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September 14th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

‘Overweight’ in America:

A new study says that three in ten ‘overweight’ Americans think their normal sized – no matter what the scale says…

Do you agree with the study that claims being overweight has become the ‘New’ Normal?

Post your comments. Kyra will read some of your responses in the 10am hour of CNN Newsroom

Filed under: Anchors • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Cindy Plachinski

    New normal? I suspect that the clothing industry has a hand in this, making clothes larger by inches and putting a skinny size on the tag. Could this be assisting in that delusion?
    The best way to decide if a person is overweight is a good old tape measure.
    Cindy Plachinski
    Bowling Green, VA

    September 14, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  2. Patricia Jo Beaty

    We refuse to serve more alcohol at a bar to people that are already why do we continue to serve obese people at a buffet bar ? This is embarrassing, humiliating and a sign of a weak country! We need to charge higher insurance premiums to obese people and offer free enrollment to local health fitness tax credit to any fitness program willing to allow this program....I think I'll write to President Obama AGAIN!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  3. Carroll

    Are you crazy or just lazy? Being overweight is not normal at all. It's unhealthy and gives you health issues and a shorter life. As a young teenager about 13yo, I was wearing huskey clothes and did hardly any excersize. As I grew up and went through U.S. Airforce basic training I lost it and kept it off still at 48yo with a 28-30in waist I feel good and love to sweat to stay fit. It's just giving up and not attractive one bit.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  4. Evette

    Fat is not the normal but it looks like it is since so many folks are overweight.

    I personally say “yes” and I have been discussing this same issue with folks. I remember back in the day my sister and I were outside of the norm having large breast but nowadays I feel normal and sometimes small compared to what I am seeing every day. The ladies, young girls have butt, breast (large ones) and big stomachs. I remember too that ladies prided themselves in having a flat tummy. Never would think of wearing our pants or skirts down below our bellies like folks do nowadays. That’s how guy with beer bellies would wear their pants and shorts fasten under the stomach. No one seems to be looking at the fact that being overweigh is not healthy. I think most of the problem comes from the food we eat – filled with fat, fried foods and all the hormones that are given to the poor animals that we are now consuming. Society needs to think about what will be going on in the next 20-30 years with our health care systems. Sad but it's never too late to turn things around and get folks healthy and exercising.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  5. Bob

    Many people would love to eat better, but can't afford to eat correctly. Junk food is cheaper than healthy food.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  6. Jon

    Fat is fat and the 3 out of 10 need to accept it. If your waist is past your hips and when a man looks down and cannot see his favorite part then he is over weight!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  7. Elizabeth

    I was inspired by this message and went immediately to the junk drawer to find my measuring tape and I couldn't find it. And it dawned on me, Dentists give their patients a toothbrush, maybe doctors should give out a tape measure with each check-up. I bet companies that make diet foods would love to splash their names on the measuring tape to advertise their products.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  8. Matthew

    I wonder how much does the feed additives given to our livestock to fatten them up is transfered to us when we eat?

    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  9. Lisa

    Being overweight is now normal because pople tend to judge their weight according to how they look in comparison to with their friends/peers. Also, most social events are centered around food/eating and not exercise.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  10. Cori Henley

    Seriously, eating healthy cost so so so much more money. In this economy people can not afford to eat healthy options. It always amazes me how mainstream media seem to judge Americans while forgetting about the MONEY factor!

    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  11. Allan

    Hello. Try linking your map and our weight to food industry decisions. The anwers center on engaging the fast food and restaurant businesses in American food culture. Instead we try to use them in ways to blame us for taking advantage of all that is put before us to eat. There is a reason why the insurance industry owns stock in the fast food industry. Try something like my suggestion where buying food uses the money to change the industry at it core. This type of empowerment answer will work–blaming people for not doing enough exercise or for not eating properly is not the right answer.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  12. vivian

    a lot of people would love to go on healhty diet, but their income do not help them, put in mind ,all the healthy food are expensive for some people , and as you can see the unhealthy food are cheap and affordable ,like Mcdonald dollar menu ..

    September 14, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  13. Tammie

    Higher insurance premiums and a free pass to a fitness center is not going to solve obesity for many people. What will is support, encouragement and compassion from others. There is a self esteem problem in America and it doesn't help when people see over weight as a sub-class or a lower class citizen. We need to look deeper at our culture. I understand this, being anorexic in the past and a normal weight to ballooning into morbid obesity sue to many medical problems and over a half dozen orthopedic surgeries. I remember when I first started gaining weight after a running injury and 2 ruptured achilles tendons being repaired. I decided to start riding my bike again and got jeers from passers by telling me to get my fat ass off the road. That was the end of that and 10 years later, I still haven't been able to make myself get on a bike. It was degrading and humiliating.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  14. Elizabeth

    While fat shouldn't be normal it's also not easy to adjust when you get older and your metabolism goes and you notice after each kid you end up with more health issues. I had scoliosis early in life and what's called a 'military neck' which has caused a great deal of pain in my life and multiple back injuries so even when I am able to catch someone at the gym and have built up the courage to ask for help they can't help me because they don't know alternatives to help with my medical issues. On top of it fighting against my genetically predisposition to diabeties. Is everyone like me? No. But is it a serious fight for some people? Yes! for over a year I tried to eat several small meals, watching serving sizes, watching calories and sugars and sodium and exercising (if nothing more then walking a couple miles every day) and yet I was gaining weight not lost. I talked to my doctor and they looked at me like I was stupid and refused to talk to me. By time I got one to finally agree to check my thyroid I didn't do it (I really should I know I should) because the doctor was so horribly mean to me that I wanted nothing more to do with that office. Not everyone is the same.

    "He is normal what you meant to say is average." – Utah Phillips

    September 14, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  15. Jim Nicely

    Give me a break, we are a country of enablers. Obese people get diabetes, so we give them a handicap tag to hang on their vehicles mirror so they don't have to walk more than 50 feet to the store's entrance. When they get inside, they get electric shopping carts to run over the healthy customers. We don't discourage the problem, we encourage it. Our insurance rates go up collectively and we wind up with national healthcare. You'll find we ultimately get what we deserve.

    September 14, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  16. Leona Thor

    While watching your segment on overweight Americans, I noticed that all of the examples of overweight people shown, all seem to be close to the same age. Is it a factor that at a certain age, the uper middle part of the body is going to change with age to where fat just seems to migrate to this area. As we grow older, our spine shortens, and it takes mostly streatching, such as touching the top of a door frame to keep your spine limber enough to keep from settling down, and forming the fatty area. If we sit slumped all of the time, and not sitting up correctly, we tend to send fat to that middle area. It is harder to get rid of if we do not target this area by sitting right, and stretching each day. Once the fat gets into this area, right under the breast, it is very hard to get rid of, and we need more methods as to how to get rid of the fat in this particular area. This is the dangerous area for heart problems, and diseases. It seems as if food is not going all the way down, and stops at this area because this is how we sit most of the time, and not allowing our food to distribute correctly. Bottom line, do not lay down or sit slumped for long periods of time after eating. Go for a way, and help the food to digest properly. Last, as a habit, I eat my salad last. The fiber helps to push the food down faster, and help the food to break down faster, and keep you from feeling stuffed. Never eat to get full, eat to keep from getting hungry. Exercise, even if just a little bit. Please check out and report on the age factor, and the distrubution of weight according to age. Thank you, Lea

    September 14, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  17. Ruby Zimmerman

    I am 79 years old, and have always been at least 30 pounds overweight (sometimes more) for as long as I can remember. Who knows how much I would have weighed without cigarettes, which I started at age 15? I gave birth to 8-, 9-, and 10-pound healthy children, while I smoked at least 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I should have been dead long ago. But I'm still alive and enjoying my grandchildren. What am I doing wrong?

    Still overweight, but who cares?
    Grandma Ruby

    September 14, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  18. Dan

    Let's STOP blaming the buffet bar. It's just like smoking. If you continue to smoke, chances are you will end up with cancer. Is that the fault of the cigarette manufacturers?
    Or, if you drink like a fish, you will probably end up with Liver problems. So, do we blame the alcohol industry?
    It boils down to people make choices, and if they decide to continually choose to over-eat, that's their problem, nothing the restaurant industry did.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  19. Greg

    What's truly upsetting is that there have never been more tools and resources to help us get in shape. There are free online fitness tools like that are focused on helping people get in shape, stay in shape, and lead healthy lifestyle. has hundreds of exercises posted with step-by-step instruction, video demonstration of workouts, and blogs posted by fitness professionals. The tools are there, we just need to use them.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  20. Alexi H.

    Being overweight or obese is NOT normal or healthy. It causes a variety of social problems incl. illnesses, e.g., early-onset diabetes, breathing problems, heart conditions, incl. a wearing down of the bone joints not related to geriatrics. Ask any orthopedic surgeon about the repeated surgeries that often ends up with overweight patients being wheelchair bound. People stuffed into larger and larger stretch clothing isn't natural. Parents con't to encourage overeating in their children until the child believes eating for pleasure is natural and a socially accepted habit. (Many parents are fat themselves and want their children to accept being overweight as natural to approve of their own unnatural condition.) Fat people prefer to think of themselves as healthy but the excess weight soon takes its toll on their bodies at our expense. Medical costs for excess weight has overtaken alcohol and smoking, incl. the risk factors. Now we're expected to make sturdier and wider and wider accomodations for those who 'choose' to eat too much while we placate them with diet pills and pricey gastric bypasses at our expense.. Whatever happened to personal responsibility??
    Another factor NOT addressed is personal hygiene. With the excess skin and fat, many cannot reach to clean themselves following a bowel movement. Some wear adult diapers or cannot get out of a bathtub. Many are accustomed to their own bad odors. Their lack of motility and poor hygiene places others at risk as they try on clothing or in public places where they are seated. Our sympathetic media has catapulted obesity as being 'natural' but has played a harmful role in it's permissively accomodating messages.
    Alexi H., PhD

    September 14, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  21. ken

    I don't think it matters if you are overweight, underweight, or average. Why should anyone else care about another persons weight. Michele obama has appointed herself the czarina of obesity. She should look in the mirror at her backside before she starts talking about obesity.

    September 14, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  22. Christine

    I wish the media would define "overweight" and "obesity" as it is used in these studies. Then simplifying the whole issue to an apparent ignorance about eating healthy and exercising is rather insulting. According to the BMI, if you are 5'5" (male or female) and weight 150-175 you are overweight. Any more than that you are obese. Are you a 6' male? If you weigh more than 185 you're overweight. I know many people I would consider average weight at 5'4 and 150 who look what I would consider normal. I know that when I have been that size I wear a size 6. I consider a size 6-10 "normal" or a healthy size. Even a 10-12. I wish the media (by that I mean you), would delineate out the different stories here. 1. What is meant by obese and overweight and denial. 2. What is normal – give us the baseline you are using when you ask the question. These are two different things and I think your doctor guest was trying to say this; and 3. Eating healthy and exercising may not lead to a size 2 but it's more important than focusing on these ideas of size. I'm sure all the headless figures shown in your "fat montage" would not say they are normal – but if you tell people the weights and heights that define overweight and obese your audience might find themselves in the same denial.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  23. Stephanie

    No, I don't agree, I just think some folks are lazy and too comfortable with their weight that they don't care and maybe it's the fact that there are so many overweight folks that some think it's normal and are in denial that they are killing themselves by being overweight, I know it's hard to get rid of weight, it's not easy to keep it off either once it's down.
    I sure as heck don't accept it as normal.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  24. Stephanie

    I'm not trying to be mean, maybe I'm talking about myself too.

    September 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  25. Thank you Grandma Ruby

    I am right there with you! My son was a super healthy 9 pounder, 21 inches long. The kid (thank God and nutrition) was NEVER sick in elementary! Now, he gets the occassional allergy – it gets "dusty" in TN. I have NEVER had a broken bone and neither has my kid. I see other kids... parents and kids, skinny as rails; always complaining about some ear infection or some other type of ailment.

    Other than aspiring, and the very occassional tylenol; we do not take any meds. I know what we eat, and it is not junk; we eat wholesome, homemade foods. I'm about to pull him off the school cafeteria food, because his mind is beginning to get "foggy" again.

    I tell you – I don't know what is put into our foods but it is not healthy. One has to be super conscious of what to eat. Oh, BTW, doctors have always hounded me and my kid for being overweight. We are BIG people; taller than average. My son is 6'2" at 15yrs old and wears a size 15 shoe. We always go for the "red top" milk – any of the other ones taste "nasty" We look at other people and they look scranny to us. Even elementary school kids look below height to me.

    Most of my kid's generation friends appear to be of good height and healthy, but some of these "within normal weight" kids nowdays are always sick and look short.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    September 15, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  26. Teri

    What is considered normal is entirely a social construct. It is possible to be viewed as being overweight by social standards and still be healthy. The ranges set by the BMI do not take into account individual factors, and are no more than an easy guide. If I have a 30lb range to weigh in and still be considered healthy, surely that shows that our scales are flawed.

    We have two problems right now: both blaming the victim and failing to overlook societal factors. Yes you have to take a level of personal responsibility to exercise and eat well, but given the amount of additives in our food, the increasingly sedentary work, and the increased time required for work to support a family it is no wonder that it can quickly spiral. Even with children we see they're eating processed food and sugar every day at school, setting the cycle for life.

    Again, lets get rid of the idea of normalcy and focus on just being healthy, at whatever weight.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  27. charlene

    Having been extremely fit my entire life with the help of genetics, diet and exercise, I have become convinced that obesity is nature's way of eliminating the more debilitating and torturous effects of old age.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
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