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 (1,349 Responses)
  1. Williamlem

    erectile dysfunction medications

    March 19, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ShaneCag

    sky pharmacy canada where to buy viagra over the counter

    March 19, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. EdwardSwogy

    http://www.skypharmacyreview.com trusted Pharmacy

    March 20, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Williamlem

    medication ed

    March 20, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ShaneCag

    viagra online canadian pharmacy cheap viagra

    March 20, 2021 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ThomasBot

    generic cialis online pharmacy reviews

    March 20, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EdwardSwogy

    northwest pharmacy canada

    March 20, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ShaneCag

    canadian pharcharmy generic viagra india

    March 21, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Marvintoing

    healthy man cialis

    March 21, 2021 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. EdwardSwogy

    sky pharmacy

    March 21, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ThomasBot

    pharmacy rx one review

    March 21, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. EdwardSwogy

    canadian pharm support group

    March 21, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ThomasBot

    online pharmacy

    March 21, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. EdwardSwogy

    sky pharmacy canada

    March 22, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. erotic massage london

    Fantastic blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool.


    March 22, 2021 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. EdwardSwogy

    sky pharmacy online drugstore review

    March 22, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. JosephNam


    March 23, 2021 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ThomasBot

    usa pharmacy no script

    March 23, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ShaneCag

    http://www.canadianpharmacymall.net viagra cost

    March 23, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. EdwardSwogy

    online pharmacies

    March 23, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. JosephNam

    black cialis

    March 23, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. ThomasBot

    online pharmacy no prescription

    March 23, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. EdwardSwogy

    canada pharmacy online

    March 24, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ShaneCag

    cialis for sale canada buy strong viagra uk 64

    March 24, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JosephNam


    March 24, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. ThomasBot

    canadian pharmacy

    March 24, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. ShaneCag

    canadianmeds24h generic viagra from usa

    March 24, 2021 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. ThomasBot

    online pharmacy

    March 25, 2021 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JosephNam


    March 25, 2021 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. ShaneCag

    levitra from canada brand viagra 100mg cheapest

    March 25, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ThomasBot

    pharmacy on line

    March 25, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. ShaneCag

    canadian pharm support group generic viagra with overnight delivery

    March 26, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. ThomasBot

    canadian pharmacy online no script

    March 26, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ShaneCag

    tadalafil canadian pharmacy online pfizer viagra price

    March 27, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax 100mg maxifort 50 mg

    March 27, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. KennethPoelm

    cheap viagra canada Canadian Health Care Mall Pharmacy viagra super active plus

    March 27, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Marvintoing

    healthy man viagra scam

    March 27, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. EdwardSwogy

    sky pharmacy online

    March 27, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax 100mg maxifort zimax mexico

    March 27, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. KennethPoelm

    buy viagra with debit card 59 Canadian Health Care Mall Pharmacy the real viagra on line non perscripton

    March 28, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. EdwardSwogy

    canadian pharmacies mail order

    March 28, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax mexico maxifort online

    March 28, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Marvintoing

    healthy men viagra

    March 28, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. EdwardSwogy

    online pharmacy

    March 28, 2021 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax sildenafil 50 mg maxifort zimax mexico

    March 29, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. KennethPoelm

    viagra vs cialis North West Pharmacy healthy man viagra reviews

    March 29, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax 100 mg maxifort zimax 100mg

    March 29, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. KennethPoelm

    free viagra sample pack online Canadian Health Care pfizer viagra on sale

    March 29, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. EdwardSwogy

    sky pharmacy online drugstore

    March 30, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. CharlesGlalf

    maxifort zimax sildenafil 50 mg maxifort online

    March 30, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Post a comment


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

About this blog

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