Obesity rates ballooning

Ohio among 13 state with increasing waistlines
Associated Press
Aug 15, 2013


Adult obesity still isn't budging, the latest government survey shows.

The national telephone survey found 13 states with very high rates of obesity last year. Overall, the proportion of U.S. adults deemed obese has been about the same for years now.

"A plateau is better than rising numbers. But it's discouraging because we're plateauing at a very high number," said Kelly Brownell, a Duke University public policy expert who specializes in obesity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does the survey each year, and recently released 2012 results.

At least 30 percent of adults were obese in 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. In 2011, a dozen states reached that threshold.

Louisiana and Mississippi led the list. In both, nearly 35 percent of adults were obese. Colorado was lowest, with less than 21 percent obese.

It's not surprising states in the South and Midwest top the charts year after year, experts say. Many states in those regions have higher poverty rates.

"When you have a limited income, you have to buy foods that are cheap. And foods that are cheap tend to have a lot of sugar and salt and fat," said Dr. George Bray, an obesity expert at Louisiana State University.

The CDC defines someone as obese if their weight-to-height ratio — called a "body mass index" — hits 30 or higher. A 5-foot-9 person would be considered obese at 203 pounds or more.

The CDC's annual telephone survey asks adults their height and weight. Overall, nearly 28 percent of Americans were obese, the 2012 survey found. That's roughly the same as it's been since 2008.

Another CDC survey — which weighs and measures participants — is considered more accurate. Since the middle of the last decade, that survey has found that around 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese.

The story may be different with children. A CDC study released last week showed — for the first time — slight drops in obesity for low-income preschoolers in 18 states.

Experts called that report encouraging, but note it studied children fed through a federal program which provides food vouchers and other services. The decline in obesity was largely attributed to program changes — instituted in 2009 — that eliminated juice from infant food packages, provided less saturated fat, and made it easier to buy fruits and vegetables.



The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

We are truly a county of fats and fat-nots, haha!


Good one, Hero :)


More like fat and fatter!

Raoul Duke

High school girls can hide being pregnant when they are hugely overweight.


Much like the rich get richer, I think the fat are getting fatter. I've also witnessed first hand that more and more folks are on some sort of anti depressant or other mood enhancer medicine. These too make folks gain weight without changing their diet.


I was thinking basically the same thing. A lot of people eat when they are depressed and let me tell you, lots of people are not happy with their lives. I also think some don't know what to do with raw fresh vegetables and fruit. If it doesn't come in a box, they don't know how to cook.


Re: "If it doesn't come in a box, they don't know how to cook."

Also, they don't eat it if it can't ordered over a counter (or at a drive-through).

Old joke:

How does the Jewish American Princess call her family to dinner?

OK everybody, into the car!

2cents's picture

Yes, we are getting more lazy. Across my desk came this report about the closing of a turkey processing and freezing facility due to the reduced demand for frozen turkey by consumers.

"The business is a casualty of dropping customer demand for frozen turkeys."



You know, it really is sad that so many people don't cook. When I shop for groceries, I kind of check out what's in other people's carts. I see mostly processed prepackaged garbage. I cook from scratch. I do buy spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and creamed soups. The rest I make at home. I will sometimes buy a can of something (like ravioli, Ramen noodles) for days when I'm just too tired to cook.

I recently overheard a young family at the store and the mother asked the dad what he wanted for dinner. She picked up a large can of chicken off the shelves. I walked on, but I couldn't help think about the cost of that chicken. She could have easily made a delicious meal for her family by buying some fresh chicken breasts. It would have been a lot cheaper than that can of processed chicken that she was buying.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Home economics should be a REQUIRED course in school for this very reason. I would rather more people know about real-life lessons and math than calculus they may never use.

BULLISDEEP's picture


2cents's picture

I grew up in Greenhills, a suburb of Cincinnati and one of 3 model Greenbelt towns from FDR's New Deal. Just read a book on the early history of the town. One of the pictures showed the first HS freshman class: 25 kids, each and every one of of them rail-thin. Fast forward to the late 1960's and I remember my entire elementary school had only one (1) kid who was obese.

It's stunning to realize that so many people don't care enough about their health - or their kids' health - to make better choices. Studies have shown that genetics play only about 25% of the picture. We all know people who have lost 100 or more lbs., so clearly we have a lot of control over how much we weigh. I recently read that 1 in 5 people in America die of obesity-related issues, and that each American pays an average of $450 extra per year on health insurance to subsidize the medical costs of obesity in others.

I feel bad for them, for they will die about 20-30 years prematurely, and don't care enough to do anything about it. My brother-in-law weighs 350 and has a 5-year-old who weighs 95 lbs. already. There aren't very many old, obese people. Barring accident or something unexpected, I expect to live into at least my 80's. I have some good heredity on my side, but I still work hard to be healthy. I can gain weight like nobody's business if I get lazy, but I weigh 160 lbs. because I run 25 miles per week and am very careful about what I eat. I'm a minority in a world where even cheerleaders are chubby and cardiac time bombs like Chris Christie are viable presidential candidates.


I'm a rare case in that I don't have to watch what I eat... ever!! It's not to say that I'm healthier than people who do because I'm probably not. I too jog about 8 miles per week. I'm a solid 182 pounds standing nearly 6'3". Over half of my family is considered obese. It's one thing I've vowed to never be.


Re: "I recently read that 1 in 5 people in America die of obesity-related issues"

It ain't the mortality part.

It's the societal expense of the morbidity, i.e. heart disease, diabetes, et. al. where the REAL costs lay.

Once read:

50% of U.S. medical expense can be attributed to 5% of the population due to acute illnesses.


Agreed!!! And the other 50% comes from excessive overcharging for all meds and services by the medical industry. Did you read the recent feature article in Time Magazine on this?


Re: "And the other 50% comes from excessive overcharging,"

50% for the other 95%? Better scrutinize what you're writing Comrade.


Leave it to Winnie to break it down to money and "us vs. them" mentality. Dope.


"I grew up in Greenhills, a suburb of Cincinnati and one of 3 model Greenbelt towns from FDR's New Deal. Just read a book on the early history of the town. One of the pictures showed the first HS freshman class: 25 kids, each and every one of of them rail-thin. Fast forward to the late 1960's and I remember my entire elementary school had only one (1) kid who was obese."

Processed foods don't help. Back in the 20's they didn't have them much, in the 60's they had some more, but not like now. Just toss something out of the frezzer and into the microwave for supper in front of the TV or computer. Almost all have corn or grains added. What do farmers feed livestock to fatten them for market? Corn and grains depending on what is cheaper. Same for most boxed, bagged or canned processed foods most people eat. It ain't the whole problem, sitting watching TV, playing video games instead of playing outdoors, sitting in front of the computer, paying someone to mow the lawn, all are part of it.


As a doctor once told me:

The "secret" to a long and healthy life is to pick your parents well.


Wanna get the sh*t scared out of you regarding the U.S. societal train wreck of the aging and morbidity of the 78 million Boomers?

Read some of the writings of Ken Dychtwald.



Many say that they will work until age 70, but they won't be able to because of health issues.

Boomers are increasingly going on disability and programs like SSDI are on track toward insolvency.

Licorice Schtick

Fat people don't get very old.


You are 100% correct, Grumpy.


As I've written before:

I once heard the President of Cleveland Clinic state that 70% of illness in the U.S. is caused by three things:

Obesity and
Lack of exercise.

Unless the govt. can force lifestyle changes, money ain't the issue.

BTW: BMI - 24

2cents's picture

I hear about it every day, my lady works in a transfer hospital in Cleveland. She has seen people burn their faces because they moved their oxygen mask to one side so they could light a cigarette because their lungs are shot from smoking. Comically the hospital likes them because they are being paid by the government to keep these people alive! I won't even start on the fat ones that take up beds there.


Another unfunded fiscal land mine with aging Boomers is nursing home care.

Currently, the vast majority of residents care is being funded through Medicaid.



But when the gov't tries to force or encourage lifestyle choices, Republicans complain that it's Big Brother-ish.

Even small ideas at reform like Mayor Bloomberg's proposed restriction on selling large non-diet sodas or Michelle Obama's program to battle childhood obesity are met with derision.

Given the costs to us all of not doing anything, I don't have a problem with the government trying to help us all be healthier. BMI 24 is great; you're in a decided minority...


Re: "But when the gov't tries to force or encourage lifestyle choices,"

Not surprised that you're OK with the word "force" in connection with the State in this or any other context Comrade.

What would you suggest, re-education camps, for the obese, smokers and those who don't exercise?


It's so much more than what some of you people are making it out to be. There are many parts to the equation. GMO's, Diet Pop that makes you fatter, people working service jobs where they sit at a desk all day, children playing on their IPADs instead of getting outside, convenience foods, fast foods, etc. What I ask each of you to do is not to judge. Until you know what it is like to be obese or have a constant craving for food that cannot be satisfied. Food can be an addiction much like smoking and alcohol, except for the fact that guess what you just can't cut out eating all together like you can smoking or drinking. People battle this crisis every day with others judging them because of their size. Losing weight and getting healthy is one of the hardest battles an obese person faces. Do you think they don't realize every day when they wake up in pain because of the extra burden they carry both physically and psychologically that they need to lose weight. It's not as easy as some of you believe.


Re: "It's not as easy as some of you believe."

Not disagreeing with you in the LEAST.

One of my BEST friends in HS and later in life was obese. He died unfortunately at the age of 48 leaving a wife and child.

I still miss him. :(

Licorice Schtick

Fat people don't get very old.


You had a friend?

2cents's picture

Truly understand, however there are ways, programs, surgery and other means to help. I watched a huge lady riding one of those carts in Meijer, rip open a 16 oz bar of cheese and devour it while riding. Her cart was full of nothing but junk!

Licorice Schtick

Food addiction is real. It ain't crack, but for some people, close.

For some reason, with this addiction, we hold the victims less accountable, perhaps because they pose less of an immediate cost to the safety of other than, say, a meth addict. The victim and family pay most of the direct immediate costs. The long-term costs are HUGE (sorry) buy are shared by society, so we get little effective action. It's a tragedy of the commons.

Compassion is in order, but building false self-esteem by telling people it's OK to be obese, is just enabling self-destruction.

2cents's picture

"building false self-esteem"
Yes, I had a 600 pound neighbor, her husband bought a big Lincoln for her to drive, she would go out to dinner and request the entire casserole to take home, one time she ordered 22 potato cakes at Arby's for a snack. I felt sorry for her, and yes she is dead, was maybe 55 or so. It seemed like her family just accommodated her need to eat.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Agreed, Licorice!


I have a non-stop craving for food, too. I just don't cave to temptation and eat foods that will pack on the pounds. I handle my serious jellybean and junkfood addiction by never buying jelly beans and junkfood.

It's a lot of work running 3-5 miles a day; exhausting, sometimes painful, sometimes hard to fit into my schedule, but like everyone else who exercises regularly, it's a committment I make daily to myself.

I realize that it's a slippery slope. If I'm not careful, I'll put on 10 lbs, and tell myself that I can lose them if I want. Pretty soon, it's 20 lbs., and suddenly jogging isn't as fun, because I get tired and out of breath. Now it's 40, and my knees and back hurt, so I stop running entirely. Then it's 40 more, and now I CAN'T exercise, even if I wanted to. A couple of years later, and I'm one of the people who need a scooter. I'm so fixated on that not happening that I get concerned when I put on 2 lbs. and then work hard to lose those 2.

Am really trying not to judge, but have always wondered how people can let it get so out of control in the first place. When a 30-year-old is twice the size of both of their 60-year-old parents, it's clear that it's because of choices they made. I will say that I always give a word of encouragement anytime a see a larger person starting an exercise program. My Dad lost 60 lbs. after a heart attack in his 40's, and lived well into his 80's, so weight issues don't have to be permanent.


Oh! Jelly beans.... My weakness. I had to go "cold turkey". I still have dreams of Easters past..... Jelly Beans!

2cents's picture

"I realize that it's a slippery slope. If I'm not careful"

Oh yes, I love ice cream, this spring I was careful but then it was so convenient to just not put it in a bowl, pop that lid and just a few scoops turned into half gone! Someone made a comment at a wedding I attended and I got back on it. Now fresh vegies abound as well as so good melon in our area I have shaken 11 pounds in about a month. It is a bit like smoking, I only did it about five years but one day I had enough and threw the pack out the window of my car. Have not touched one since, not that easy for most and I was lucky.


coasterfan: As you know, I hardly ever agree with you, but on this one I do. When I was younger I didn't have a weight problem. Then I had kids, and turned 50, became less active and now it's harder and harder to move. You are right that you have to keep active. The only problem is when you stop, it's really hard to get going again.


Fatty and skinny was in the bed.
Fatty rolled over and skinny was dead.
Fatty called the doctor and the doctor said,
"Feed ol skinny some cornbread."

Yo momma so fat, when she went out side in a red dress, everyone yelled "HEY, KOOL-AID!"

Yo momma so fat she saw a yellow school bus she said, "STOP THAT TWINKIE!!"


I have always been a thin guy and relatively fit but with age things change. I used to eat whatever I wanted when it came to sweets but that all changed around the age of forty. What you have to do is change your lifestyle. You simply can't do what you have always done. I had to change certain things but moderation is really the key to maintaining your weight. I also really believe that you have to monitor what and how much your kids eat. You just can't allow them to eat you out of house and home. I remember getting a foster child that was so fat that he could not walk and was almost a year old. It was his former foster mother that just let him eat until he would vomit. That quickly changed and he would have a fit when we reduced the amount on his plate. We stuck to the plan, he lost weight, and became a regular little toddler. We did not change what he ate just how much he ate. Adults and teens need to do the same thing. Medication is also a big factor when it comes to weight gain.


My wife has been a Certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner for the past 8 years. Additionally, she has run every single day for the past 33 years except for the 7 days following each of our three sons births, and even then she walked 2+ miles each of those 7 days until she could start running again. We've always tried to live a healthy lifestyle, but since my wife earned her Certification, through a combination of continued daily exercise + modified food diet + ingestion of targeted whole food supplements as recommended by my wife, our family has not taken any prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals or any kind. The only time we'll visit a doctor is for our yearly check-ups, where the doctor always says, "If all my patients were as healthy as you, I'd be out of business!" 2 years ago I finally heeded the advice of my wife, who said I wasn't digesting properly, and stopped consuming anything containing or made from animal dairy. Mind you I wasn't ingesting much, just creamer in my coffee, butter, cheese now and then plus yogurt, but I stopped cold turkey. I also stopped eating products with gluten. The result? My snoring decreased 90%, my sometimes bad breath disappeared, my morning problems with congestion disappeared, and within 6 weeks I lost over 20 lbs., to where I now weigh the same as when I graduated from high school. I saw real definition in my abs, and my daily runs are quicker. Instead of giving money to doctors, we spend it on healthier food choices + the whole food supplements. I still have my coffee vice, have a microbrew beer or drink a glass of wine (I've been making my own since '95) frequently, ingest some products containing gluten, but the only bread I'll eat is a sourdough made from organic wheat. We try as much as possible to avoid processed foods & foods with added sugar. We eat full-fat foods as our brains need fat. We cook with coconut oil. We partner with other families to buy steers that are pasture-fed only. We buy eggs locally from folks who let the hens roam free. We pitched our microwave appliance 7 years ago. We only use cast iron or stainless steel cookware. We rarely eat out. In my wife's practice, she has helped many people improve their overall health, including clients who walked away from doctors who couldn't seem to figure out the cause of their maladies yet my wife has been able to determine the underlying root cause issues.

Since WWII, the focus in the U.S. farming industry has been to greatly increase crop yields and also "fortify" food. And in the food industry, large corporations continuously research and tinker with food to increase shelf life and taste while reducing cost wherever possible by adding non-food fillers and also increase our "want" of the foods. Meals quickly and cheaply available at "fast food" establishments have little-to-no nutritional value as they're mostly comprised of GMO ingredients we can't fully digest because our bodies don't recognize most of the substances as a "food" product, but the chemical additives in these foods trigger our brains to crave more. But with diets comprised of mostly processed foods, our bodies aren't getting the nutrition we desperately need, leading to fat accumulation, higher susceptibility to disease and overall increased poor health. The food industry has us addicted to cheap, unhealthy food while the pharmaceutical industry has us roped in to taking synthetic drugs that only address symptoms, not the root cause of the issue. One perfect example is the antacid Pepcid, which is claimed to alleviate heartburn caused by too much stomach acid. The real truth for the vast majority of people is they don't have enough stomach acid, so taking Pepcid relieves the heartburn but is actually making the problem worse because Pepcid is a stomach acid histamine blocker. What happens with people is they continue to alleviate the symptoms caused by not enough stomach acid while their stomachs are not properly digesting food as they're not producing enough stomach acid.

Eating and living a healthy lifestyle sounds expensive, but when I think of how much money we're not spending on doctors and prescription drugs, or how much more productive we are by not missing work or being tired and lethargic in our work output, I believe we're ahead. At 54 years of age I feel like I'm in better health than I was at 44. My wife is 52 yet everyone thinks she looks 42...or younger. When she tells people her real age they're shocked. And our three young adult sons are all healthy, happy and fit.

We can beat obesity in this country, but it's going to require a significant mindset & lifestyle change.

Licorice Schtick

Wow! A terrific post! Everyone should read it twice.

Your doctor said, "If all my patients were as healthy as you, I'd be out of business!"

You said, "The food industry has us addicted to cheap, unhealthy food while the pharmaceutical industry has us roped in to taking synthetic drugs that only address symptoms, not the root cause of the issue."

Unhealthy people spend more on doctors and drugs. fat people buy more food. Med, pharma and food industries all profit from our bad health, and the corrupt government they're allowed to pay off regulates for their benefit, not ours. Even the food stamp program is about increasing demand for food, not nutrition for the needy. It helps people get fat and sick.

We need to be careful not to blame the victims. Sellers of food, alcohol and illegal drugs all work very hard to exploit human physiology; human behavior, response to stimuli, largely involuntary, unconscious, and compulsive. It's a matter of scientific fact. So they're using science to harm helpless people to make money. While holding people responsible for their behaviors helps them make better choices on a conscious level, it's not enough, and it certainly does not obviate the responsibility of the exploiters, where most of the responsibility lies.

The exploiters' answer to every problem is less regulation, so ther can do whatever they want. Perhaps we do indeed need less regulation, because because right now the system is so arcane that only the exploiters understand it, but more than that, we need BETTER regulation, that benefits We The People, not the exploiters. That can only happen if we get big money out of government


Stated this before - 1rst smokers, next fatties.


Good comment!


Some have eating addictions, others have genetic predisposition to obesity and others just have bad eating habits. They weren't taught to eat healthy or make better choices. Also the cost of food is often a factor. To eat better, you need more money so the poor often have to choose unhealthy cheaper options. There are alot of reasons why people are obese but the main thing is that they get the help they need to at least become more healthy.


The human body is very complex. I am very tired and very busy at the moment. Your body "craves" certain elements and vitamins. Eat well and your body will not keep asking "feed me" to eat more. It is a science.

Ever hear why some people crave certain foods? The human body wants the essentials to good health.




Stop filling up on junk foods and empty calories. Once in a while is OK. Don't make it an everyday habit.


Licorice Schtick

Good true posts. Would respond the same here as to OSUBuckeye above.