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Posted on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Michigan among top five fattest states in the country

By Amy Biolchini

A new analysis of adult obesity rates has revealed Michigan is the fifth fattest state in the country, with a rate of 31.3 percent.


Michigan has ranked as the fifth fattest state in the country.

The analysis by the Trust for American Health of 2011 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 12 states have adult obesity rates higher than 30 percent, according to a report by

At the top of the list is Mississippi, with a rate of 34.9 percent, followed by Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama.

The state with the least obese adults is Colorado, with a rate of 20.7 percent.

The same group released a similar adult obesity ranking last summer, when Michigan was 10th in the nation with a rate of 30.5 percent. Changing CDC methodology makes it difficult to compare one year's ranking to another, according to the report.

A person is considered to be obese by doctors when their body mass index is greater than 30.

Michigan officials have taken notice. Gov. Rick Snyder outlined a number of new health initiatives in the past year, including a sign program at grocery stores to encourage people to make healthier choices.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

You are what you eat.

Paul Wiener

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Ahh, the glories of reporting on self-selected weight loss surveys! Three things I gathered from the survey results shown here: 1. Most of those obese people live everywhere but in Ann Arbor. 2. Most of those obese people don't read 3. A heck of a lot of survey respondents must be liars or fantasists.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Dangit! this article is ruining my dinner! I'm gonna have to stop by McDonalds later on.....

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

"Yo' state so fat that the ground is spillin' over the border into Ohio and Indiana." Not sure that joke works......

Dog Guy

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Michigan needs more taunting by school bullies to help control childhood obesity. A movie encouraging constructive criticism of overdupois by such peer mentors would help.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

I wonder if there's a link to the amount of sweets that are brought into schools to celebrate everything. I'm amazed at how many times my kids are given cupcakes, cookies, candy and juice boxes because it's someone's birthday or the last day of something or other. Are we training our kids that the only way to celebrate is with unhealthy consumption?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

As a fat middle aged lady who goes to the gym every day and eats a nice healthy diet with whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies, I am not especially upset that Michigan is a fat state. It is the only state that has any kind of employment protection for fat people. If I didn't already live here, I might move here. Outside of Ann Arbor, people are pretty accepting of fat people too. I like that I can do healthy things like ride my bike in public without people yelling comments about how I am ruining their lives by exercising in public with my fat butt on full view.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

You were lied to about what is healthy. Grains are making you fat. Read "The Paleo Solution", "The Primal Blueprint", etc. Read the websites associated with those books.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

WiY, I did not know about the obesity discrimination protection in Michigan, so thanks for the info. I also agree with your point about obese people who exercise regularly vs. non-obese people who do not. It's quite possible to be very unhealthy and not be fat. I never said or implied otherwise. Plenty of healthy-weight people have heart attacks every day. Lipid levels, inflammation markers and family history are a more accurate gauge of someone's "health" than just the number on the scale. However, all other things being equal, a person carrying enough extra weight to be morbidly obese is simply not as healthy as someone who is not carrying all that extra weight. I'm not talking about 20 pounds...I'm talking about people who are 60,70+ pounds over a reasonable weight.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

Mick52, due to Michigan being 5th on the national list of having a high percentage of heavy citizens, it is not a coincidence that the obesity discrimination law exist in this state. I wonder now that this list is out, how many other states flabbergasted by this revelation will follow Michigan's path. But regardless of this law, people need to own up to their weight issues and prevent from becoming obese in the first place. Eat less, eat healthier, and exercise vigorously.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

YpsiVet, Michigan does have an obesity discrimination law on the books. Last I knew Michigan was the only state to have one:

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

With all due respect, YpsiVeteran, there is such a thing as weight diversity. If you took a hundred people and fed them the exact same diet, they would not all be the same size. Some would be thin and some would be fat. And what is a healthy diet anyways? Is a fat person eating whole foods less healthy than say someone who is thin but eats fast food all of the time? Is a fat person who exercises regularly unhealthy when compared to thin people who don't regularly exercise? I am going to keep taking the advice of my medical doctor and the nutritionist I meet with weekly on this subject and conclude that my diet is healthy. Michigan is the only state which protects obese people in the same way it protects other minority groups. I am proud of that even though I had nothing to do with it. It shows some tolerance that is often lacking in our state though.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Sorry, no offense intended, but no diet is "healthy" if it is consumed to the point of obesity. I'm also sincerely curious as to what "employment protections" you feel Michigan offers to people who are obese. I've not heard of obesity as a protected class.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Something all 5 of these "fat" states have in common --- pretty good college football teams. I know my beer / queso dip / chicken wing intake spikes drastically during college football saturdays!

Jojo B

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

While the BMI test is not without flaws, let's be honest, people. We are NOT a state filled with wrestlers, body-builders, and linebackers. We have a lot of fat people who eat the wrong foods, low-grade processed foods, and we don't get out and exercise and play enough.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

True, but those of us who do take care of ourselves and yet are considered obese via BMI don't take too kindly to all our work being mis-characterized and putting us in the same company as the guy at 40% body fat who just found a way to combine Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds and Crisco into their afternoon snack. BMI is very flawed and can be seen almost as an anti-reward for taking good care of yourself. Sure, it's easy and quick, but so would asking a Magic 8-ball for an answer. They really should do body fat readings with calipers (a single sample of one takes only 10-15 seconds for an experienced staffer and while not perfect, is worlds closer to a useful bit of data)

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Processed food is subsidized. That makes it cheaper. People who work a lot do not have time to prepare or shop for healthy food. A lot of folks barely have time to shovel some food - any food - in their face before they crash for the night. People who have hired lawn care, nannies for the kids, people to do the shopping, and larger budgets can afford to eat healthy foods and they have more time to prepare them. Assuming, of course, that there isn't a hired cook.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Fact is: Junk food is cheaper...Healthy food is more expensive. People are living to paycheck to paycheck already.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

YpsiVet is right, that is simply not true, Momma.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

That's an overblown myth. Junk food isn't any cheaper as a steady diet over time, it's just more readily available, and people are so freaking lazy anymore that they can't be bothered to walk into a store if there's a drive-thru available. The same five bucks you'd spend on a burger combo will buy several varieties of rather large pre-made salad with grilled chicken, etc. It's true that many inner city communities are severely underserved by decent grocery stores, but the overwhelming majority of the 30% of obese people in this state are not living in the inner city. Walk around 12 Oaks someday and see for yourself.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Yet another reason why Insurance companies should pay for gym memberships.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Insurance companies won't pay for gym memberships but they might consider a break in your premiums if you have one and get fit because that might cost less than paying for illness due to unhealthy living. I actually asked my Dr (jokingly) for a prescription for a home gym. He response was that he could not do that but he could give me a letter that one was a healthy necessity and I could deduct some portion of the cost from my taxes. I never did this and did not confirm it but I think that would be a great way in re to health promotion. I would like to see a tax deduction for exercise costs like gym memberships rolled into the health care laws the feds propose. There already is a pretty good tax break you and your employer can get if you bicycle to work a certain number of days. It is not a lot but you can use it for some expenses, such as renting a bike locker from Ann Arbor to keep your bike safe and dry:


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

@mgobluemomma, no... you buy your own gym membership. There are just some things fully functioning adults in a capitalist society need to do on their own volition without the financial backing of something/someone else.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

That's right. We should get everything for free.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Is this why this blog obsessively promotes the opening of every new burger and pizza joint but has limited coverage of cultural affairs?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

You know, burgers and pizza are not bad. It is how often you partake. You can get fit and still eat what you want with proper moderation. Advertising and stories do not make me eat or buy anything at all unless it promotes a great sale.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Hi PersonaX- Is there a specific topic within the cultural affairs genre you are seeking coverage on? Our reporters and photographers regularly cover a variety of cultural related news, events, and topics around the county but welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have!

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

@jcj: I am a "porker(your definition, not mine)." I have several tattoos. I won't presume to speak for anyone but myself, but I can assure you that whenever I get a new one it is not with any idea that I will "look better." I get tattoos because it is one way of expressing myself. if you don't like what you are seeing then I suggest that you look elsewhere.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

It really is not that difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Eat unprocessed food. No more pop or fast food or pre-fabbed food. At first, it may not taste that great because you are used to overdoses of sugar & salt. But after a couple of months, you will wonder how you ever ate that crap. If you want to lose even more weight, give up grains. They are high carb and don't offer that much nutrition considering the calories. Lastly, get outside and take a walk several times a week.

Dog Guy

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Specifically, eat "100% whole wheat" because "whole wheat" is a lie (look at the entire list of ingredients). And, yes, you shall lose your taste for enriched flour and sugar as you gain endurance and lose weight. Whole grain pasta is not more expensive; the bagged Meijer brand from Italy is wonderful and sometimes on sale price. Kroger stores discount bread items as they approach their pull date so 100% whole grain can be cheaper than fluffy-yuck candy bread. (Mammy's little baby loves short date, short date. Mammy's little baby loves short date bread.)


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

In reply to M. Limmer who wrote " If being told a few times is all that is needed, then why do companies have food commercials on the air constantly? It will be an ongoing battle between the various interests to win the heart, mind, and stomach of Americans." I might agree with you if it were only a few times, but public health programs, hospital programs, school-based programs have been telling the public for decades that obesity is bad for self and for society. Yet the epidemic continues and thrives. Sorry, this "educate the public" approach is not providing value consistent with the dollars spent on it, and spending at a higher level with more programs is throwing good money after bad There doesn't have to be an "ongoing battle" if we develop a better overall strategy to win the war. People know obesity is bad. And the existing incentives for healthy behavior (eg. healthy body, reduced medical costs for self and society) are obviously not enough to curb the growth of obesity.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

@Epengar: Point taken. But they aren't sufficient either, so if you believe that the masses have been educated or informed, then additional funding should not be spent in this area. I believe a basal public health message is important, but spending more money on education is not wise when education is no longer an issue. Behavior modification is where the money should be spent and a basis for that is typically a mix of incentives and disincentives. The problem is good health is not incentive enough and poor health and contributing to higher medical costs for society are not disincentive enough.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Given that there are both biological (we evolved to prefer sweets and fats) and cultural (ads for high calorie foods) pressures to eat in unhealthy ways, how do you know that the public education programs aren't working? It could be that they are working, and if we didn't have them, even more people would be obese.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:29 a.m.

I Believe it!! I am, but it was a direct result of my snoring, and surgery on my kidneys. With out change in my diet, I had a rapid weight gain for two years, from my norm at 220, to only a few pounds under 400, it was crazy. My boss noticed it and after a while I was falling to sleep all the time. She made me go to ER, and tell them whats going on. They sent me back to the kidney Doctor, and he said some other private stuff, and it scared me. He really couldn't figure out why is was happening. I couldn't either, and then the news came back that I"m diabetic 2, and have Sleep Apnea; which I was a very healthy 220 and solid. so finally I am going back to my normal and after proper treatment of UofM , I have lost almost 100 of it in 2 years, but now I am getting healthier than ever too. I eat lots of fruits, like berry's and dark green leafy veggies in large assortments. Thanks the our doctors we can loose weight, after i got used to their method, my body crave these fruits and vegges. Think about all the junk you eat, and say wow, 'i do that". yeah, well if you spend that 3 bucks for chips, that will buy a bunch of fruit, and instead of cherry flavor, a bag of real cherry's. Its working for me, and I really never changed my diet, but just the snack foods.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Congratulations Joe!

Guinea Pig in a Tophat

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

Congrats on the weight loss Joe! I'm trying to eat healthier too. My latest thing is frozen grapes. There's something about them that makes them a nice sweet treat.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:04 a.m.

Mmmm, Bacon, nom, nom, nom.....


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Love the Cottage Inn coupon right in the middle of the article. Too much!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Look around you, what do you see? Corn and soybeans. Why so much of those things being planted? Government subsidies. It's called monoculture. What do we do with all that corn? Make sugar, like high fructose corn syrup. Where does that go? Into practically all processed and packaged food and drinks. I even found sugar listed as an ingredient on packaged chicken breasts at Sam's Club. The Government subsidizes this with our tax dollars. Sugar makes people sick and fat. Then they need medical care. The medical centers are riding high on those sick people. The government does not subsidize healthy food. That is why it costs more. Poor people can't afford it. So they are left with the cheap junk. They get more obese and need more medical care. Get educated on this stuff and make a pledge to start feeding yourself and family healthy foods. Nothing with a label. Thumb your nose at the corporations and factory farms. Stop supporting animal cruelty on factory farms by refusing to spend you money supporting it. Get educated about so-called "cage free" eggs. It's a myth.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : noon

We make ethanol from the corn so it can foul up our car engines. Blame the environmentalists! It's BIO-FUEL.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

The real problem is the crappy food that people eat now. Yes you can get healthy food all over town in most grocery stores. Thing is, most people aren't choosing those foods and rather raiding the vending machine at work, eating fast food for lunch and for quick meals, and not preparing their own food. Those quickie food solutions are loaded with calories, salt, and sugar. Until we start making choices to not eat those kinds of crappy, quickie foods, we're going to keep getting fatter every year. That being said, it's not the fast food or junk food's fault. We are choosing those foods. People need to stop eating that stuff and start eating healthier, and take responsibility for their health.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Best post here Tommy. Well done.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

What do you expect from a state that is anti-education as this one? Look at the 4 states ahead of us, and see our future, given the politicians this state continues to reward. It's a race to be the dumbest, and fattest.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Mike, I never saw this connection between unions and obesity and obesity and gender preference before! Do tell...maybe with some facts and statistics?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

Except that it's not our future, it's our present. While other states are making progress, we are sliding farther into the toilet.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

New poll/screening question: "Do you believe that BMI is useless?"


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

In my opinion, those of you who oppose using BMI are confusing its utility in populations with its utility in individuals. In populations, it is very useful in estimating the minimum percentage of the population overweight or obese. For individuals, however, it is a coarse estimate of the individual's % body fat. If an individual has a high BMI, they very likely (with a 95-99% likelihood) have a % body fat associated with an increased risk of disease. If an individual has a normal BMI, they have about a 50:50 chance of having a % body fat not associated with an increased risk of disease. Sure, there are individuals for whom using BMI falsely calculates their % body fat as being unhealthy, as the 95-99% figures imply. These include (as critics are so fond of pointing out) body builders, and it also includes pregnant women. But these exceptions are obvious. The above story on obesity in the United States is based on population data. The BMI is very helpful in such population studies, exceptions in individuals (almost always obvious) notwithstanding.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Yes. Body fat is analyzed more accurately by using calipers...or a dunk tank.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

SECFAN - lol good one..but I side average height, not average depth


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

Not completely useless but I brought it up with my Dr and he said don't worry about it because I lift weights. According to Webmd I should weight 180 but that would mean I would have to stop weight training completely. This chart also says Vincent Smith, Denard Robinson and Fritz Toussaint are obese. I would like to know only what percentage of my body weight is fat and for that I believe there are tests that can be done but they are expensive. BMI is not totally useless, it is just one method to use to get some sort of measure. I suppose if a person has no reason to build muscle it is not totally useless. In 2010 I weighed 230 lbs. Now I am under 205 and striving to get under 200. I just got disgusted at how I looked. I do look better, had to buy smaller clothes and belts, but alas per BMI I am still fat!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

@Mohawk...uh...maybe cause the "average" person is fat...


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

It is complete junk --- if you are even average height and work out, you are considered obese.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.


Detached Observer

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

The magic secret to losing weight and looking great is strength training. It's way more effective than aerobic exercise because those extra muscle cells burn calories 24/7. Since muscle is denser than fat, you'll look thinner even if you lose no weight at all. Ladies, this includes you (you won't look like a body builder unless you work out like crazy and eat a special diet). Of course, you should cut back on the sweets and drink water instead of soft drinks...


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

I know that building muscle helps to burn calories, but it is not effective enough and not better than aerobic exercise. To be fit you have to do aerobic training to burn extra calories, weight train, eat healthy and stretch to become flexible. You can't do it by one method alone. Also based on genetics and skeletal structure, some people cannot develop significantly larger musculature. I have lifted my whole life but the best exercise to keep me slim was running. Now I have to bicycle because my joints are so bad. But nothing worked better than running.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

YpsiVeteran, that's because the poverty level has been adjusted for political reasons since the Great Depression. Back then, if you didn't have a job, you couldn't feed your family and you might not have any alternatives. There are safety nets today. Unfortunately, many of those safety nets are lined with potato chips.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

There are safety nets in existence today that did not exist previously, as you and SEC (above) have pointed out. I have personally met many people who were availing themselves of every dime they could get, who collected more every month than I brought home from my salary at the time, which was about $40K per year. That's plenty of money with which to buy decent food, so we're back to ignorance, apathy and culture. I think we could probably also make the argument that past generations of poverty-stricken people were significantly less likely to make use of the assistance programs that were developed, unless they had kids. I've read many accounts of people from the past who would have rather died than accept public assistance.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

That's it. I'm going for a walk right now.

Sandra Samons

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : midnight

Perhaps the problem of adult obesity would be solved or at least greatly improved if we did a better job of addressing childhood obesity. Why, exactly, are vending machines in schools, encouraging our kids to drink calorie loaded beverages and eat junk food? Is it because it's good for our kids or because it puts money in someone's pocket at the expense of our kids?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Pick your study: Study Links Healthier Weight in Children With Strict Laws on School Snacks Nutrition: No Obesity Link to Junk Food in Schools


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1 a.m.

It's because it puts money in someone's pocket at the expense of kids. Here's one such article: The corporatist industrial food system is designed to make a few people a lot of money. Big money lobbies the government for subsidies, contracts, etc and gets them. Would it help if the government said that eating lots of industrial food is healthy? No problem, they'll make the food pyramid reflect that. Would processed food-like products make more money than selling unprocessed ingredients that are prepared by real cooks? Bribe the right bureaucrat and it's done. Are small farmers producing high quality food making you nervous? Have the USDA gestapo regulate them out of business. Or DNR as several Michigan family hog farmers found out. Get the government out of the food system and small farmers who use skill more than capital equipment will have a much better chance of success. Joel Salatin makes this point in detail in his books.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

NUMBER FIVE!! We are so close to NUMBER ONE I can taste it!! MORE BACON MORE BACON!! It is so great that someone tracks this for the amusement of us all, along with the video!!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

Clearly Slick Rick Snyders fault.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

How about fat people with tattoos? Michigan might be #1 there.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Fat people with BAD tattoos.

Dog Guy

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Living on tax money makes people fat.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

Yes, because good food costs a little more than processed and calorie-injected crap. And the more wealthy have the education (and the money) to avoid the latter. Mostly its education and habits though.

Detached Observer

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Not true. Rich people are thinner than poor people.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

The common link? Not potato chips - Michigan would be on top. Not oil spills - West Virginia is clean. Also has a Democrat for governor. Hmmm.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Duh!!! Just look around How many big butts do you see? I see many.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

hey, some people like big butts.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

This does not surprise me. I was recently mocked by many commenters when I voiced interest in why another donut chain seems to be opening many new places in our city. The general response was – mind your own business; UM residents and students know how to eat healthy. My experience is different than what the commenters stated. Now we have some other evidence that Michigan does not lead the nation in healthy eating habits. I already know this having lived here for more than 22 years. But, I know this will come as a shock to the Michigan ego – that they do not lead in healthy eating habits. I know this will be an extreme shock to AA residents that Michigan is NOT known for eating healthy. Go Blue? Or, Go Healthy?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:57 a.m.

Dear Goober: the informed reader would surmise from the article and the more articulate comments that there is a close correlation between socio-economic status and healthy eating. That same reader would then have to conclude that many in this town are fortunate enough to be able to and do eat healthy and would also have some thoughts about where the pockets of "healthy" and "unheathy" might be spread out across this state and at what densities that lead us to this average that we were ranked upon Sorry to put a dent in your AA bashing and I look forward to seeing you at the farmers markets, the co-op, plum market, sparrow market, whole foods, and the zillion other places in this town where people shop and dine healthy every day.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

And how many new chain burger joints have opened recently in and around A2?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Good point and a reason why Americans are overweight. People just do not eat healthy and it will not change until it becomes a money issue, which is my point. When you have to pay a lot more your habits will change, thus I promote increased insurance premiums for unhealthy people.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Hey, Burgers don't make you fat...eating them does!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Yep. :-)


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

Just five times bigger?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Certainly indicates there is a market. You know, 5 Guys is really just One Guy.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

The poll results (as of now, 44% of the respondents claiming they lost weight in the past year) remind me of this article: .


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

depends on how you phrase the question. Sure I "lost" weight in the past year...I also gained some :-)


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

@NewYorkerinAA, I am not sure why the link did not work for you. To confirm its validity, I copied and pasted the link (omitting the end-of-sentence period, of course) and it worked. The title of the short article is "Americans Gaining More Weight Than They Say." The first two sentences are "Despite the increasing awareness of the problem of obesity in the United States, most Americans don't know whether they are gaining or losing weight, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Obesity increased in the US between 2008 and 2009, but in response to the questions about year-to-year changes in weight that were included in the most widespread public health survey in the country, on average, people said that they lost weight."


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the link to work. I also think that people might be inferring (incorrectly) that the people that did claim they lost weight are not obese. I'll put it out there, I have lost some weight in the past year, and I did click that I lost weight, but I am still obese. Just because someone is obese doesn't mean that they're not trying to do anything about it.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

I'm gonna chime in on this one.When I was in high school and was in good shape I weighed 175 lbs, but according to the BMI i should have weighed 160.If I weighed that I would have looked like I was sick


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

well, since it only works for 95% of the population and not for you, let's throw it out...obviously it's useless. and since seat belts don't save 100% of car accident victims, let's get rid of them too. Heck, let's get rid of everything that doesn't apply to 100% of everyone...

Stan Hyne

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

We don't need BMI, a mirror would do.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

Yep. All those buff babes and sculpted studs in Michigan sure fooled those analysts.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

BMI is worthless if you weight lift long term.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Doesn't everyone in this country above the age of 6 yrs know by now that obesity is bad? Haven't we known for decades that a balanced diet and regular exercise are the foundation for maintaining health and an optimum body weight? If so, how will more public health education programs help when obesity continues to rise in spite of this knowledge? I'm inclined to think that everyone who is capable of being educated has been reached already, they have chosen a lifestyle and an action (or inaction) plan. Given that approximately 70% of dollars for medical research are spent on obesity-related problems, and most obesity is a matter of a lifestyle and cultural attitudes, I think our country enables this problem to exist to the level that it does. We need some new disincentives, because oddly enough, all of the obesity-related diseases that people suffer from are apparently not enough. Coddling this segment of our society has done nothing but allow the "epidemic" to spread and flourish.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

@SEC Fan: The point is more public education is not the best solution, and probably not even a value-added one, for improving a situation that "everyone" knows is bad. Concerning the wide rage of examples of "bad" behavior you provided, only a few have a similar or greater level of impact on personal health and society than does obesity. Of those that are essentially public health issues, all have significant disincentives (smoking restrictions, increased insurance premiums for smokers, jail time for DUI, tickets for speeding) in addition to the basic public health/safety message. There has been enough programs for educating society about the obesity epidemic. More are not needed. If you disagree, can you provide evidence that supports your position?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

@MDavid, "Doesn't everyone in this country above the age of 6 yrs know by now that obesity is bad?" Why yes, of course we do. We also know: - Smoking is bad - War is bad - Murder is bad - Cheating is bad - Stealing is bad - Excessive drinking is bad - Driving too fast is bad - Cursing is bad - biting our nails is bad - not turning off lights when we leave a room is bad - mowing the lawn on high ozone days is bad - Urinating in the pool is bad - Drinking from the milk carton is bad - picking your nose is bad What's your point?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

People are not as rational as you pretend they are, and for lots of people, managing weight isn't a simple question of will or changing your mind. It takes effort, and and different techniques work for different people. The public education in question will help people learn more techniques, so they have more ways to succeed, lose weight, be healthier, and require less health care.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

the Nanny State strikes again!!

michael Limmer

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : midnight

If being told a few times is all that is needed, then why do companies have food commercials on the air constantly? It will be an ongoing battle between the various interests to win the heart, mind, and stomach of Americans.

Tom Todd

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

A lot of people over eat to combat the stress of living in Michigan.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Tom, that is the silliest post yet. It is stressful living in any area of this country.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Or, because controlling their eating is too stressful.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Congratulations! another Top Ten Award!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Except this time we're in the company of Mississippi instead of Boulder.

wolfman jack

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

Bacon ..Bacon.. Bacon..lettuce and tomato tonight. Thanks. Solved the dilemma.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

wolfman, I recommend you eat it on sourdough bread. Dee-licious!

Ron Granger

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Better poll questions might be: "Can you see your toes when you stand on a scale?" Or "How many times do you usually eat fast food each week?"


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

I lost a pound just looking at the bacon. It was all drool!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

I've just started eating turkey bacon for the first time. It's delicious. I gave up pork and red meat 18 years ago and haven't looked back or felt healthier.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

This is so embarrassing. But then again, it's true. I walked through the U of M hospital during lunch, and the high proportion of overweight people as both patients, staff, and visitors is startingly.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

@simone66 This isn't about you loving your own body, this is about you being embarrassed about the state of other people's bodies. It is not something confused with bigotry. It *is* bigotry. And by the way, it is a stereotype to assume that because someone is fat, it means that they are poor and uneducated and to imply that is the case or the cause of our obesity "problem" is what is unfair. I love my body too. I also take great pride in it. I work very hard to stay healthy. According to my doctor, I *am* healthy. I am also a good 50 lbs overweight. (luckily for me, the data is starting to suggest that my level of obesity might actually mean I am more healthy but I'll leave that for another day).


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

womaninyspilanti, since you used the term 'embarrassing' I presume you are referencing my comment. I find this list embarrassing because out of this entire country, yes, we're 5th on the list. In an ideal world, this list would either not exist, or we would be near the bottom. But be that as it may, and without being PC, yes, it's a sad commentary about the condition of our state. There are various reasons why we have a large obesity problem here in Michigan, and many of them point in the direction of education and economics. As someone who takes great pride in my own body, I realize it is difficult for others to feel the same way in being committed to having a normal weight body. Although the statistics are embarrassing... please don't equate that embarrassment to bigotry. That's unfair and flat out wrong.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

@Woman In Ypsilanti, I'd like to reinforce that all I said above is that it's startling when you step off a plane into DTW and notice a significantly higher percentage of people I'd assume are "obese". I love Michigan and would like to move back there for numerous reasons, but it's just not in the cards right now, also for numerous reasons. As one of the few people who posts using my actual name on this board, I wanted to clarify so I'm not mis-characterized as one who is embarrassed by a fat person.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

I am embarrassed to live in a state with people who are such bigots that they would feel embarrassed to be associated with fat people in any way. I mean really?!? You are *embarrassed* to live in a state with fat people?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

Every doctor, I mean every doctor that I have ever been to in my life time (over 40 years now) has been over weight or even fat. Many smelled like smoke stacks. Maybe I am going to too many clinics. :)


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

The doctors lead the pack - eh?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

It's startling when you step off a place into DTW too...


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

BMI is useless. It doesn't factor in muscle weight. The Wolverine football team is obese according to BMI. Want to fix obesity and a whole lot of chronic disease? End federal farm subsidies and dietary guidelines. Farmers will go back to raising much healthier pastured livestock. Grain and HFCS consumption will plummet. Food-like products won't seem as cheap compared to real food. If you eat healthy fats, meat and veggies you'll lose weight. Corporatist farm and nutrition policy is killing us and driving demand for health care.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

You are exactly correct Technojunkie. Muscle weighs more than fat. I swim 3 miles every other day, and ride my horse the rest of the time. I did that this entire summer training for an open water swim in Lake Michigan. I actually gained 7 pounds, but I have to use a belt now to hold my jeans up. BMI is useless. Also. Fat takes up more space than muscle.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Anybody who's obese and hides behind the BMI argument is simply utilizing misdirection. Athletes (and athletic types) know what BMI means and how it applies to them. The obese and overweight seek to obfuscate the argument by attempting to confuse people with regards to what BMI means. If you're fat you're fat - there's no way around it. BMI is simply one measure of being fat. Incorrectly applying a BMI measurement does not change the fact that you're overweight.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

As you say correctly, the U.S. government food policies are built around mass-production of low quality, unhealthy food that is helping to drive up obesity rates. Big Ag and Big Food have maintained a stranglehold on U.S. government policies for decades. The massively outdated farm subsidy program and allowing livestock and poultry to be loaded up with unhealthy chemicals and drugs are just two examples of this.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Technojunkie you hit the nail on the head with your comments. You have obviously done your homework. Our government subsidized junk food...corn is now used in the vast majority of our food...and that means sugar. Soy is another one of those. Monoculture is killing us and now we're spreading it to the rest of the world. It is sad that the poorest of us can't afford decent food and must rely on the junk the government subsidizes.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

The American Farmer is the biggest drain we have on our economy other than welfare and social security. Their demand for handouts and subsidies reeks of Mother Russia.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

"End federal farm subsidies and dietary guidelines." Absolutely correct. As long as the gov't subsidizes corn (high fructose corn syrup), sugar and beef, there will be obesity. Cheap food is fattening, filled with sugar and HFCS and bad fats, and low income folks can't afford to eat fresh vegetables and fruits which are not subsidized. Laziness plays a part as well. Many obese and overweight people don't cook healthy food from scratch, they eat prepared and packaged foods which are high salt, high fat and high calories. Corporate advertising pushes junk food and fast foods, and they are very successful in manipulating the message about nutritional values of foods they push through high cost marketing.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

"BMI is useless." Actually, for population assessments, BMI UNDERestimates the percentage of people who are overweight or obese. Almost all (95-99%) of those determined to be overweight or obese by the BMI are, in fact, overweight or obese if their % body fat is determined (the gold standard for determining if someone is overweight or obese). Many (51-64%) of those, however, with a normal BMI are actually overweight or obese when their % body fat is determined. See International Journal of Obesity 32 (6): 959–966 (June 2008). For a more comprehensive discussion of BMI (including discussion of the above information), see . The bottom line is that BMI is VERY useful in calculating prevalence of overweight or obesity, particularly in populations. If anything, it underestimates the problem.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.



Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

mmmm....Little Debbies with bacon...

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

and the Little Debbies too! yum!

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

yes, and pass the BUTTER while you're at it!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

Mmmmmm. Bacon is meat candy


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.



Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Good article Amy. I think the President failed with the health care act by avoiding putting any responsibility of the individual to get fit, probably the best way to decrease health care costs and what is happening in many countries that have single payer health care with financial issues like here in the US. Rather than put the burden on insurance companies, people need to do their part by losing weight, eating healthier, and exercising more.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:02 p.m.

So, what should the government do to get people to exercise...handcuff them to a treadmill every day? Do we appoint food police? What about genetic problems and other medical problems that cause obesity? People are going to do what they're going to do. Next time you're at U of M hospitals check out the number of obese staff...This includes docs, nurses, clerical...and especially security.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Thanks for that information Clownfish. I am surprised though that the President does not emphasize healthy living more. I am pleased with the Let's Move campaign promoted by the First Lady, but I think much more emphasis needs to be placed on getting fit. Michigan has an obesity discrimination law and I hope that does not stand in the way of allowing business to increase insurance rates for unhealthy people, including smokers. Sh1 you don't have to join a gym, you can walk. Or better yet, get a bicycle.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

For starters, the President leads by example: he's in excellent shape. Michelle has made healthy eating her main focus. Had the Affordable Care Act included provisions about healthy diet and exercise the right would have gone even more berserk about it, with cries of government mandating what we can and can't eat.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

"The high cost of being significantly overweight manifests in a variety of ways, ranging from the increased insurance premiums we all pay to subsidize the added medical charges incurred by the obese to the surprisingly dramatic impact our collective pounds has on energy costs." ..."What you may not know is that the Affordable Care Act directly confronts this crisis in a number of ways— beginning with empowering employers to battle obesity by allowing them to charge obese employees 30 to 50 percent more in what they contribute toward their health insurance benefit should an employee refuse to participate in a qualified wellness program designed to help them lose weight. You may also not know that the reform law includes incentives to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get them into a primary care doctor to discuss and execute a weight loss program. Obamacare even funds community programs designed to help people take off the extra pounds"


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Insurance companies are placing obesity programs withing their policies. Many companies require obese people to lose weight or pay a higher premium. When this becomes common practice watch for the "government can't tell me how to live" crowd to howl like little babies. The irony is that obesity costs us ALL money in the long run and those generally opposed to "Other People " costing us money are also against limits placed on them by insurers/governments.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

yah right. and if he had a governemtn-incentive-to-lose-your-individual-spare-tire, I'm sure you would be saying that he was inflicting a lib'ral bias on your god-lovin' right to be an overweight tapeworm, driving without seatbelt or helmet.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

@ypsivet. while I don't disagree with your overall statement, to compare people in poverty today who receive a "great deal" of support, both federally and from state/local governments to those of the Depression is a bit silly. They didn't have government support so they simply went hungry.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

No one in AA will ever agree that Obama failed at anything. Let's blame Bush!

Angry Moderate

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

Insurance pools risk to make costs more predictable. There is no "risk" as to the cost of a gym membership. Same reason your car insurance doesn't cover oil changes.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

I frequently hear/read the idea that poverty is linked with obesity. You never saw pictures of grossly overweight people during the Great Depression, or the Dustbowl, or any of the other significant instances of widespread and severe poverty in this country. I think it has less to do with finances and more to do with ignorance and apathy, two characteristics not limited to poor people, and, to a lesser extent, culture.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Sh1, buy the gym membership yourself, you'll be more motivated to use it and work out to get healthier. Or, buy DVD exercise videos. Just walking a mile a day, for free, is great exercise. Take responsibility for your own health and fitness... just like I do.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

It's health care in general and can't really be blamed on Obama. My insurance will pay for treatment but will not cover any efforts such as gym memberships or fitness classes.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

They say the income median is a factor as to whether or not you are over weight or healthy weight.. Me? I need to loose weight. Walking in the rain. Sounds like fun.