"The Weight Of The Nation": Documenting America's Obesity Epidemic: Part 1 - Consequences

Tyler Durden's picture


68.8% of Americans are overweight or obese: this stunning fact, setting aside the unsustainability of US fiscal or monetary policy, means that something must change in this country, or very soon it won't matter if America has $20 trillion or $1 googol in debt: everyone will be simply too fat to care. And, shortly thereafter, too dead. Now that America's obesity epidemic is rapidly, and finally, becoming a front and center topic of conversation, and one which can not be excluded from any rational healthcare policy discussion, increasingly more media has started to narrow in, pardon the pun, on the causes, consequences, choices and challenges involved in recognizing that America does in fact have an obesity problem, and that the sooner proactive steps are taken, the better for everyone. As Charles Hugh Smith pointed out recently, sickcare represents a(n at least) 8% hidden VAT tax to all Americans, of which obesity is the primary cause for outflows: this number will only grow, until it too becomes merely one more unsustainable line item in America's increasingly improbable income statement. Starting tonight, HBO is releasing a 4 part documentary titled "The Weight of the Nation - confronting America's obesity epidemic" to bring more attention to a systemic threat which if left unchecked will, by 2020, impact 75% of America's population. We present the first movie in the series below, and will bring the remaining three parts shortly.


From HBO:

The first film in 'The Weight of the Nation' series examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese.


The first character we meet is Cindy. Born and raised in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Cindy is the mother of two grown sons and now a proud grandmother. Cindy allowed HBO into her home and life to discuss some very painful things. Only 99 pounds when she got married, Cindy has struggled with her weight ever since her first pregnancy. And it's only gotten harder.


Health and behaviors in early childhood can have serious consequences later on in life. The Bogalusa Heart Study - of which Cindy was a participant - shows that overweight and obese children have risk factors for heart disease, even at a young age.


The obesity epidemic is a problem that's emerged over the last 30 years. It threatens our nation's social, economic and physical health. But, unlike a natural disaster, obesity is often preventable. Although overall obesity prevalence rates appear to be leveling off, there are still far too many Americans who are overweight or obese and who continue to develop health problems as a result. In order to end the epidemic, everyone must be part of the solution.


At the level of our DNA, we're programmed to eat as much as we can to survive and store the extra as fat for future energy use. In a world where calorie-dense, sugar-laden and fatty foods are available around every corner, that's a problem. The good news is that, even if the propensity to gain weight is written into our genes, we're not fated to a lifetime of fat.


As we take a look at communities across the country - from New York City to Santa Ana, California - it is clear that we have all been getting heavier. But the problem doesn't affect all communities equally. The sad fact is that obesity rates are higher in some ethnic communities and in lower-income states. The trends are so extreme that they are attracting the attention of health officials and lawmakers.


Obesity among children is also rising, and it's a real threat that may have lasting health consequences. As Anna Busby says, based on her observations as the nurse of the Bogalusa Middle School Health Clinic, overweight and obese children are at risk of being "on dialysis in their thirties if we don't do something now." The good news is that we can make a difference in our children's lives both now and as they get older by helping them adopt healthy eating behaviors and become more active.


There's a powerful connection between being overweight or obese and having heart disease as an adult. The heart, our hardest-working muscle, spends every second of every day vigorously pumping blood to the farthest reaches of our bodies. The larger we become, the harder our hearts have to work to keep blood circulating. The bottom line: being overweight or obese places you at a higher risk of developing heart disease and suffering a stroke as an adult.


Beyond the cardiovascular system, excess weight has negative consequences throughout the body. "Almost every organ system in the body is adversely affected by having excess body fat," says Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.


Even a small amount of excess weight, accumulated slowly at the rate of a few pounds a year over many years, can lead to type 2 diabetes. Being over 45 years of age, having a family history of diabetes, being physically inactive and being overweight or obese can increase a person's chances of developing type 2 diabetes. If poorly controlled or left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and even death.


Obesity is not only one of the top public health issues facing our country; it's also a threat to our nation's bottom line. Rising obesity rates threaten to drag our economy down through higher health care costs and lower productivity. Currently, 69% of American adults are overweight or obese.

Full documentary:

h/t stock_bitch

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Mon, 05/14/2012 - 20:33 | 2425346 Colombian Gringo
Colombian Gringo's picture

We are a nation of fat fucks.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 20:35 | 2425352 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

Pass the Mac N Cheese please!

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 20:49 | 2425384 Rubbish
Rubbish's picture

Here we go again.


ZH weightwatchers

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:10 | 2425427 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Most of the fattest Americans are also the most conservative: West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma.... etc.

Not surprising, these states also have the largest per capita of rednecks and hillbillies. 

Fat. Dumb. Conservative. Easily duped by holy fairy tales and political charlatans. 



Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:18 | 2425450 Scarticia
Scarticia's picture



Come on down.  We will eat you.  Scars

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:21 | 2425461 CharlieSDT
CharlieSDT's picture

I see fat people.


Everywhere I go in America they’re there, mountainous creatures waddling down the street armed with their XXL Big and Tall outfits, burritos in hand, with gargantuan partners and morbidly obese children drinking Super Big Gulps filled with sugar soda.  Sweating through their pits at the slightest effort and mouth breathing like some woolly mammoth out of Ice Age, these disgusting creatures are everywhere and it is only getting worse.  This is an epidemic that is to America what AIDS is to Africa.



Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:28 | 2425480 Scarticia
Scarticia's picture


You talking to me dead meat?

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:38 | 2425515 CharlieSDT
CharlieSDT's picture

Of course not, sir.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:13 | 2425551 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture




As we did yesterday, this is what you could eat for breakfast...if you exercise.

Whole wheat waffles with blackberries from the garden, whipped cream from our milking short horn, and a fresh blackberry, yard egg, local honey, and home-made-yogurt smoothie.

Wife and I, deep in the heart of Texas, ran 4.5 miles tonight in our DIY Luna Sandals. Thanks, Barefoot Ted, and God bless the late Caballo Blanco. 


Or you can enjoy Olive Garden's Groupon special and watch television. 

Your choice.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:14 | 2425723 squidward
squidward's picture

It's amazing what you can eat when you make your food from scratch, instead of eating processed food full of fillers and empty calories.  And how many eggos would it take to make you feel as full?  Double the calories?

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:45 | 2425786 Popo
Popo's picture

Fat people are less likely to rise up and take to the streets. This is all part of 'control'. Pump the populace up into lazy, immobile states and the formula for stability is complete.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:10 | 2425828 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

Shortly after WW I, and the 1919-20 Terror Famine imposed by the Encirclement Powers on Germany & Austria, the Germans presented them with a bill for "lost tonnage of national flesh". I like this concept. National Flesh. Amerikwa has too much National Flesh. But this is all good. When the EBT cards stop working, a lot of this National Flesh is going to be reduced by intra-species consumption. Yummm...plump, White, urban Cosmic-Libs and fat Jews roasting slowly over open fires, basting in their own juices...surrounded by crowds of hungry, lip-smacking Spics and Congoids. Long Pig. It's what's (going to be) for dinner.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 02:14 | 2426035 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Zen Monks eat 1,200 calories a day. With those calories, they wake up at 0400, mditate 3 times a day, cook, clean and GROW all their own food, clean massive temple courtyards, some practice martial arts...

On 1,200 calories.

Americans are fat because your ntire food chain is screwed to begin with AND your life-styles encourage sedantary behaviour.

In addition, gyms are bad for you (really really REALLY f'n bad), as are all those machines that fat folks buy at costco thinking that walking on a machine (actually staying in place while the machine moves the road for you, what a concept eh, and then we'll call it exercise)...

America and the west has to kick their machine adddiction. Else the pattern is clear


and fat to boot.




Tue, 05/15/2012 - 02:35 | 2426046 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

No free healthcare for fact fucks.


Ask your doctor why medical care is expensive.....it is because of all of the fat fucks who smoke all kinds of shit and drink too much cheap beer.


Welfare shoulud be paid in terms of vegetables and spices , not debit cards so fat fucks can buy more fat to eat.


also, what's up with free lunch for illegal mexican fat fucking kids? If your child is obese, no free school lunches.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 08:00 | 2426242 Max Hunter
Max Hunter's picture

ORI.. You are full of shit.. Gyms are not bad.. Excersize is excersize.. What is one to do when it's 5 deg F. outside? Stop being an idiot.. I know a lot about working out and nutrition and I look the part.. Thanks to the gym..

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 09:23 | 2426480 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Gyms are for fat useless urbanites.

Wed, 05/16/2012 - 16:49 | 2433021 Maghreb
Maghreb's picture

Look the part but my money is on those zen fuckers being more efficent and insanely healthy because of it.............

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:17 | 2425731 palmereldritch
palmereldritch's picture

This epidemic is ripe territory for WB7.  Hey Bill, how about People of Wall St.? Have you done this already?


This could explain the epidemic of fat fingered traders!

(And no, Bill is not allowed to sleep!..just kidding Bill get a couple of hours, some of your latest images burn so much I'd hate to see what sleep deprivation would conjure!!...lol)

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:38 | 2425769 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

French toast from a stale artisan baguette, topped in a reduction of fresh blueberries, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Scrambled eggs with fresh basil and goat cheese.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:05 | 2425810 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

So much better here with intellectuals, isn't it boys?


Edit: And you do know that vanilla extract is really blue collar, right? Did you buy it at Walmart?

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:37 | 2426081 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

I know that have better uses for my time than trying to raise orchids.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:43 | 2425776 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Fatty liver disease, a direct result of eating lots of sugar and refined carbs, can strike thin people too.   Don't kid yourself that powering your body mostly on carbs is going to keep you thin throughout your life.   It is actually aging you fast.  

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:44 | 2425782 Hulk
Hulk's picture

Damn, you have nice presentation HH !!!

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:50 | 2425796 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Is it real, or Instagram?

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 05:55 | 2426132 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

It looks delicious, but as a dessert.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:33 | 2425489 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

I read your blog, I laughed.


Wait, that’s not all, because there’s then even fatter category of fat people these days called the “morbidly obese”. They are like a whole new species. Blocking entire doorways and gorging themselves on processed food, some of them get so fat they can’t even walk and have to ride a little motorized scooter around.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:49 | 2426087 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

The BBW species (Big Bloating Whales)

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:30 | 2425758 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Can we make 'im squeal like a pig first? ;)

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:22 | 2425457 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

never mind waste of time.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:24 | 2425465 kekekekekekeke
kekekekekekeke's picture

you kind of have a point my west coast friend was shocked by the fatties and super-fatties abound when she came to visit me in OK


Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:29 | 2425479 Bitchin Bear
Bitchin Bear's picture

Hasty generalization there Max.  Check the racial make up of all those southern states. 

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:33 | 2425491 a growing concern
a growing concern's picture

If you're insinuating that white people aren't some fat-ass fucks along with people of other races, then come on down, and I will show you some great white fatties.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:43 | 2425529 Bitchin Bear
Bitchin Bear's picture

I'm already down here and my sister is one of those great white fatties.  Just saying everybody's racist about some group whether it's rednecks, hillbillies, oakies, or urban brothers and sistas.  No need to single one out.  It's an American epidemic.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 23:46 | 2425781 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

If you are human, alive and therefore have skin, any color of skin, and you eat lots of refined carbs and sugar, you're going to get fat and sick.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:16 | 2425859 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

Fat woman came into the store today, she was so big, she had three smaller women orbitting around her.



Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:52 | 2426089 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

You witnessed Newton's Law of Gravitation

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:32 | 2425487 Thunder_Downunder
Thunder_Downunder's picture

Entrepreneurial opportunity...


Southern folk just need to be harvested. "Clean Biofuel, made right here in the USA".  'Rendomatic 1000' Fat people go in, clean energy comes out...


Thats something you guys could hang your hat on. Come on america, innovate your way to healthier living AND energy security. What's not to love?


Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:54 | 2425548 max2205
max2205's picture


Mon, 05/14/2012 - 22:37 | 2425629 kalum
kalum's picture

I live in new mexico. Most of the serious fat rolling around at young ages  is of the Mexican/Indian extraction, which is a large part of our population. It is a coultural and educational thing plus a fatty fast food diet is cheap


I am 80 years old, weigh 115 , 5 foolt 7  live on a very restrictiv e  diet  of protein .(meats and eggs)vegtables, tomatoes mushrooms etc and excerc ise  regularly of No european dexent. It is a constant never ending strruggle to contain weight gain

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:16 | 2425858 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Keep it up, young lady!

Happy to have you posting here, and being in community with us.


Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:29 | 2425883 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

perhaps the research pointing to a genetic reaction to "sugar" in all forms, from foods to alcohol - these people did not eat or drink concentrated sugars historically.  you'll find this to be true in other cultures new to the amrkn "diet" of HFCS sweet sodas and junk candies, the children are the canaries. . . native americans and native peoples from mexico, central america, etc. had hundreds if not thousands of corn varietals - all being cross pollinated out of existence by GMO-korn, which is primarily seen as feedlot fattener, fed to livestock in their last weeks in order to pump up the weight for selling off.

I'm not making excuses for poor dietary habits - they exist, I realise this - but even people trying to source decent ingredients for traditional meals, corn frybread or tortillas, etc. - are faced with GMO garbage that is a slow kill, aided by pharma, intentionally. . .

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 09:47 | 2426619 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Not at all, just regurgitating gross misinformation largely from the first word to the last, that's all.

A calorie is a calorie, been proven too many times to count. Need the latest? Google twinkie diet and professor of nutrition.

Good thing  multi trillion industries exist to propagandize otherwise.

Love the 1600's tenor, mass food production bad, who give's a shit that it largely ended famine and worldwide hunger.

For instance genetically altered chickens are more resistant to the spread of H1N1 which means 100's of millions of chickens are not unnecessarily killed when one comes down with the disease like they would have been in the past.

WTFU already, access to calories, period.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 12:16 | 2427521 Pinky
Pinky's picture

 You are behind the times, sorry!  Actually I'm not sorry: These new findings are an immense relief to people who diet consistently and still get fat.

Peer reviewed article:  "Despite the initial skepticism of many investigators, these recent studies found that high-protein and/or low-carbohydrate diets do yield greater weight losses after 3-6 mo of treatment than do low-fat diets (1013). "

Is a Calorie a Calorie?


Studies that compared weight loss and energy expenditure in adults consuming diets high in protein and/or low in carbohydrate with those in adults consuming diets low in fat were reviewed. In addition, studies that measured the metabolizable energy of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates were reviewed. Diets high in protein and/or low in carbohydrate produced an ?2.5-kg greater weight loss after 12 wk of treatment. Neither macronutrient-specific differences in the availability of dietary energy nor changes in energy expenditure could explain these differences in weight loss.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 12:20 | 2427576 Pinky
Pinky's picture

Is a calorie a calorie? Biologically speaking, no:


(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)


Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:22 | 2425865 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

I live in Oklahoma. Am 50 years old, 6'2" and 168 pounds. I have a full weight bench in my garage that goes to 300 pounds, a pull up bar in my bedroom doorway, sit up bar on the bathroom door, grip strengtheners from 60 to 360 pounds and a full set of dumbells up to 50 pounds. Work out every day with weights, push ups, pull ups, chin ups, sit ups, crunchies and grip strengtheners. Ride a bike several days a week, either on a resistance stand or on the road. I am 50 and yet today someone called me a young man. When I told him I was 50 he could not believe it. Been working out daily since I graduated high school in 79.

Sure are some fat people here. But where I work I see a whole lot more people in decent shape than obese. Unfortunately most of the obesity I see in is the darker colors. I am not a rascist, but that is what i have observed. There was an article on YAHOO recently that said black men do not like to see their women skinny, too many reminders of skinny slaves.

I don't know what hill-billies and rednecks are, but if packing a .45 caliber handgun every day makes me one, so be it. ;-)

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 00:53 | 2425915 in4mayshun
in4mayshun's picture

"Most of the fattest Americans are also the most conservative: West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma.... etc.

Not surprising, these states also have the largest per capita of rednecks and hillbillies. 

Fat. Dumb. Conservative. Easily duped by holy fairy tales and political charlatans."


If you think all the liberals in California are fit, smart, and scientific, I have some discouraging news...

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 07:42 | 2426216 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Yeah, right!  Have you been in any American inner city recently?  The so-called "poor" got more fat on them than any demographic I've come across!

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 08:25 | 2426287 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Max Fischer              2425427

Most of the fattest Americans are also the most conservative: West Virginia,



Dude, you really need to check your facts. I live in WV. West Virginia is hardly a conservative state. Lately the democrats have had trouble here because of the EPA issue of trying to shut down the coal industry. But look at the statistics and history. WV has had a legislative branch dominated by the left for longer than I have been alive (40 years). It has democrat governors the majority of the time. Both Senators are democrats. The only strong republican is Shelley Moore Capito, a house representative. WV may be strong on some issues such as gun rights, but this WV has been a left center state.


I could also make a false broad statement like you did and suggest that the fattest Americans are leftist, unemployed persons demanding a government hand out at tax payer expense and those leftist are fat because they don't work (get exercise). But I digress.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 21:01 | 2425395 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

I am so tired of groupthink-drunk dipshits squawking incessantly about a supposed, tiny, likely natural increase in global temperature until late 1990's, and proposing all manner of counterproductive ideology-driven shit in response, when there exists all around them a patently obvious, very real, truly troubling, hugely costly, and very correctible problem of immense proportions- the obesity epidemic.

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:13 | 2426074 Ag Star
Ag Star's picture

Had some mac n cheese today, but it was actual macaroni and "cheese" not some cheesey crap from a box.  After 20 yrs as a critical care RN -- I know for a fact that "exercise" is the key to health and longevity--even if you smoke or party in other ways (except too much alcohol). Food brings more people to the hospital than any other cause via: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer, heart disease, sleep apnea, arthritis r/t obesity to name a few.  Exercise is natures way of detoxing the body, maintaining strenth/balance, and a strong immune system.  I'm Black, 52 yrs, female,  5'7". 140 lbs,  BMI 18-25, smoked for 26 yrs--quit in 2002.  Moderate cardio, strength training (kettle bells and Zumba) and eating only the foods that my grandparents ate--including butter, bacon, fried chicken, fried fish, fried pork chops, peach cobbler, sweet potatoe pie.  No fast food, no artificial sweeteners, no crap, I do eat fully saturated fats--all are good for you. Another key factor is--full fat foods are more satisfying and you eat less volume and less calories compared to no fat or low fat that are not satisfying and more volume is required for the brain.   My cholesterol is 160,  BP 105/60, and all labs normal, I take no medications never have to deprive myself of anything I want to eat.

Doctors with their diets, pills and potions will kill you slowly. Average American starts taking first perscription medicine at age 50 and adds one each year until death.  Some start a lot sooner and take a lot more.  Pills have horrible side effects and don't cure anything.  

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