to gluten-free foods, my body was able to recover its ability to absorb nutrients, and I am no longer suffering from hunger pangs all the time – in fact, sometimes I forget to eat a meal when I am busy, and I still don't get any stomach pains.

    There are many reasons for obesity, and not all of them are simple to overcome. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who, due to relocating for work, went to a new doctor – who apparently checks all her obese patients for any underlying medical conditions that may be a factor.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Todd

    FEAR is the biggest cause of obesity.
    Fear causes stress, stress slows our metabolism down.
    Fear keeps us inside so we are not going outside to exercise. A culture of ridicule of the obese increases the fear of being insulted if you are overweight to to to get better.
    Because parents are afraid to let their kids go out and play, kids learn to entertain themselves inside, rising childhood obesity and teaching them to fear the outside world.
    The people who are less better off, is partially due to them fearing to take risks that lead to success+often living in more dangerous areas increasing fear.
    Fear is a primal feeling, thus we crave more primal food high in sugar and fats as our animal instinct takes this fear as going to a state of starvation.

    We need to find a way to avoid fear. To go out and be proud of ourselves. However this type of stuff will never make it on CNN as they make their money off of causing fear

    October 3, 2012 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.