This Is Your Country On Fat: Presenting 14 Years Of Exponential American Obesity

Tyler Durden's picture

A week ago we had the displeasure of reminding America that in 8 years three quarters of the population will be obese. We said that "many forget that a much more serious long term issue for the US (assuming anyone cares what happens in the long run) is a far more ominous secular shift in US population - namely the fact that everyone is getting fatter fast, aka America's "obesity epidemic." And according to a just released analysis by BNY ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas, things are about to get much worse, because as the OECD predicts, by 2020 75% of US the population will be obese. What this implies for the tens of trillions in underfunded healthcare "benefits" in the future is all too clear." Subsequently, The Atlantic decided to do a follow up on what it titled "The True Cost Of Unwalkable Streets" in which author Kain Benfield says: "Perhaps the single most alarming public health trend in the United States today is the dramatic rise in the number of people who are overweight and obese, bringing serious risks of heart disease, diabetes and other consequences leading to life impairment and premature death. This is bad enough as it is, but I contend that it is particularly unfortunate that we do not sufficiently recognize the extent to which these trends are caused by environmental factors, particularly the shape of our built environment."

Alas, resorting to the traditional American pastime of assigning meaningless blame when faced with a probem of epic proportions, instead of attempting to proactively resolve it, is about as expected as that of the four people around you, three will be, quite soon, morbidly fat. Because no matter who, why, when or where the obesity epidemic started, it won't end until the US welfare state is, pardon the pun, sucked dry (see "Welfare - the Great Delusion"). And if ordinary American citizens are shocked by how little Wall Streeters and politicians have changed their behvaiour, they would be speechless if only they looked in the mirror.

So while we don't have quite the suitable reflective device, here is a chart that should do the trick, coming from the same Atlantic piece. If this doesn't get one to rush out and scarf down the local (within 10 kcal or under walking distance) $0.99 McSomthing meal, nothing will.

Lastly, while the partisan bickering over whether Jeff Sessions is right or not in his estimate of a $17 trillion addition of Obamacare to future unfunded liabilities, goes on we wonder... Seriously? Because supposedly while $82 trillion in future unfunded liabilities is perfectly ok, $99 trillion is obviously a partisan hack to derail the great American plot to eat itself to death? Or something.

Instead of encouraging and enabling Americans to believe that any and every health-related issue they develop (of which the bulk originate from simply eating far too much, such as scarfing down on sugar, sugar and more sugar - which just happens to be the topic of tonight's 60 minutes), will be dealt with on someone else's dime, we have another suggestion: offer every American $100 for every pound they lose until they get to just below their ideal weight, and offer them a further $1000 each year to stay below that weight. Total cost: a tiny fraction of whatever Obamacare would cost, and the future benefits to one's credit card, to social healthcare outflows, and to society in general, would be unmeasurable.

And for those who missed it, here is 60 minutes on whether sugar is toxic (full transcript here).

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tmosley's picture

Those guys are Canadians, FYI.

Azwethinkweiz's picture

If I said, "Yan Can Cook bitchez" would you have said that guy is Chinese, FYI?


urbanelf's picture

Some economic collapse might actually do us some good.

Mitzibitzi's picture

As a species, it undoubtedly will. Not much fun, though, for those of us that don't survive the culling process, however necessary it probably is in the long run. In my personal opinion, too many people have forgotten (no doubt exactly as they were indoctrinated to!) that a bit of hard work and self-control occasionally can actually be it's own reward. Spent a fun afternoon yesterday knocking together some raised growing beds in the back yard. Swinging a hammer in the sunshine, for one's own ultimate benefit, is one of life's greatest pleasures, I reckon. Especially when there was roast free-range chicken, homegown veggies and a chilled bottle of Wychwood Goliath beer to look forward to at the end of it.

Eireann go Brach's picture

Well American tourists are known as "The Fat Yanks" abroad!

swissaustrian's picture

Yep. Overweight and bad clothing.

Jason T's picture

When I went to China, Americans stood out like beached whales.  I myself however not obese.

Gidas19's picture

after reading this, i might go to burger king and get couple of whoppers....

CryingBear's picture

Republicans are obese?

Fail2Deliver's picture
And their mothers dress them funny.
nmewn's picture

I don't recall Michelle Antionette singling them out...but hey...I like big butts and I cannot lie ;-)

knukles's picture

Feeemba camp for you for criticizing the cover girl of wookie wear daily, dude

ZeroPower's picture

Fatter people in the darker states... you know exactly what i'm implying.

Cash-NonCash's picture

I miss the government cheese!  What happened to my cheese?!  I'm hoping Obamacare brings back the cheese; if he really cares, I'll get my cheese... And some nilla wafers...

Harbanger's picture

Before food stamps, a welfare diet consisted of a block of cheese, a whole bologna, powdered milk and a box of oatmeal that you would go to pick up from a Govt. center.  No fatties and very motivated to get off the dole.  We will return to this after the Socialist experiment implodes.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Wow, that used to have more fat and protein then, than the federal food pyramid has held for the last 4 decades or whatever.    More...Atkins-like.   

natty light's picture

Let's all leech off the state

Gee, the money's really great


jonjon831983's picture

Nassim's parable of the Thanksgiving Turkey sounds appropriate here.


Difficulty finding direct quote, but here we go:


"Taleb also illustrates the problem of induction with the parable of the Thanksgiving turkey. Imagine that a turkey is born on a farm. Every day, it is fed regularly and has a shelter to sleep in. For 1,000 days, the turkey has a very happy and perfectly content existence. The turkey wakes up on the 1,001st day and expects more of the same. However, that day is Thanksgiving and the turkey finds himself on the chopping block. The turkey used inductive reasoning to conclude that because every day so far had been happy, the next day must be happy as well, and his conclusion was obviously false. Thanksgiving day is a Black Swan event for the turkey because he couldn’t have predicted his fate, but it is a white swan event for the farmer. After all, he’s the one doing the chopping." - re: Nassim Nicholas Taleb via

Vic Vinegar's picture

NNT's thoughts on turkeys don't do much for me in any way, shape or form.

This at least makes me want to dance:

Go long, BAC, spacemonkeys!

QEsucks's picture

Again utter bullshit. Rate of obesity is 30% and leveling off. The idea that 75% of the adult population would eat themselves to OBESITY- BMI=30 is total bullshit. WE are SPARTANS !

lizzy36's picture

Look around you.

Everytime i visit the States i am astounded at the number of young fat people. 

17.5% of children/adolescents are OBESE. Another 15% are overweight. Those level are 3x higher than they were ONE generation ago. Twenty-five years ago, about 2% of all kids diagnosed with diabetes were type 2. Now that number is closer to 30%. Some studies suggest that 1 in 3 kids born after the year 2000 will end up diabetic. 

The great thing about smokers is they died. The shitty thing about obesity is that it creates chronic illness. 

You know who likes chronic illness:big pharma & insurance companies. 

One of the greatest things big business and big government ever did, was massively overfeed the population. Makes them docile and dependent. 

jcaz's picture

LOL- and in what country are people becoming leaner?

Protein costs money-  poor people eat carbs....  Less money, more fat.

It's not sloth that makes the world fat- it's cheap, easy, shitty food.

lincolnsteffens's picture

Yes poor people eat carbs and cheap manufactured "food". Poor people in Latin America eat beans and rice which is cheap protein. Obesity is good for the economy. Food factories produce more junk food. Hospitals and doctors have to treat and supervise more patients. Drug companies sell more drugs to treat disease. With Obama care no one need take responsibility for their own health. No matter what brand of health destroying behavior you choose as your favorite your insurance cost is the same unless you you are too poor to pay and more likely to not understand the correlation between health and behavior.

DaveyJones's picture

actually, you can get plenty of cheap plant based protein and according to the China Study and other data, you stay much healthier and avoid a lot of disease.

Spastica Rex's picture

The paleos are going to beat you over the head with a club.

mholzman's picture

Protein is good but carbohydrates are not your enemy: Go on a diet of containing lots of carrots, apples, potatoes, ... spend time in the produce section. It's cheaper than McDonalds and very low in calories. Honestly, I think much of this is lack of time, lack of focus on health, too much on the job.

Foods high in carbohydrate include fruits, sweets, pastas, beans, potatoes, bran, rice, and cereals. Carbohydrates are a common source of energy in living organisms. Foods high in carbohydrates contain essential vitamins unavailable in fats and proteins. Fiber is also critical to our health. 

Carbohydrate and protein contain 4 kilocalories per gram, while fats contain 9 kilocalories per gram. In the case of protein, this is somewhat misleading as only some amino acids are usable for fuel. 

Based on the effects on risk of heart disease and obesity, the Institute of Medicine recommends that American and Canadian adults get between 45–65% of dietary energy from carbohydrates. The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization jointly recommend that national dietary guidelines set a goal of 55–75% of total energy from carbohydrates, but only 10% directly from simple carbohydrates: sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate.

Suggestion: stay away from that chocolate easter bunny.

Gully Foyle's picture


For fucks sake

Study: Obese People Live as Long as Slimmer People

Study: Overweight People Live Longer

In the newly published study, researchers used data from an ongoing Canadian national health survey to follow more than 11,000 adults from the mid-1990s to 2007.

Compared to people who fell into the normal-weight category:

  • Those classified as underweight were 73% more likely to die.
  • Those classified as extremely obese with BMI of 35 or greater were 36% more likely to die.
  • Those classified as obese with BMI 30-34.9 had about the same risk of death.
  •  Those classified as overweight with BMI 25-29.9 were 17% less likely to die.

Obese people have an advantage when it comes to surviving illness   Fat people have a survival edge over skinnier people in the face of critical illness, new research shows.


Fat guys survive car crashes better The study, by Dr. Michael Sivak and Dr. Jonathan Rupp, found that belted drivers with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 50 have a 22 percent lower probability of being killed in a crash than belted drivers with a BMI between 15 and 18.4.

BMI is a calculation based on weight and height, and the CDC uses it because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. Anyone with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. At 30 BMI, we're talking about someone who is 5-foot-9 and tips the scale in excess of 203. If your BMI is 45, you're hauling around more than 300 pounds at that height.

Ladies: This does not apply to you. Although rotund fellows fare better in serious accidents in which they are wearing a seatbelt, the same is not true for heavy women. Belted females with a BMI between 35 to 50 have a 10 percent higher probability of being killed in a crash than women with a normal BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, the study found.

Obese folk are at a disadvantage if they forego the seatbelt, the study found. Unbelted fat men had a 10 percent higher probably of dying than skinny guys who weren't belted. There was no statistically significant difference among BMI categories for unbelted women, although for belted females, those with a normal BMI had the lowest risk of being killed.

Fred Hayek's picture

I hate "research" which presents correlation as causation. First of all, the BMI is a joke of a statistic. And, the stuff about obese people living as long as slim people is skewed because a lot of fat people get a disease and waste away and then die as a relatively thin person. They were sick fat. And a fair number of those who die "underweight" are drug addicts. It's a significant negative factor in one's health to be overweight. On top of that, it simply feels better to be in good shape.

azusgm's picture

Then you'll understand and be ticked by this dissection of the bad and fraudulent research that has guided some of the core dogma in medicine for the past few decades.

I bought two DVD copies of this guy's movie because it includes his speech that is available on YouTube. Here's the link to Part I.

johnnynaps's picture

Yeah, I agree. I know too many people that have lost a lot of weight the last 3 months, myself included. And, The BMI is the equivalent to the BLS in bullshit numbers. My BMI last year was 31....nevermind the 6 minute mile and 35 pullups I was punching out. But hey, I'm in the death industry so I can only dream of that number being correct!

jekyll island's picture

Hey Leonidas,

Checking in from Tennessee here.  People are fat.  Really fat.  I'm working in the ER tonight, just tried to resuscitate a 450 pound woman in cardiac arrest.  Couldn't get her on the bed, her pannus slipped between the EMS stretcher and the bed, had a helluva time keeping the rest of her from following to the floor.  I also am seeing a lot of the patients who have complications with their gastric bypass in the ER too.  A couple a week at least.  One guy came in cause he was chewing gum the day he was discharged, swallowed too much air and came in for abdominal pain.  Several have their small intestines swell up after surgery and that creates an obstruction, lots of vomiting and unhappiness.  Now a company out of Michigan is trying to market gastric bypass for adolescents.  Now that's bullshit. 

Fred Hayek's picture

I'm writing from Massachusetts, one of the relatively thinner states. With the hordes of dirigibles one sees walking around here, I shudder to think of what the human landscape looks like in the states much worse. And if that comes across as condescending or snobby, I'm sorry but people can be so much better.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

trying to market gastric bypass for adolescents.  Now that's bullshit.

Why stop there when they can go straight to the womb?  This link is from today -- I wish it was from The Onion, but it's not.


TBT or not TBT's picture

Insulin goes everywhere, even affecting the fetus.    Cheap sweet carb loaded foods cause this.

jonjon831983's picture

Simple solution: raise Obesity BMI.

MFL8240's picture

The byproduct of foodstamps where no one has to work for their food.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Does being a corrupt banker involve a lot of physical exertion?  Or a judge?  Or a research scientist?  But never mind.  It's the fault of poor people.

OSCSPJ's picture

Hey Dumb Fuck. 

Let me double down. 

If you don't work, you don't choose what you eat.  Stop offering up excuses.  Those that don't produce, don't get to whine about the govt cheese extracted from those that actually work for a living.

Fuck you.  You tell us how much money you gave to the poor.  When you start producing, you can tell the others where YOU want money to be sent. 

Get a fucking job. 

nmewn's picture

Now you've done it...we're going to be treated to yet another LTER "I own my own business and take a one percenters profits for shouldering all the risk" screed ;-)

sun tzu's picture

It's their fault they didn't take advantage of an education that was free and it's their fault they won't work. As for being fat, it's no surprise that people too lazy to study and work are also too lazy to exercise. The vast majority of the fat people live in the ghetto, trailer parks, and barrios.

derek_vineyard's picture


Eat real food. Things native to earth. Fruits, vegatbles, meats. Avoid as many processed/manufactured foods as you can.  It is this simple.  You will re-acquire the desire and taste for nutrious food and come to thoroughtly enjoy it.  Don't have to be obsessed, just use common sense.

MFL8240's picture

Use common sense in a country who elected Barrack Obama to be its President?  Isnt that like an oximoron?

CryingBear's picture

People seemed to have gotten fat during the Bush years.

Saro's picture

I'll correct it for him:

"Use common sense in a country that elected both Bush and Obama to be its President?  Isnt that like an oximoron?"

francis_sawyer's picture

Bring me the finest meats & cheeses in the land!

Jendrzejczyk's picture

".........................elected (insert any recent US president here)............................................"

Dr Benway's picture

No. It is this simple:


Do not consume more calories than you expend.

kekekekekekeke's picture

It's not though, if you eat unprocessed foods you don't have to count calories.  You can eat raw vegan for example and eat thousands of calories and not gain weight


like check out this trick she eats thousands of calories of fruit all day.  Not the existence I would choose but she looks good