The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
conducted a nationally representative household survey with more than 1,000
adults to measure the general public’s opinions about obesity and
obesity-related health issues in the United States. The survey assessed how the
public understands the reasons behind the rising rates of obesity in the U.S.,
the connection between obesity and health issues including diabetes, and the
role of government in addressing obesity. The results provide insight into the
public’s perception of the severity of the obesity problem and their feeling
about where responsibility lies for implementing solutions.
Significant findings include:
- The U.S.
public considers obesity second only to cancer as the most serious health
issue, with conditions closely related to obesity—diabetes and heart
disease—tied for third.
- Eight out
of ten people cite too much TV and computer time as the most important reason
for high rates of obesity, with easy access to cheap fast food and lack of
desire or knowledge about how to control one’s weight as other major factors.
is an issue with 95 percent of the public believing that obese people face some
level of discrimination due to their weight.
wide public understanding of the connection between obesity and the health
impacts of being overweight such as diabetes and heart disease.
- There is
strong support for government policies that would add more physical activity
time in schools, provide information about healthy choices, and incentives to
the food industry to produce healthier options.
little support for policies that would constrain consumer choices such as
limits on the amount or type of food that can be purchased or taxes on
unhealthy foods or drinks.