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Where is the U.S. headed if 42% of us are obese by 2030?
May 8th, 2012
03:41 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if 42% of us are obese by 2030?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A dramatic warning about just how fat Americans are getting: By 2030, 42% of people in the United States will be obese. Yes, 42%.

According to a new study, 11% of them will be severely obese, meaning that they are 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight.

Already in 2010, 36% of adults are obese, or roughly 30 pounds over a healthy weight, and 6% are severely obese.

If the obesity rate increases as predicted, it could mean we'd have more than 100 million obese people in the U.S. in just 18 years.

The numbers are staggering, and they come with a huge price tag.

This report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests the increase in obesity would cost an additional $550 billion from now until 2030 in medical expenditures.

It's estimated an obese person costs at least $1,400 more in medical expenses per year than someone who has a healthy weight.

Carrying around all that fat increases your risk for many other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, several types of cancer and sleep apnea, not to mention a shorter life expectancy.

Obesity is one of the biggest reasons why health care spending has been skyrocketing in the last 20 years.

The report’s authors say we have an environment in the U.S. that promotes obesity, with fast-food chains, cheap junk food and technologies, like the Internet, that keep people sitting at home and at their offices all day long.

Meanwhile, this study doesn't even address children. Currently, one out of every three children in the United States is obese or overweight.

Here’s my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if 42% of us are obese by 2030?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    Straight to the grave before our time. Put the 'Governator' back to work as the advocate for health and physical education for the U.S.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  2. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Did you ever take notice that wealthy people are in better shape then the average citizen? I think the obesity problem is a big one, no fun intended. But when times are rough the only thing people can afford is cheap food which has a lot of fat and calories in it. When the other side of the fence the wealthy attend expensive health clubs, are able to eat healthy foods and if they go off the reservation they have health insurance that will cover operations and tummy tucks to make them thin again. But no need to worry if Romney becomes president the average citizen will lose their healthcare, Medicare and Social Security. There will be a lot of skinny people running around like in the Great Depression eating a lot less.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. Pete in Georgia

    Where are we headed ??
    To the nearest graveyard.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Bill of New Mexico

    Not to worry:

    World oil production peaked in 2010. Expensive fuel cannot produce as much fertilizer and food. World food production will be falling by 2020.

    Presently, US imports more food than it exports. With its failing economy, US will not import food by 2020. Plus global warming will strike US food production hard by 2020.

    So by 2030, America will be as trim as it was in 1930!

    May 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  5. Gary in San Jose, California

    Some of us will be headed for the good life. Think of the benefits of an obese and aging population. Ski lift lines will be shorter. Hunting tags will be easier to get. My son's medical career will flourish. Go ahead, chow down!

    May 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  6. JIM/ Florida

    We, as a nation, are headed down the tubes. we're in deep trouble and sinking fast. One can only hope our children are a lot smarter than we have been about our health. otherwise they too shall perish early.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    This assumes no disruption in food and no epidemic due to antibiotic resistance. It could be that the obese may be the only ones who survive global disease and famine. Of course, they can't be that healthy either, because much of their weight gain is due to sugared juices and sodas, snack food and the need to rely on cheap calories due to the low levels of financial support given to those on public assistance, which makes healthy food unaffordable. The fact that the GOP supports both these poor nutrition levels and subsidies to growing cheap corn, as well as lax animal husbandry regulation that leads to bacteriologic resistance means that they are not only fleecing us, they are trying to killl us.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  8. DT - Saint Paul, MN

    Well the first and obvious solution is to eliminate the FDA. The FDA regulates food. We've been told regulations cost jobs, which is bad.

    Secondly, we have to increase food production. More food requires more jobs. Jobs are good. If people eat more, good will come of it through jobs. We could even convince people to eat more food than required to increase jobs.

    Third, we have to make food cheaper. Cheaper is good because then you can buy more food. Of course we already know more food is good because of jobs.

    Fourth, we have to be aware of the fact that nothing involving a job can contribute to obesity, or unhealthy food.

    There. I just solved the problem.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  9. Ed from California

    We're probably headed to a slab, in the basement of our county morgue. Why, are we fat? Too many Papa Johns?, Mickey D's? Sugary foods? We have become a nation that doesn't work, we consume. And we consume everything....communist made Chinese products, fast food, pizza's, beer, drugs (of all kinds). Our kids are getting dumber by the second,,,the High School dropout rate is near 25%. So those 25%, pollute the gene pool and produce more and more dummies. And then those kids are destined for destruction. It's a vicious cycle. How many families still eat together, in the same room? Not many, I suspect. It's our own damn fault, we took our collective eye off the ball and we let folks with an agenda, run our country into the dirt, just so a few can take advantage of those with no brain matter to see what is being done to us all. They have us right where they want us.....begging for work......and that work is now low paying jobs, flipping burgers or making pizza. And on the flip side, milk, bread, meat, chicken and veggies are very expensive. Why is that? Because we subsidise the corn industry, that was used as feed, is now being used as gasoline. Like I said, It's a vicious circle, And you wonder why were fat! Mr. Boehner, "Pretend, your going to bring back the jobs"!!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Ann from Charleston SC

    The obese will be heading for the poorhouse followed by a premature trip to the graveyard.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  11. Brad, Portland, OR

    It means that if Obamacare is reversed by the activist Republican Supreme Court, or by a Republican President and Congress, nearly half of us won't be able to get health insurance at a price we can afford, if it's offered to us at all by the private insurance companies.

    Which basically will condemn us to bankruptcy or death.

    Thanks, Republicans!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  12. jk in MN

    To a lower life expectancy for openers – higher health care costs along with it.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  13. Pete in Florida

    Where are we headed? Why, to the all-u-can-eat buffett, of course!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  14. Larry In Houston

    Where is the U.S. headed if 42% of us are obese by 2030 ?
    Answer : more health problems at an earlier age. good for doctors / bad for the avg. person. This is all due to the internet age. not to mention social media. "a body in motion, tends to stay in motion" The internet is great, but it's like everything else in Life, If you don't use it in moderation, it will eventually kill you.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  15. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    An early grave. Republicans are looking to cut the funding for public health and prevention programs "budget reconciliation legislation." At the same time they insist on billions for Big Oil, they attempt to cut funding and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  16. Connie from Logansport,IN.

    Elect Romney and us fat middle class will slim down and the fat rich will get fatter in four years. Elect Obama and this fat person will die happy, fat and all, I won't last until 2030 so I won't be around to care.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    I think it will be more like 2020. Just walk down the street and look at people and watch them in the store and what they buy, junk and fast food. This is just the tip of the iceberg as diabetes, heart issues and inablility to work will follow which in turn will lead to a bankrupt society, financially and spiritually.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  18. Martha Brooks

    More serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and bone/joint deterioration. More sedentary lifestyles. Shortened life spans. Ergo, higher health care costs for all. More meds, richer doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals. Plus increased sales in "diet" products because Americans are always looking for shortcuts, and in plus-size garments. Guaranteed, somebody will figure that bigger people means bigger profits.
    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  19. Elsie in Wyoming

    We're headed for survival of the fittest. People are in denial about what fat will do
    to you - they have to see for themselves. Life expectancy will go down,
    medical expenses skyrocket, and sizes for clothing, furniture and cars will be in the stratosphere.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. Doug Ericson

    If you need to lose a lot of weight quick take a 3 week trip to Mexico. If the fingerless beggars and the stench of the open markets don't ruin your appetite, Coco and his gang will. Then there is the water to flush out the little bits you manage to get down between your gulps of tequela and dos equi beer. Don't forget the local cook-out after the bull fight, where you can watch a cock fight while you munch on freshly speared bull. If you are stuck here in the USA, you will have trouble not feeding your food addictions. My food addictions are meat, sugar, coffee, cream, salt, black pepper, vingared vine peppers, eggs, cheese, wise potatoe chips, Mounds candy bars, pepsi or coke, white French or Italian Bread, butter, and lately, pan fried sliced potatoes. On most days I will have a little of every item I listed here. I am chronically overweight by 15 to 30 pounds. Where am I headed? I hope it is to one of the nicer planets out there. There are one septillion of them. I think my odds are pretty good. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  21. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Obesity will cause people to get heart disease, stroke, early death and increase health insurance premiums for everyone. It is time for people to stop playing with their apples, stop texting, and stop going on facebook. Close your notebooks, and take a walk.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  22. bob z. from pa.

    how much weight can you lose playing video games

    May 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  23. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    We could have mandatory liposuction and turn it into bio diesel. Talk about a renewable energy source.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  24. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    It means that we should put politics aside and stop attacking Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative and return to placing the health and well-being of the United States as a country ahead of any and all partisan politics It means that we need to come together as a country and work towards the common good for our nation's health, economy, educational standings, civility religious freedoms and general liberty "for all"..

    May 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  25. Loren, Chicago

    Why does anyone listen to these end of the world pronouncements? Yes, if trends continue in the same direction we'll all be fat, but if you look at paintings from Rubens everyone is fat there, so why didn't mankind die off already from obesity? Diets change, fashion changes, and this too shall pass. We're not all going to be fat in 2030.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  26. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    It means that Americans are moving in a direction opposite from the gym and bathroom scales...

    May 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  27. Dave R

    This is one area where people have to accept personal responsibility, and control their eating habits. Most people would rather blame McDonalds or the snack food industry. The solution is simple. Eat less, exercise more.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  28. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    It means that pyjamas will need more stripes.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  29. David of Alexandria, VA

    HIgher health care costs, Jack. But who cares - health care is now practically free. Free, that is if you ignore our obese debt and obese federal budget. Obesity is actually a part of the American dream?

    May 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  30. Jenna Roseville CA

    Where is the U.S. headed if 42% of us are obese by 2030?

    To be considered "obese" you must first be 50+ pounds over the standard weight for your body height and bone mass. So let's say you weigh 170 when you should weigh 120 do you think that 170 is obese?

    And if 42% of Americans are going to be obses then don't you think they should widen seats on planes, in theaters, classrooms, the new arena and what about wide shoes or plus size cute clothing.. do we who are "living large" now have to wait until 2030 for the rest of the nation to catch up to me in oder to get the things I and others would like now? Gee wiz..

    As for where are we headed, obesity was a sign of wealth. Have you never been to an art museum Jack?

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  31. theketchumfly

    We are saturated today with mindless bikini clan models with bodies that have been photo shopped to perfection along with men who have nothing to do all day but work out. Bottom-line it’s an individual’s choice. As a doctor I would regard obesity as job security because eventually those who have a lack of concerned about their health will be in my office, looking for that magic cure, or a means to prolong life. You can’t keep the fork away from someone who is addicted to food, Jack. Food addiction is a disease much like heroin is to the junkie and cigarettes the smoker. Boise, Idaho

    May 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  32. Sylvia in San Diego

    We are heading toward having to take rights away. For example, if you are obsese and you are dependent on taxpayers for health care, then you will have to go on a diet and/or a predefined exercise program. If the over weight person does not comply, then they loose their health care benefits and are fined.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  33. dan from PA.

    Jack,
    1% have all the money... but 42% of us can take comfort in being fat cats. That's so depressing, I think I'll go Hagen Das, who are giving away free ice cream today.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    I don't know where the US is heading but as the weight increases we're going to need bigger cars/trucks to get us there.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  35. Beth - Canada

    By 2030, those who haven't died from obesity will find the country in even deeper debt because of the huge costs of dealing with medical conditions that are directly or indirectly related to obesity(heart attack, stroke, diabetes, lung disease, circulatory problems- to name just a few). This is why I do not understand why funding for preventive health care is being drastically cut. In the long run, billions would be saved if sufficient money was spent now to prevent/control obesity. It is very interesting, given the obesity problem, that so many people seem to resent any measures taken to control obesity. There was a big fuss made about a school in Mass. banning bake sales in order to help prevent obesity in children. Also, I seem to recall Sarah Palin being outraged when Mrs. Obama attempted to make changes to foods served in schools. To get her revenge, Sarah sent her daughter to school with a plate of cookies. You can't help those who won't help themselves.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  36. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: They will all be heading to "Weight Watchers", "NutriSystem", or "Jenny Craig." Time to look at the stock market for these wieght-reducing stocks! Ex-Plus individuals could pay Extra dividends.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  37. RickFromDetroit

    It probably means that the insurance companies will use this for an excuse to raise premiums for over weight people like they are now charging extra for smokers. The insurance company advantage to this will be that they will be able to document the overweight individuals by requiring annual physicals, whereas smokers can lie about their habit.

    Insurance companies will be selling health care coverage by the pound like we buy steak at the grocery store, but they will allow a small discount for lean overweight people versus the cheaper fat meat, but they will charge extra for the fat. What a deal, the more we eat, the higher our grocery bill will be, two times.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  38. George in PA

    We're out of the game, off the team, and headed for the bleachers! There we can order hot dogs and beer until we go broke or have a heart attack. Next question?

    May 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  39. curtis in philadelphia

    Jack, by 2030 all McDonald's will offer exceptional free delivery services, but obesity will still be the exception and not the rule, so we can all still bask in the glow of true "American Exceptionalism".

    May 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  40. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Jack, who ever said that has his head in the sand, blind to a changing American economy. Today too many of us eat recreationally, because we have the money to do so. The days of milk and honey are over, and trillion dollar government spending is history. We are now at the mercy of the private sector to provide jobs that can not give most of us the standard of living, the lifestyle that put the blubber on our torsos. As the jobs and wages become leaner; we too will become thinner. Given that, 2030 should find our eating a necessity, not for fun.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  41. Kristen

    To Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers.

    Olympia, WA

    May 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  42. Simon/Orlando

    It means that the health care system under Obama care will go broke with the on slaught of all these FATTIES falling under his "free" medical coverage scheme. Personal responsibility is gone. Stupidity and sloth have taken over. Talk about a country in decline.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  43. calaurore9

    I'm envisioning one large couch with 300 million potatoes sitting on it staring at screens of every size and color eyes glazed over and never moving. Wow, that's an ugly nightmare. But, it's coming true.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    May 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  44. John from Alabama

    Jack: To the hospital or the funeral home. The Obesity problem will raise health insurance premiums, and will cause hospitals to work harder on preventive health measures. Laws will be past in Congress which will compel people to eat more health and exercise more. It is coming as sure as the sun rises in the east. Less calorie intake will be a fixature in resturants and cafes aorund this nation.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  45. Bob from Bellmore Long Island, New York

    We're headed for longer lines at fast food restaurants.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  46. Thinkforyourself, OK

    Just one more area of your life that the Government wants to regulate. People wouldn't BE FAT if it weren't for government intervention telling them what to eat, what not to eat. LOW FAT stuff MAKES YOU FAT. You must eat some FAT in order to maintain proper weight. When government intervened with all their stupid studies, people started eating manmade crap.
    ALL THINGS in MODERATION.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  47. Warren in Ohio

    That should make us more democratic with 43% of We The People fat and represented by 100% fatheads in government.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  48. Thom Richer

    My guess would be...McDonald's. Final answer.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  49. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Jack, the answer is simple....nowhere..FAST. You won't convince the majority of the American people to choose a more healthy diet, so there's really nothing short of the type of preaching used by religion to get people on the diet bandwagon, and even then, some will fall off it.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  50. Greg Cox of Bremerton, WA

    Oh, it's very noticeable here in the Land of Fat and Blubber. Many of them are so fat they are hideous. I don't even want to see them in restaurants, next to me on a bus, a plane and anywhere else. They are the ones you see at street fairs, parks, entertainment centers and in the grocery stores stuffing themseleves and their shopping carts with ice cream, potato chips, pop, donuts, sweet rolls, as well as curly fries and greasy burgers by the plateful at the fast food bin. And, of course, they pay the same for health care that the lean and mean do or they don't have health care and are just another group of the entitled that the Democratics love to endow with more governmental give-a-ways. Just yummy.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  51. MrX

    That's ok. I'm 41 and fit. I'll get all the hot chicks.....

    May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  52. MrX

    Three words: deep fried Twinkies – Conan, FT Bragg NC

    May 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  53. Mark in BC NV

    They forgot to add "and lazy and also on welfare".

    May 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  54. Jason

    Pixar's "Wally" is looking more and more like our future!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  55. Leta

    By 2030, if this 42% of the population is obese, definitely most of them will have health issues – by then probably
    Medicare-Medicaid will not be around just like in developing countries. The First Lady and Ex-Pres. Clinton stressed
    on Preventive Medicine – especially focusing on foods we eat and exercise – hoping we will be serious and responsible
    for taking care of ourselves (without depending on anybody) physically and mentally.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  56. Mateo, Miami

    That guarantees a robust and booming Healhcare and Drug industry. For the rest rest of us, there will be just more of the people we love. Booyah America! Well done!!!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  57. Mary

    Some suggestions: Add restrictions on food packages like the ones sold in Costco etc; reduce the portion size in restaurants and reduce availability of soft drinks. A friend of mine who is French used to tell me that "diet market" is a billion dollar industry in USA. With common sense and self control, most of the people can reduce weight. There may be some who are over-weight due to hormone related health problems.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  58. occupyourbodies

    Hey, our fearless 1% "leaders" have declared "Let them eat cake!" so what can we expect?

    May 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  59. JC in SC

    Is this a political question about the top 1%? If it is, then I think if Romney is elected Prez, then absolutely those fat cats will get fatter and the other 99% of us will suffer from "malnutrition."

    May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  60. ArtInChicago

    Funny Jack, I always think of those disaster movies where there is a major natural catastrophe or some monster from another world descending down upon us. You always see in shape folks, running to get out of harms way. The reality would be stairways clogged with folks who can run a 30 minute mile, or heart attack victims, or folks bent over wheezing as the calamity rolls in. I am gonna invest in plus size caskets.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  61. Weldon Astle

    They should be headed towards a Fitness Center but it appears most of them are distracted by bulk food stores along the way.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  62. James

    Heading to find the next excuse for not taking personal responsiblity for our own lives.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  63. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Oh no ! On the horizon I see another WAR on something else. You know, were gonna win this one !

    May 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  64. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    Has any of your 'informers' even bothered to do the numbers on whether these obese people come from the 99% or the 1%. I'd bet my Big Henry they are mostly from the 99% and therefore can't afford to eat healthy. Have you checked the prices of healthy food lately? It's outrageous!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  65. Chris

    I don't understand why obese people qualify for food stamps and ABT food cards. I think food stamps and ABT cards should be replaced with healthy food served from a food line. Don't like healthy food? Then get a job and feed yourself.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  66. see through the illusion

    Big Pharma is probably celebrating those figures! I think it's not a coindence.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  67. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    A lot of our troops are coming home so...MRE's are on the house !

    May 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  68. Mr. D

    It's a race between spending ourselfs to death or eating our way there. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow may never come. Let me have one of your fries- I'm busy on the computer.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  69. JC in SC

    If enough of us would acknowledge that since the advent of "low fat" foods which are full of artery clogging non-digestible substances and the use of aspartame, a known carcinogen, as a sugar substitute, we've become fatter and the incidence of all forms of cancer are at an all-time high. Cut those two things out, and we'll become healthier. Yes. Fast food is a horrible culprit. But if you're trying to get healthier by turning away from McDonalds, don't turn to sugar free low fat killers. Eat real food instead. Google it.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  70. Dave

    What i don't understand is that when i was dirt poor growing up in the 50's and 60's all the poor kids were skinny. Today they are all fat ? Fat-lazy-and dependent on the government for all your needs is no way to live your life!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  71. Irish Seanachie from Maine

    Don't worry,... with our growing weight America will sink into the sea; end of the problem. On the positive side we now know that the rising sea water isn't due to global warming, it is us sinking this country beneath the waves. Slainte

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  72. Burbank from CA

    We are headed to having cattle scales installed in our bathrooms and pig troughs instead of dinner ware.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  73. Nathan, Iowa

    Sorry it took me so long to reply Jack, the line at the drive through was longer than I expected for 2pm on a Tuesday!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  74. Jerry - St. Louis

    It's hard to say where we're headed. Heck, it's hard to say where we are now, since nearly 40% of Americans, both obese and svelte, can't find the U.S. on a map.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  75. Donaldo in ATL

    Jack, its this darn economy. I feel guilty, so am out eating lunch most days to help local restaurants, good news is that I am able to afford this, bad news is that I am putting on unneeded lbs. I am just doing my part as a responsible citizen to help others......if there was only a Hooters with a gym nearby....all would be good.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  76. mswinston

    This is something that can be seen in emerging nations, not just in America, but some of it here has to do with the mixed signals we send as a society. The naturally thin person (think tall, slender, with long limbs, the classic supermodel) is a body type that only about 5% of the population actually has, yet we glorify this look and will starve ourselves to achieve it. On the other hand, we go to restaurants that serve huge portions, and I am not talking fast food here! Some of the restaurants that serve the food highest in fat and calories are places like the Cheesecake Factory, Chilis, Unos, and others of that type. The Big Mac I eat once a month is a much better nutritional value than many of the burgers at the name brand restaurants, but who gets the rap for "unhealthy?" The nasty judgemental statements about overweight people doesn't help either. How about moderation in all things? In the past 12 months I have lost 10 pounds, and pretty much what I hear is that is not fast enough - well, it is fast enough for me!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  77. Johnny C (from Los Angeles)

    Jack –

    We shouldn't forget to blame the Govt! What other country in the world allows beef to only have 40% beef in it to be called beef? Our FDA changes the rules all the time and even if you try to eat healthy, you never know what is in it anymore.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  78. Cyg

    How fat can america get? With the GOP around – very very fat indeed – and it aint from earning cash either.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  79. Duke from the Crowbar Saloon

    Jack! We're gonna find out how FAT Americans can get! Hey! Isn't the FDA supposed to protect us from food additives, like high-fructose corn syrup, scientifically linked to obesity and diabetes? Does that Food Industry employ many many lobbyists? Unending Kudos to our First Lady, Michelle Obama, for patriotically trying to change the American Diet so's we can be healthier and enjoy lower health care costs! Unending WHACKS on the butt for those blocking her/our progress!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  80. Dan in Albuquerque

    Jack, I believe Americans will finally have realized that obesity is killing their loved ones more and more and will choose to try to stay alive longer for those that are left. I also belive restaurants will continue to become more calorie conscious in fat content and portions served. An easy way to start is to cut out sugar. I did it hat way, plus cutting back on snacks and went from 214 when I retired to 175 now. Slowly over a 10 year period.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  81. Jim Banner Nixa, Missouri

    At minimum, our health care system is headed for bankruptcy. Perhaps there needs to be an insurance surcharge for every pound a person is overweight to cover their higher medical expenses.. Also, perhaps there should be an airline surcharge as well so at least these larger folks will be paying for what their size is costing us as a nation. I don't mean to sound cruel Jack, but it isn't fair for normal weight people to pay for all that the overwwight folks will be costing our various systems.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  82. Eric

    We will continue to fatten up because we have knowingly forfeited our health in the name of convenience. It's too easy to hit the drive thru and the issue should be what is made available. But, Americans are also too hung up on their "right" to not be restricted in any way. The solution would be to eliminate from the market these things that are horrible for our bodies but we won't stand for that either. Therefore, the trend will continue.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  83. Susan from Idaho

    To the fat farms?

    May 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  84. kirkbross

    In my view, America's weight gain trend is part of a broader the "American Exceptionalism" issue - that since WWII we have all been raised to believe we can do anything we want, whenever we want, however we want, with no negative consequences. We spend too much, eat too much and consume everything too much. It's arrogant, sad and counter to our personal and national well being.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  85. shawn l

    There are several problems leading to more people being labeled overweight or obese. One, the label is moronic. Someone can be labeled obese simply because they are muscular. A two hundred pound man that works out is obese because he has thirty pounds of muscle over what is considered "normal."

    People are gaining weight because of the garbage that the food industry is shoving into our food. Fat, sugar and salt all make low quality foods taste better, so packaged foods are chock full of them.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  86. PT in Charleston

    A lot of people base their "obesity" on random charts designed online to just show weight and height of a person. What that doesn't take into account is muscle mass compared to fat in the body. Myself, I am currently at 225 lbs and 5'1". But I can tell you that my BMI is not at 32 like the charts or system shows on some websites. My body fat is less than 13 which is not considered overweight at all. My supposed body weight should be at 170 to be healthy, when someone at my height weighing in at 200 could be in great shape! People need to go to their gym, or find a local one, and go get a real BMI test done on them. Also, a skin fold test is another great way to figure out how overweight, or underweight, they really are.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  87. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    If one considers California of the U.S. I would suggest that 42% (at least) move east of the San Andreas fault complex as the mass loading of the balance on the continental USA there should be okay. Otherwise pray for one's own bouyancy and do not depend on a cruise ship to spot you !

    May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  88. Scrape

    Just from personal observation, it has to be at least 42% today. Go to a sporting event or the movies. They are making the chairs bigger for bigger butts. No one EVER made you eat anything.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  89. Hoping for Better

    People do not have self control. My 400 lb boss eats "diet food" every day. He has 2 Lean Pockets for morning snack, 2 Weight Watchers meals for lunch, and lots of Diet Coke during the day. Um, yeah, that's working out really well, isn't it?

    Meanwhile, I drink full fat organic milk, grass fed beef in small portions, and lots of local fruit and veggies from the farmer's market. I guarantee you because I put effort into my meals that I pay less than he does for groceries.

    Miami, FL

    May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  90. John from where I'm at

    I think we're on our way to an all you can eat buffett 24/7!!! So what if people are fat. You get ONE life to live. If food makes them happy then I say go for it. Eat until you can't any longer. Enjoy life.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  91. cleat

    love all teh people blaming the "rich" and "republicans" on being fat...try not shoving your hole full af junk food and get up and do something. You dont get fat by osmosis...
    "all they can afford is junkfood?" ok...when you load your cart with nothing BUT junk food- what do you expect? seriously. They buy this food cause thats what they are used to buying- thats what momma bout for them...no sign of celery, fruit, veggies at all....
    heres a little secret- take in less than you put out...

    May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  92. kirkbross

    In my view, America's weight gain trend is part of a broader the "American Exceptionalism" issue - that since WWII we have been raised to believe we can do anything we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want - including ourselves– with no negative consequences. We spend too much, eat too much and consume everything too much. It may be "the American way" but it is often counter to our personal and national well being.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  93. Susan-NJ

    Back in the 40's Curtiss Wright had a picnic and games for "fat men" men who's waist was over 44 inches. Fat isin't anything new for Americans, Our society makes it much easier to be heavy by giving us large women's stores. It seems there is someone trying to convince us obesity is okay and we should contiune that way. It's time for all of us to get up and get moving!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  94. Pete in Florida

    Obviously this is all Obama's fault. He's got all these lazy pinko commie socialists that refuse to work lying around on their taxpayer-provided couches, collecting welfare and food stamps, eating their way into luxurious fat farms at famous vocation locales, also provided by the over-generous taxpayers. With all the tax breaks they've been getting since 2002, the wealthy have created lots of jobs for these lazy bums, but the fat slobs just ate them and then left for another free-beer induced nap. Oh, it's also Michelle's fault, too, by her encouraging people to eat healthy – all the people that hate her, about 50 million Repubs, of course are gonna do the opposite of anything she says, so "eat healthy??? forget that, get me 3 more fatburgers!".

    May 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  95. Sandra from Texas

    We will be heading to third world status by way of the emergency room and an over-burdened healthcare system.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  96. Rex Downham

    There are many reasons why our citizens are becoming obese. One of them is the so called foods we eat. Many of them are filled with dangerous chemicals and are really just garbage. These faux foods cause the body to swell up and produce more fat, even when they are not eating a lot of it. It's cheap, so people eat it. It fills them up so they believe they have fulfilled their body's need for nutrition. Totally wrong. Eating garbage is ok occasionally, but to do it often is going to make you sick sooner or later. You will pay more for health care than you would have if you had just bought health foods to begin with. Lots of greens, fresh fruits, & lean proteins & healthy fats is a good way to start. Eliminating all high fructose corn syrup is a smart step also.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  97. Phil

    I think it's interesting that the one thing an individual can control is what they put in their mouth, yet people still struggle with the personal responsibility and accountability of such a task. People say the FDA needs to protect us from fatty foods, others say healthy foods are too expensive and only the 1% can afford it. It's no wonder why we are in the mess we are in both physically and financially as a country. We have forgotten the quality that made this country great, it was personal accountability. Taking charge of your life, not waiting for someone to bring a treat to your cage to make you ring a bell. This was a metaphore for what is taking place during the election season and I know only the 1% would have understood that because they received the best education. We are becoming a nation of fat people because we are LAZY. We want things done for us. We want things handed to us. We don't want to struggle. It's really sad but until we runderstand that we need to take personal responsibility for our ENTIRE LIFE, we will have the life that someone wants to hand to us. Start thinking people, time is ticking.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  98. timothy

    Hi Jack,
    The Birthers have proven there is no limit to the gullibility of Americans so I would guess obesity knows no bounds either.
    Tim in Des Moines

    May 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  99. TJ

    Thought a good portion of the nation's overweight is in a protected class (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008)? Unfortunately obesity starts at a very early age and tends to progress throughout an individual's lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, lack of will power is not the primary culprit.

    Looks like popular culture (which you are enabling) says hey, "lets lump all of the overweight into a category with a demeaning heading and then begin bullying them into becoming thinner because statistically they cost more to provide medical care to." Instead of trying to be politically correct in nullifying honest public discourse and deceptively promoting the idealized pop cultural image of a woman or man, just tell the overweight what you really think. "Hey fatso, lose some weight...You're costing me more money on my group plan and you don't look good".

    May 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  100. Shawn in Atlanta

    Americans are headed down a path of their own choosing. This is another example of the people of this nation abdicating responsibility for their own actions. You need to make common sense decisions about what you put in your body then get off your sofa and move. If your great grandmother didn't recognize it as food, don't eat it. Yes, unhealthy foods are cheap; but, so is an apple. Americans need to take responsibility for their own decisions and put some effort into improving their health rather than blaming fast food chains, the government, our "fast paced lifestyle" or genetics. You don't need a magic pill, shake or home gym. You need to stop being part of an increasingly over fed, under read nation of victims. You are in control of what your hand puts in your mouth.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  101. Josh - TN

    As stated in Zombieland, they'll be the first to go. That should give the rest of us time to prepare to battle the zombies. Rule #1: Cardio

    May 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  102. D

    I don't mind if people want to eat and get fat but I do mind the cost of medical costs going up because of the health problems those people will incur over time.

    Some people say eat, drink and be happy because you only live once but when it's time to pay the piper and die an early death every one of them is looking for a medical cure to save them from the grave they ate themselves into in the first place.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  103. RJ

    Such a disastrous result will put us crammed into the mini-seats in coach class, unable to get out of the car in the mall parking lot, and impossible to find a motorized shopping cart in Walmart! I'm so upset I think I will have a bacon cheeseburger!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  104. gandoman

    NOTE: If you compare an American Weight Chart to a European Weight Chart (France for example),
    then Americans are even fatter & more grossly overweight.
    At 19 (1969) dinner in a restaurant consisted of for example; a burger then (less than a quarter pound-today 8-10oz), some fries (1/3 of the portion you get today, a salad (1/3 the size today) & I was full. I was working construction, going to the gym, active in sports & a meal like the one above still filled me up.
    Americans are fat because of the quantity of food they eat.
    Also, snacks are not needed if you eat right. We did not have "healthy snacks" in the 60's-70's. We had one flavor potato chip. People today think if it is healthier, they can eat more.
    MORE & MORE & MORE & MORE ..... that is the problem today.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  105. NRT

    Much cheap food is unhealthy; much unhealthy food is cheap.

    Tax sugary/fatty/processed foods or institute rationing. How many people in Europe were fat at the end of WWII?

    May 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  106. Jackie Treehorn

    The good news is there's probably an upper limit to obesity. The bad news is there's no lower limit on stupidity.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  107. woodofpine

    We don't walk anywhere due to our addiction to autos and oil, and we eat crappy supersized processed fats and sugars so...

    Jabba the Hut was and remains the future of America!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  108. Jeff In Minnesota

    An early death.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  109. Jeff S

    Jack,

    This is very serious threat to national security. If we ever have to fight a world war again we are toast( Mmm toast). I have to go I'm getting hungry.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  110. Tami

    A 100% tax on all junk processed food would help pay for the medical care needed by those who over eat. It would also make the junk food more expensive than whole unprocessed foods. My list of junk food would not stop at candy and soda, but would include anything with processed bleached flour, excessive added salt, fats or sugar.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  111. Pat NYC

    To me it all seems pretty simple. Increase taxes on soda and other sugar loaded products. I'm talking about making prices go up like 2 or 3 times at least. And with new revenue subsidize vegetables. Maybe over time people would change their bad habits, if as most of you say, they are fat because they are poor. I think there is one more factor to that. Being lazy. So much easier to watch tv, then go outside play ball with a kid. I am not talking about people with some genetic factors. Some can't help it, but lets face it. Most Americans do that to themselves.
    If only we could figure out how to stop those big corporations from making decisions in DC...

    May 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  112. Andy

    i have never been over weight but my doctor says i can lose a few pounds . like 10 pounds. i agree that the fast food and americans thinking that more protein is better. i recently changed my diet because of my gout . no meat at all . and i found out i get more protein eating tofu than some red meat . go figure . of course if everyone starts getting healthy and more fit , then we wouldnt need all these health care . wouldnt that be nice. look into it my fellow amnericans .

    May 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  113. LarryS

    It's just natural selection at work. Too bad smoking and obesity take so long to be effective. I'm in my mid 70's, try to hike three miles in the hills every morning and, although I have an In and Out burger occasionally, limit myself to small portions. It's all about self-pride and self-control. Gee, does that sound like taking responsibility for my own well-being? What a novel idea..

    May 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  114. EdfromMd

    2030? We'll probable be on soylent green by then and the fat will make it yummier like bacon.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  115. Glenn

    Teach calorie counting in school.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  116. Smako

    The worst part of it is that the 400+ pounders don't even realize they are fat. I knew a Fire Island Drill Sergeant (Adams, to those who served) who blew himself up to over 400 after he was discharged. He blamed it on his metabolism. Wheeling a cooler full of snacks in as a lunch box probably had nothing to do with it.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  117. sanstone

    "Too Broke for Broccolli, but still rich enough for Cream Cakes and Dough nuts.".

    May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  118. monsieurl

    Why are you obsessed with how much people weigh? I have a normal weight, and getting health insurance is a very costly affair, so this 'health care costs' is a bunch of hooey, an excuse to regulate people's habits- heck, some who are overweight have actual medical issues that have nothing to do with eating!

    This is America, and if I want to eat, or smoke, or drink, then I have that right!!!! Stop trying to inflame the public when you run out of actual news... it is embarrassing.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  119. franklovesfl

    Maybe we need to cut back on food stamps.

    Obviously the general population has more food than it needs and we have a huge percentage of the population is on food stamps. Logically we can deduce we are giving out more food stamps than people need to eat healthy.

    Cut back food stamps, this cuts back overeating and the population becomes healthier , our medicaid system is no longer swamped with diabetes and heart disease issues.

    A WIN, WIN, WIN.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  120. Beverly - NYC

    Were headed to health issues related to obesity ( high blood presue, stokes diabetes etc), and if the Republicans get their way no health insurance to cover the cost. We already see that employers are geeting away with not hiring smokers the rotund are next.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  121. Greg Turman

    Jack;

    50% of the U.S. population does not pay income taxes, which is a result of low paying jobs and unemployment. Historically, poor people eat high starch, high fat foods. Good paying jobs go a long way to better eating, better health and higher self esteem. The unemployed will not live long enough to see green jobs that pay 20% "more".
    In the interim, oil jobs are paying real good money with vacation and company paid 401k's along with health care insurance.
    We gotta crisis, what are we waiting for??

    Gregory Turman
    Noonday, Texas

    May 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  122. Ralph Nelson

    Lots of diabetes and shortened lives.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  123. ES

    I spent some time in Italy. They don't eat healthy either. They eat pasta, bread, pizza, cheese, coffee. There might be a tomato or orange in there somewhere. But they are not fat. They walk a lot and they eat small portions. That is it.
    So, I am not really buying that poor cannot afford healthy foods. Neither can italians.
    The only thing which is US specific is all these processed foods and corn syrup. I am highly suspicous of them and avoid them. Something so unnatural cannot be good for you.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  124. Tr1Xen

    Go for the Atkins diet! Eat all the fаt and grease you want and still lose weight!🙂

    May 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  125. Chuck Rhymeswith

    Fat Fighters! – Eh? Woteva!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  126. CJ in Bellmore, NY

    If parents don't know how to feed their kids, and kids aren't taught how to eat or exercise, all they get is fast food marketing. Schools should teach some practical skills. We don't have fitness classes in PE every day, and it's just as important as the standard English, Social Studies, Science & math. I'm not talking about the old fashioned gym where the fat kids get picked last for the team. Rugged fitness classes every day.And Home & Career shouldn't be something you have to take in 11th grade...practical training about feeding yourself and managing finances should be a part of education from kindergarten.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  127. ES

    > 50% of the U.S. population does not pay income taxes, which is a result of low paying jobs and unemployment. Historically, poor people eat high starch, high fat foods. Good paying jobs go a long way to better eating, better health and higher self esteem.
    ---------------

    May I suggest that may be people in high paying jobs have more willpower? There might be a connection somwhere between putting yourself through college and making a good career and willpower, no?

    May 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  128. Jessica

    In 2030 there will be many job opportunities constructing larger cemetaries and crematoriams.
    Coffins, too will need to be built much larger. Actually, until they die, obese people will need
    larger furniture, etc... So, this food addiction can become a good thing.

    Maspeth, N.Y.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  129. Respect

    To the people who say poor people cannot afford nutritious food, I spend less than $100.00 per 7 days on groceries and eat very well. No Fast food, no processed garbage, so that argument does not fly.

    Secondly, this is the greatest argument for discrimination in health insurance plans. If you are fat, you SHOULD pay more, because you cost more, you disgusting blobs of jelly. Obese people should be taxed per pound, being that they are oxygen thieves. In order to return to greatness, we must be of sound mind and fit body. Americans remind me of the movie Wall-E. Just blobs of useless matter wobbling around like lemmings off a cliff.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  130. Mitchell

    It astounds me that so many people struggle with this. If you're at a healthy weight and don't want to get any larger, just eat as many calories as you burn. If you're overweight, eat fewer calories than you burn. It's that simple.

    "But poor people can only afford low-quality food that's high in fat and calories."

    Then eat less of it! Simple solution, and even more money saved. Just eat the amount of calories you need.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  131. Bananaland

    Remember the fall of the Roman Empire? All those fat, immoral politicians running around (well, at least according to Mel Brooks). Anyway, History repeats itself. We are doomed, pass that KFC and Pepsi.
    Hey, the Chinese are pretty skinny, and they'll be providing us National Food rations soon enough, problem solved!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  132. Matt from Savannah, GA

    I am a current medical student, and I have thought a lot about this question. To say that only wealthy people can afford to eat healthy and exercise is both ludicrous and making an excuse for the problem, rather than attempting to solve the problem. The problem with the inequality in health between the socioeconomic groups is one of education. Children must be taught at a young age to eat healthy and to exercise. Even if the parent does not wish to eat vegetables or count calories, it is their responsibility to teach this important information to their children. Often times this may mean that the parents them selves need to be educated about proper nutritional requirements. You do not need a gym membership to exercise, I have been running outside on sidewalks for years, and it is totally free. People must also be held accountable, whether it be by decreasing the cost of healthy foods in the cafeterias of schools and offices, or increasing the cost of medical insurance for those with BMIs greater than 30 (and also other unhealthy practices like smoking, and drinking excessive alcohol). Education and reinforcement are crucial, and until we can find a way to get this message across to the American people, we will be destined to see our citizens wattling towards the nearest hospital.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  133. Waiting for the Starship Enterprise

    By 2025 they will have developed replicated, synthetic, nutrient-filled foods that taste like a cheeseburger or a slab of pork ribs but in actuality is a synthesis of vegetables, tree pulp, and chemicals. It will be so costly that the poor will not be able to afford it and will continue to eat poorly until they have made themselves extinct. Only the rich and priviledged will survive...and the black marketeers....

    May 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  134. Gail, Plano TX.

    Obesity in the US is certainly a problem, Jack, but I am always asking the same question, where did it come from? and why? I certainly don't think that any man or woman likes to be obese! When I was growing up obesity was not present. A few people were fat, sure, but not obese. But we didn't drive cars everywhere. We walked! Used mass transportation! Did not have McDonald's, etc. Our mothers cooked! Real meals! And, of course, no computers. We played outside because our neighborhoods were safe. Everyone looked after each other. Of course, this was NYC! And yes, they were good days. Gone forever Jack, so that said, obesity is a problem that will not go away!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  135. Keenan M

    By the time the US reaches 42%, the country will already be on its way to 43%,44%...and so on. As long as it is acceptable for people to blame something other than themselves for their obesity... it is reasonable to expect it will get worse than 42%.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  136. SERGIO. R

    I agree most people here in america grown live with obesity. Marketing is everywere you turn, most families donot have the time and or money to have a decent meal with one another. Being poor is a disease as the rich would put it. When one is poor a unhealthy meal to fix hunger can come fast. Sky rocketing inflation low paying jobs bills and gas have a huge impact these type od social problem. The solution is nothing the ball is rolling, only the feds can step in and play. One solution could be to set a tax to fast food chains to pay higher tax per custumer, chain cannot pass the tax on to the client. Its an idea may not be great but Its sad to see love ones suffer weather maybe family friends or cauleagues.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  137. JC

    hmm. lets think for second. unemployment is high, the economy is low. people have less money. a nice healthy salad is $3-$5, a double cheeseburger from McDonald's is $.99. Where I live outside Philadelphia, there are no sidewalks to speak of, and parks with trails for exercise are too far away when every drop of gas you use is needed. And a gym membership? LA fitness wanted over $600 for a year. People are so quick to say people just need to watch what they eat. It's not that simple. It may be that simple for you, but the guy next to you thinks about pizza and puts on 5 pounds. Everybody's health is different. I need a guy who was the absolute paragon of fitness. vegetarian, exercised, had to have quadruple bypass heart surgery at 34 years old. A good friend of mine, who is 73, smoked and drank most of his life and is perfectly fit. Runs circles around people half his age, me included. And you can forget BMI. Sylvester Stallone in Rambo would be considered obese by BMI standards. Gimme a break. You can talk about all the healthy food in the world, all the exercise in the world, but when making the choice between not paying for gas or a gym membership or healthy food, and eating cheap, bad food that's filling and sitting at home on my duff and all the bills are paid on time, I'm choosing the latter of the two. Sorry I'm not sorry.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Jacques

    Jack sorry to say that it really wont matter, by the time the college student population reaches that magical year they will be too broke trying to pay of their student loan..Oh and if the republican party have there way preventative medicine will be a thing of the past.....I say bring richard siommons back so we can sweat to the oldies!!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  139. Leanna H.

    If it's headed to that,America will need more money,and less attention to the obese.What happened to the regular America?

    May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  140. Gary H. Boyd

    Weight gain and sloth go together Jack. It means America's becoming heavy, lazy and unproductive. It provides a golden opportunity for those with discipline, energy and enthusiasm. A perfect measure of just who has no serious committment in their lives. and those that do.

    Gary H. Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  141. Sam

    No where good. Maybe if we followed the rest of the world with required military service after secondary school this wouldn't be such a problem especially with children

    May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  142. R. Salazar

    Where are we headed? 56% of us who really try to be within normal weigth will be paying for the irresponsibility and lstupidity of the other 42%.This is a free country and I don't care if they want to die from beng fat, I do care for paying for these bunch of fattty people who seems entitled to make us pay for their stupidity. Tax them per pound please, this is the only way they will discover they have the will to be within the normal weight limits.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  143. Jon from Annapolis

    I am a 34 year old male with MS and I do everything possible to eat well and exercise. I stay away from cheap junk food and especially nasty fast food. Usually people with severe illnesses are to blame for the rise in health care cost. I believe sooner than later, obese people should pay more for their health care than someone that's fit and health conscious. It's not rocket science. Vegetables, fruits, and a small portion of protein. If their own mortality will not drive them to eat well maybe money will.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  144. Isa

    Disney predicted this in 2008.... Wall-E.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  145. Mumba

    Wiry Taliban will come in and chase us down like Dodo, the flightless bird. None of those are left, so...there..

    May 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  146. Sha'naqka

    Ain nobuddy tells me I can't eat my KFC's and a 2 liter of orange drink when I wants. I ain't obese I happily big. I'm a BBW and I eats what i want

    May 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  147. Nemesis

    Eat, pray, love and die early! Very early...

    May 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  148. Bookenz

    Well, duh, of course everyone is overweight - blame the fast food industry with their greasy carb-laden junk on every corner. And also, everything is bigger now. You go into the supermarket and look at the produce–they're all huge. If you're trying to follow a sensible diet, try finding a medium size orange or potato–impossible. I remember when I was a kid–a chicken breast was about half the size of the ones they sell now. Serving sizes have increased and so have waistlines.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  149. Jay Cavanaugh

    We must as a country start treating this epidemic, as exactly that! The movement toward cigarettes and the tobacco industry, must now be applied to the unregulated, yes unregulated food industry and the individual consumers. If necceassary we should tax unhealthy foods which contain large amounts of sugars salt and fat, to curb this consumption!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  150. Colton from Dyess AFB

    The United States will not let this statistic become true, we as the people are going to have to eat bread and drink water if this continues the way it is portrayed. everything else in the country is regulated – why wouldnt they do it to our food as well.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  151. jimsylvester

    Jack, just imagine if all those obese people went swimming at the same time. The continents would be inundated. The rest of us would drown. That's what would happen.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  152. Jan in Wa. State

    Is this the newest scare tactic? Be afraid America, be very afraid. If this is our biggest problem in 2030 I'll eat my hat! Oh, how many calories in a hat?

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  153. Terry

    Corporations dont care what they feed the country and we eat what we can afford and whats available no one seems to bring up the responsibility of food corporations in this. We never hear about their profits just the expense of the health care industry and the cost to tax payers lets look at the source it corporations that sell us whats killing us.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  154. Joan Gorton

    Joan Gorton from Utica, NY
    Simply said: You Are What You Eat. When I see overweight people putting junk; be it processed food, few vegetables, sugar, soda..... in the mouth, and then feel sluggish in the afternoon, yawning, complaining; I want grab them by the shoulders and say: "look at yourself in the mirror....do you like what you see?" It's sometimes tough to eat well, but I for one will not be part of that 42% in 2030.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  155. ES

    May be the true issue is that the food in the US is too cheap? (I was in London last year. I lost several pounds and ate at Starbucks. I couldn't make myslelf to buy a salad for 10 euro and a tiny meal for 20 Euros. In the US you can get a huge meal for $15. This is why Europeans are so skinny. Their food is very expensive.
    If your cheeseburger cost 5Euro, people wouldn't eat 10 of them either.
    Oh, and exercise is free, You can run or walk, you can walk the stairs. Not having gym membership is just an excuse.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  156. Bill

    excuse me while i put down my half pounder to give you my view.......... sorry i'll have to go and get back to it// i can see its gonna get cold and cause the grease to jell.......yuk
    and fries arent good if the grease their soaking in isn't real hot.either so i'll send you a comment after desert

    May 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  157. ZAAKI

    The fact of the matter is-we're all going to die sooner or later. Therefore, no matter what we do-eventually we will DIE! People are dying from too much stress, all forms of cancer, broken marriages/homes, loss wages, unforeseen medical conditions with young and old! Doctors tell a heart transplant patient they will die if they continue to smoke. But the truth of the matter is, the patient will eventually die anyway. It's a matter of when! Not condoning obesity, just saying we're all in line for death–no matter what!!!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  158. Name*Don King

    It's true obesity is an all-time high. I aldo found myself overweight and struggle with it daily. But my frustration has been with both the insurance companies and the medical community. They seem focused on dealing with health related problems associated with obesity instead of dealing with prevention.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  159. James Rivard

    Some people are fat, some people have big bags under their eyes. What is that indicative of??

    May 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  160. Mrero

    Where are we headed? We're headed to a nearby fast food restaurant on our way to an early grave

    May 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  161. MrsFizzy

    Generations of Americans have grown up living their lives like spoiled children – yes, you can have it all and have it now! And here's the result!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  162. Stacy

    I believe it will be more than 42% by 2030 if our economy continues to promote it. The government has made our lives so convenient that it is actually killing us. They allow many major corporations like Tyson, McDonalds and Nabisco to control our food. These foods are so full of fat and not enough nutrition which has caused the majority of us to be three times the size of a person 60 years ago. They’ve put many farmers out of business and replaced agriculture with chemicals that allow for faster processing. Access to healthy, clean food is now harder to find than ever before and these processed and refined foods have taken over our supermarkets. So what do they rely on? Twinkies, Cheetos and Pepsi! Gas is so expensive that many people cannot afford to drive or are not willing to spend the extra money to find the health foods. Many places don’t have access to alternative transportation and it poses an inconvenience to walk. These convenient, cheap foods put people at risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer which causes more dependency on health care. It seems like being fat affects all areas of our economy.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  163. Brian

    Jack-

    After nearly 22 years as a professional personal trainer it saddens me that this study doesn't surprise me. A good fitness pro costs $4K-$6K per year. I hate to answer a question with a question but can you answer why health care providers STILL won't subsidize personal fitness programs? It's absurd fiscal management by providers...

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  164. Dave GA

    Jack – Obesity could be nipped in the bud simply by cutting off food stamps and TV for all the lazy deadbeats. Until this happens people will continue to eat slop from the trough until they get hungry. When you have no job and are hungry – any job is a good job!!! I know because I've been there.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  165. John from MIchigan

    Jack, I think the questions answers itself...for seconds. Cheers!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  166. T.J. From California

    Well Jack, It would seem we're going no where. So much money is spent on Fast food, T.V., Video Games, & Movies that we have lost the concept of exercise. Playing an hour a day just won't cut it these days.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  167. Andrew from Illinois

    Jack-

    Nowhere fast.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  168. Cheryl Lake Tahoe

    Two words. Pink slime! The food lobbyists make sure our food can be compromised any way big producers want. The solution is to eat local, organically grown food. It not only would improve the health of the country, it would also support local farmers instead of all the profits going to large corporations with bloated CEO pay.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  169. Bill in Colorado Springs

    Jack, the obesity prediction is just another symptom of a far more complex problem. But I know a sure fire way to combat this one. Eliminate all the corn subsidies’, and slap a 100% sir tax on high fructose corn syrup. We are allowing corporate farms to dictate our health, by allowing them to sell pure toxin as a replacement for natural sugars. I posse a challenge to everyone who reads this, try to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet, and see how easy it is, over 70% of the product sold in the super market will list HFCS as one of its first, therefore highest content ingredients. My wife and I have actively pursued this policy since the last of our children has left the house, and I am happy to report that we are have successfully eliminated over 95% of our consumption of this toxin. The results of this has been that my doctor no longer tries to put me on drugs to control all my body function, my blood pressure is down, cholesterol is down, blood sugars are normal, and it is because of diet and exercise, not drugs that I would have to take for the rest of my life, regardless of their side effects.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  170. B

    Sad to say but advancement in technology/civilization has gotten us fat and lack of work ethic has gotten us fat. 10 or so years ago when I was in college, the gym was packed with people waiting to play. Kids just want to play their XBox/PS3/etc. Dating back then? Work out so that you can look impressive. Now? Online dating over webcams where like-minded people can sit on the couch to get to know each other. They don't even step out the door anymore. We have more and more drive thrus. People can't even be bothered to park and walk out of their car.

    Has anyone seen Wall-E? Yea. Funny how fiction imitates reality.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  171. Sean, Thousand Oaks, CA

    It is another sign that illustrates how we have forgotten the principles that once made us great and are playing the McViolin as our Titanic descends into the black waters of inferiority.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  172. Linda

    Your comments about the U.S. being obese in 18 years was disturbing because those are the children being born this year! If their parents changed their habits, lifestyle etc,... they could prevent this from taking place. I watch what obese people buy in the grocery store and it is apparent that it is not just a "thyroid" problem like one of my obese friends claims.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  173. Justin

    We are headed toward an increasingly fatter, less productive society. Despite the sluggish economy and the rising cost of education, military recruiters cannot find enough fit Americans to serve. In the name of national security, Americans must lose the weight.

    Justin
    Tacoma, Washington

    May 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  174. Dale Sherman

    We will be happier! Costs won't be as high as they think because our lifespans will be much shorter! And that is a good thing because living much beyond 70 years old becomes miserable for the people I have known.
    Is having a shorter lifespan due to obesity really worse than dying young from traffic accidents, cancer, extreme sports or drugs/ alcohol? Stop telling us how to live our lives!

    May 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  175. Lew in VA

    Our first mistake was making obesity an illness and correlateing it with a disability. Lets call it what it is Laziness. This used to be a country of explorers and champions, now we are whiners and fatties, who knows where this will lead us...

    May 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  176. Shangey G.

    When you are obese, you live less. Living less and dying earlier means you don't suck away at social services after you retire. If everyone is dying at around 60-70, that means substantial economic savings. I think governments are getting you fat to save money!

    It's also been proven with research - the less you eat, the longer you live. It's a proven fact. Industrial farming has provided so much food, we don't know what to do with it all. The consumer debt society that's been forced on us isn't sustainable. McD's adds sugar to all of their food, except 3 things. Yes, they even add sugar to their burgers and fries so that you are hungrier for more in less than an hour. It's a vicious cycle to make them more money. Because government really isn't there anymore to look out for what's best for society, corporations are taking advantage of everyone.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  177. Stacy - St. Louis

    I believe it will be more than 42% by 2030 if our economy continues to promote it. The government has made our lives so convenient that it is actually killing us. They allow many major corporations like Tyson, McDonalds and Nabisco to control our food. These foods are so full of fat and not enough nutrition which has caused the majority of us to be three times the size of a person 60 years ago. They’ve put many farmers out of business and replaced agriculture with chemicals that allow for faster processing. Access to healthy, clean food is now harder to find than ever before and these processed and refined foods have taken over our supermarkets. So what do they rely on? Twinkies, Cheetos and Pepsi! Gas is so expensive that many people cannot afford to drive or are not willing to spend the extra money to find the health foods. Many places don’t have access to alternative transportation and it poses an inconvenience to walk. These convenient, cheap foods put people at risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer which causes more dependency on health care. It seems like being fat affects all areas of our economy.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  178. Joe

    Before 2030 we'll have social turmoil and unrest, to put it mildly. Obesity won't be the problem when food cans are worth gold due to a collapse of American society and the collapse of our economy that is based on service instead of production and manufacturing. When a can of Dinty Moore Stew costs thousands of inflated dollars you'll see who can afford to stay overweight or even eat regularly. Canned food, shotguns and guard dogs will be the best investment opportunity of 2030.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  179. Rik

    Duh!!! Shorter life spans. What's sad is the media and the government want you to believe that Big Agri business and the government are concerned about your health. News Flash!!! Big Agri business is interested in one thing and one thing only, PROFITS!!!! Profits for their Wall Street buddy's, profits for their Washington DC buddy's, profits for their Corporate exec buddy's. Grow your own food. Oh wait, Washington DC is trying to outlaw that as well. I guess Big Agri business doesn't want the competition cause they can't compete. ( 111th Congress SB 510 )

    May 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  180. TJ

    Make every fast food place play "Super Size Me" on a big HD LCD screen above the menu boards 24 hours a day. Make it required watching in freshman high school health classes even.

    Then ban food conglomerates from using any form of lobbying to Congress, and ban companies like Sodexho from public schools, and require public schools to prepare and serve foods according to FDA guidelines.

    And my personal favorite? Adding a $1 "health" tax to every six pack and 2l bottles of soda, $0.50 for every individual can and fountain drink purchased in a fast food restaurant. If it's good for alcohol (which is the ultimate in processed sugars) and tobacco, it should be good for high fructose corn syrup.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  181. Bookenz

    When I was a kid many years ago we spent most of our free time outside playing–running, jumping, swimming, bicycling, MOVING. There was no internet or video games or 500 tv channels. We were better off without them. My grandson is 8 years old and overweight. But he has an iPad.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  182. drc

    Well, if people took responsibility for their life there would not be a problem. Why take responsibility when you can blame the soda company, candy company, fast food company and everyone else? Sorry, there are healthy ways to eat affordably, the problem is people like the convenience of fast food, then want a magic pill to get rid of the weight or a medical prodecure all funded by someone else.

    After all, life is easy right? so just add life is easy and should also be free

    May 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  183. Eric

    Fitness programs, trainers, diets, magic pills...all just treating the symptom and not the cause. To all the "grow your own" fanatics, that is not an option when you live in metro areas. We will continue to enlarge because much like the oil and medical industry, there is too much profit in junk food for it to be curbed or corrected. There is the issue, instead of limiting or eliminating what is allowed to us as "options" it's become big business to treat obesity. Yes, the price tag will be there, but in that, is also profit for many aspects of the process which is why we are left to our own weak and nonexistent ability to say NO to the constant bombardment of convenient and affordalbe "food".

    May 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  184. marybeth, massachusetts

    To an early grave, Jack. Obesity and diabetes are linked, as well as heart disease and a whole lot of other health problems. If 42% of us will be obese in 2030, where does that leave the military–they won't be able to get the recruits they need if that many kids are obese.

    Obesity is more common among poor people because they can't afford fresh fruits and vegetables and better/leaner cuts of meat. Have you been grocery shopping lately? The prices of food keeps going up, and when you haven't had a raise or if you've had to take mandatory furlough days, you don't have as much money for food, so you buy what's cheap and will stretch a meal. Cheap food is the processed food and that's the food that's bad for your health. And a lot of it is full of corn and sugar and starch. If the health affordability act is overturned, it means no insurance company will cover you because obesity will be determined to be a "pre-existing condition", just like being female.

    It means, come 2030, we'll be spending an even greater amount on health care. Sedentary lifestyles don't help either. Too much time at the computer or in front of the tv instead of being active. Too many schools did away with phys ed and with recess, so kids don't move as much. If you live in a poor neighborhood, there's no parks, no gyms, no sidewalks, and it's often unsafe, either from crime or from the risk of getting hit by a car if you try to go for a walk.

    We're doing everything backwards, making it as hard as possible for people to make the right decisions re their health, but ultimately many of the decisions are tied to money. Poor neighborhoods don't often have a supermarket, so people shop at a convenience store, a bodega, or a gas station. No fresh fruits and veggies there.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  185. R Burns, Moscow Idaho

    There is a lot more than obesity at stake in our food supply! Pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and even "organic" agricultural sprays contribute heavily to ill health. Why do you think we have such a surge in inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, lupus, skin diseases and arthritis? These chemicals can trigger severe allergic reactions and even allergists have no clue because they are looking for, say, corn allergies – not allergies to the products commonly used to grow the corn. Commercial potatoes actually carry more flavor from pesticides than from the potato itself. Many of these substances mimic estrogen and cause hunger and weight gain in themselves, and an inflamed stomach can feel like hunger. How can we blame the patient for his own disease! It's madness.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  186. Brian

    I see a lot of obese people in public who look and act as if they are hypothyroid. A thyroid blood test is not part of a typical physical – because of our great insurance system. You have to ask your doctor to do it and he will likely argue with you because of the insurance situation.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  187. LouK Dinkey Creek,CA

    Take a lesson from JFK and re-instate mandatory four years of PE in all public schools. May as well bring back home economics too, so at least the kids matriculate with "living skills"? Maybe even teach "civility" since we don't see examples of it from those whom want to "run" the country. What a concept?

    May 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  188. Michael

    So, I realize thiswon't be a poplular thing to say but, make the fat people pay more for insurance! I'm not kidding here! If you're trying to purchase life insurance and you smoke and are a diabetic you're going to pay more for your monthly premiums so, the same should hold true for life insurance. If you work for a company that provides health insurance there should be a sliding scale and then a real scale for you to step on. Maybe more people will start the P-90X fand the Insanity workouts or just stop eating those double – bacon cheeseburgers at 10PM.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |