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Why Are There So Many Fat People?

Vivian observes life and culture and offers truthful insights to introduce balance and normalcy to the crazed sectors of society.

Fat people aren’t anomalies relegated to “only at Walmart” memes anymore. They are everywhere. Except for maybe the gym and organic grocery stores.

Obesity was once viewed as beautiful, healthy, and a sign of prosperity. Wealthy people could afford to eat better and more, so plumpness was attractive. Have times ever changed! These days, even government food stamps can guarantee a bovine physique, shooting down the reciprocity between obesity and wealth. Modern science has also debunked the connection between health and extra girth—overweight people have an increased risk for a plethora of health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and depression. Unless you have a perverse fetish for the elephantine, rotundity is no longer alluring—stout is out.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 93.9 million adults and 13.7 million kids are obese. Why are there so many fat people?


Health Issues & Genetics

In some situations, health issues hinder people from exercising. When it comes to obesity, however, it’s like asking what came first—the chicken or the egg? Do fat people not exercise because they are too fat, or are they too fat because they don’t exercise?

Obese people suffering from conditions like high blood pressure and joint pain are apprehensive about exercising, fearing they will have a heart attack or compound joint pain. This is a valid concern, but when the high blood pressure and painful joints are the result of hauling around a metric ton of body weight, what can be done to break the vicious cycle? Consulting with a physician on an incremental fitness regimen that is safe and effective is a good place to start.

Some people claim they are obese due to hypothyroidism. While that may be true, the proper synthetic hormone medication should regulate the thyroid, thus returning the metabolism to normal. One patient diagnosed with an under active thyroid was prescribed Synthroid—at age 69, she walks 2-4 miles daily, eats healthy, and maintains a girlish 123 pound figure.

Some people were born to obese parents, became obese themselves, and then spawned obese children of their own. Are parents modeling poor eating and fitness behaviors that are passed through the generations, or is there a biological explanation for the Jumbo family tree? Some research suggests that once the body has become obese, it changes its biology. Even after weight is lost, biology tries to force the body back to its previous maximum weight.

As people age, the metabolism also slows, so just being over 40 introduces new weight challenges that require extra resolve to conquer.

Regardless, neglecting to implement a fitness and nutrition regimen for better health is counter intuitive. It’s wise to help your body on the inside even if the outside doesn’t cooperate.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When many of us put on extra weight, we are uncomfortable. We cut back our calorie intake, increase protein, reduce carbs, make healthier food choices, and exercise. It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes—the Battle of the Bulge—but we fight back nonetheless. We don’t like how we look, how we feel, or how our clothes fit when those pounds creep on, and we are determined to do something about it.

Does this same process not occur with fat people? At the onset of weight gain, do they ever look in the mirror and think, “I’m really getting fat. Maybe I should stop eating the whole package of Oreos at one sitting?”

When out in public, it’s hard not to stare at the woman with legs wider around than a 300-year-old tree. She can’t walk normally. To move forward, she must slosh from side-to-side like Sam the Snowman from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Like a Weeble, she weebles and wobbles but doesn’t fall down. You can’t help but wonder how she even manages to cover all the folds of skin dangling from her arms and torso—are plus sizes really made that large, or does she have to visit a tent maker to have clothes customized? You know she can’t be comfortable.

At the grocery store, a gentleman plops onto a motorized cart to shop. Fat pours out over the seat into more wrinkled layers than a Chinese Shar-Pei. He would benefit from walking through the store in lieu of riding, but he is overwhelmed by the effort of getting from one side of the super center to the other—an easy task most of us don’t give a second thought. He succumbs to his obesity instead of warring against it.

Every so often, you hear the story of how an obese person experienced stomach pains, only to give birth hours later. The most shocking part of that story is someone so morbidly obese engaged in intercourse, or to quote Austin Powers, “the sheer mechanics are mind-boggling!” By the ninth month of pregnancy, most women look like they swallowed a medicine ball. It’s hard to imagine how you could miss that.

Others share tales of being too fat to get out of bed.

Even keeping all those folds clean is an overwhelming task. It’s no wonder obese people struggle with depression. When they look in the mirror, do they feel like a skinny person is trapped inside screaming to be free? It’s easy to understand how they might drown in a sea of self-loathing. Imagine wrapping a 200 pound weight around your body and tackling your daily routine.

Worthless Weight Loss Programs

Obese people love water aerobics. Being in the water makes them feel lighter and temporarily normal. Psychologically, they feel like they are exercising and doing something positive for their bodies without inflicting further pain on their already over-taxed joints and back muscles. How effective are water aerobics? If you’ve ever observed a class, you will notice the participants start out fat and finish just as fat. The minimal resistance they incorporate with Styrofoam dumbbells can’t compare to using real weights. Obese people love water aerobics because they aren’t surrounded by skinny, tight-skinned women at the gym who might be horrified by their cottage cheese and flab. They are in the company of people who look like them, so it’s less intimidating, even though it produces minimal results.

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Fad diets never work long-term, nor do all the weight loss programs you see on television. If someone is promising weight will fall off quickly with special meals, shakes, pills, or supplements, it’s a scam. Some of these miracle weight loss programs can even cause damage to the body and should always be viewed with serious skepticism. Even if the fat melts off initially, most report packing it right back on the moment they discontinue the program. Actress Kirstie Alley, once a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, personifies this cycle.

There are a variety of bariatric surgical procedures available to assist with extreme obesity when all else has failed. All of these weight loss procedures carry potentially serious risks and are not guaranteed to produce the desired results.



Fat-shaming is when skinny people try to motivate an obese person to lose weight by making fun of them or harassing them about their weight. Stigmatizing fat people winds up having the reverse effect, upsetting them so much they eat more and gain additional weight. There’s a flip side to that coin.

We live in a culture where feigning victimization exonerates people from taking responsibility for bad choices. If obese people can blame someone else for their weight problem, they are no longer culpable. Even if they eat processed and fast food on a regular basis, binge eat, never exercise, and are generally lazy, it’s still not their fault. They feel justified in applying for social security at a young age because their obesity has created health issues that makes working virtually impossible.

Some argue obesity is the result of food addiction and no different than alcohol or drug dependence. Labeling it a disease absolves people of responsibility. Showing no restraint when it comes to eating becomes a problem beyond their control. Not owning it takes away the guilt and requires no further action. This is bogus, of course. It’s like saying road rage is a disease, and giving fellow travelers the finger is a nervous tic.

Most people will never have Barbie or Ken proportions, nor should they feel pressured to strive for the impossible. Neither should they resign themselves to a lifetime of obesity. Somewhere in the middle is a healthy alternative. Retailers don’t help. Featuring grossly overweight models to showcase their plus selections normalizes obesity, maybe even makes it appear trendy. Targeting kids, Justice store ads feature fat kids to standardize corpulence and set the bar low for chunky customers. Hollywood celebrities like Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly) and Katy Mixon (American Housewife) downplay obesity by making it appear not only okay, but spunky and cool. No need to lose weight—fat people are jolly and fun! I’m okay, you’re okay. It’s the wrong message.


Too Much Technology & Processed Foods

Growing up in the 1920’s, Evelyn’s school was nearly one mile from her house. She walked to school in the morning, walked home for lunch, and walked back home at the end of the day. When the dismissal bell rang, she didn’t race home to watch TV, play video games, fire up the computer, or chat with friends on her cell phone. Her family didn’t own a TV, only a radio, and none of those other technologies had been invented. She hung around the school yard with other students to play soft ball or kickball. After dinner and chores, she connected with other kids in her neighborhood to play outside until dark. During her era, the grocery stores didn’t have snack aisles filled with row after row of fat-filled goodies. Evelyn’s primary snacks included buttered soda crackers and popcorn. Her meals were homemade and well-balanced. They didn’t come from a box or a can. Fast food restaurants didn’t pop up until the early 1950’s and were unheard of in her rural neck of the woods.

For decades, outdoor play was the primary source of fun for kids, even as bussing replaced walking to schools for students in outlying areas. Most moms stayed at home and cooked nutritious meals. They gardened and canned. They pinched pennies and lived within a budget, so sometimes this meant a dinner of homegrown green beans and biscuits, not boxed mac-n-cheese or McDonald's.

Human trafficking wasn’t an industry, so kids roamed the neighborhoods riding bikes, fishing, playing ball, hiking in the woods, and hunting. They didn’t interact with friends in a virtual world of social media from the couch. When they weren’t running, jumping, and playing, they were expected to perform adult chores, like mowing, farming the fields, doing the dishes, gardening, and other mature tasks assigned to them by their parents. They worked hard from young ages and weren’t coddled. They were active, and they weren’t fat.

By the 1980’s, every classroom had one token fat kid who was nicknamed something awful, like Fatso, Porky, Tubby, or Lard Ball. The fat kid stood out because he was an aberration—he was the exception, not the rule.

This is no longer true. Parents expect too little from their kids when it comes to assigning challenging chores. Both parents work, so dinner too often comes from a drive-thru or box. Kids rush home, not to play outside until dark, but to glue themselves to a screen for as long as an adult will allow them. The world isn’t as safe as it used to be, so the leash on kids can’t stretch as far. Technology has replaced face-to-face human interaction and inhibits movement. Parents need to set strict limits when it comes to technology usage, but they don’t because they don’t want to curb their own screen obsession. And Americans get fatter.


When the cellulite on your legs are like millions of mini suction cups gluing your thighs together so you have to roll instead of walk, when the flap on your arm is so expansive it could function as a boat sail, and when walking across the floor sends off seismic readings on the Richter Scale, you have a problem. Take responsibility and stop blaming someone or something else for morbid obesity.

When Todd learned he had diabetes and high blood pressure, he didn’t blame his DNA or his wife's cooking, start popping pills, and resign himself to defeat. He was determined to do something about it. In addition to cutting back on carbs and limiting snacking, he began walking 5-7 miles every day. Within a few months, he began to see the weight and inches dissipating. A year later, he had shed 40 pounds. His blood pressure and glucose readings became normal, and his doctor was astounded by the radical improvement in his health.

Exercise is hard work. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be effective. Joining a gym might be too daunting or expensive, but investing in DVD’s you can do from home is within reach. Take a walk. Start walking one mile a day and keep increasing the distance as you become stronger. Consult your physician and possibly a nutritionist and be proactive about implementing a diet and exercise program that works for you. We gain 100% of our energy from food, and exercising regularly is thought to burn only 10-30% of those calories. Exercise alone is not enough. Rewarding yourself for exercising by indulging in a high fat treat nullifies your efforts. Practice self-control and self-discipline. Even if biology prohibits you from ever becoming a size 4, you can look and feel better than you do now. Exercise conditions the heart and lungs and is healthy for the bones. Eating right combats the harmful effects of cholesterol, keeps glucose levels in check, boosts immunity, and wards off a host of health problems.

Trade in your supersized soda for a glass of water, load your refrigerator and pantry with the right foods, grab a set of weights, and kick off the journey to a healthier and slimmer you.

© 2019 Vivian Coblentz


:) on January 06, 2020:

So true!

Brad on May 13, 2019:


Not the same thing. But an alternative:)

Vivian Coblentz (author) on May 13, 2019:


How about plain water with a slice of lemon?

Brad on May 13, 2019:


As to your last point, because it is cheap and it makes foods that are sort of tasty, even though there filled with chemicals. That is an accolade for their marketing people.

When I said sparkling water and they add some flavor to it, not zero cola. I am on the fence about it, but I could go for just the sparkling?

Vivian Coblentz (author) on May 13, 2019:


Wow--I had no idea fat people contribute to "global warming." It makes sense since heavy people are always sweating, LOL!

The global warming hoax is the go-to response for leftists for all societal ills! I'm sure global warming is also responsible for obnoxious drivers, people's lack of punctuality, and racism, if we only knew. HA!

Vivian Coblentz (author) on May 13, 2019:


As far as sparkling waters and zero calorie drinks go, I don't drink any of it because I don't trust it. My family tries to eat as much whole foods as possible rather than processed food filled with heaven knows what. I make most of our meals from scratch. Aspartame is in everything anymore too. I can't even find gum that doesn't contain it, and I've only been able to find one breath mint without it. It is linked to certain cancers now, so why is it even allowed to be in our food?

Brad on May 13, 2019:


Yeah, but something strange happened didn't it?

The Logician from then to now on on May 13, 2019:

Can’t be true, agw is a hoax! Lol

Brad on May 13, 2019:


And even if that is true, so what?

Maybe some arid and drought areas might get some more rain. The lake Mead, Hoover and Boulder dams are at real low water levels. Of course, the population keeps increasing but it would be nice to get some more rain.

BTW, The climate change may be coincident with the change in the democrats of the Bill Clinton era, to the post Obama era?

The Logician from then to now on on May 13, 2019:

Well guess what. You know how there isn’t anything environmentalists won't blame on manmade global warming, any unusual weather, the sea level changing, the ice melting, Time magazine blamed mental health problems on climate change, Another story argued that global warming was connected to sexual violence.

EcoWatch warned pet owners that climate change was probably the reason their dogs have fleas because "climate change is creating an ideal habitat for pests."

The Denver Post claimed that climate change was partly responsible for the decline in fertility rates.

Another article claimed a few years ago that "various skin disorders such as acne scars are the result of global warming and climate change."

One website had collected examples of just about everything that's been connected to global warming. There were hundreds of examples.

Well I felt sure if i googled it I’d find out that global warming was causing people to be fat!!!! Guess what! It’s just the opposite, fat people are causing global warming!!! LOL !!! Read about it, Fat people are destroying the earth!

Brad on May 13, 2019:


Sorry I missed this one.

I agree with what you say in the article, but I think the reason goes deeper. The food industry, and i believe it is an industry is a for profit industry.

If they can create an addictive element in their foods, then they have a repeat customer. For example, all those foods and drinks that replace simple sugar with something else and especially the ingredients that just taste sweet are making diet foods the fat foods. Why, because I believe that these substance play havoc with our bodies, and brain. The fake sweet taste is not registered as something the body knows how to deal with, so it tries to figure out what it should do with it. Maybe sometimes, it just eliminates it without side effects, but sometimes it fools the brain and body to eat more. imo.

What do you think of the flavored sparkling drinks, zero calories?


The Logician from then to now on on March 31, 2019:

“If I were the classroom teacher, I would be separating you two”

Leave it to Vivian to cut to the chase of any situation!

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 31, 2019:


Good point! At least they are dying happy with full bellies though, lol.

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 31, 2019:

Paula & T,

If I were the classroom teacher, I would be separating you two, LOL!

The Logician from then to now on on March 31, 2019:

Now that’s a profound way of looking at it. Leave it to James to cut to the chase of any situation!

But how many civilizations in history had an average life expectancy of 78.7 years? The more time humans have with nothing to do like hunt, fish and make clothing to survive the more they’re going to eat :-)

James A Watkins from Chicago on March 31, 2019:

Great Hub! America is the first civilization in history where its people are dying from having too much to eat instead of too little.

Suzie from Carson City on March 31, 2019:

"TIREDER??" lol....GOOD ONE, "T"! There ya go, Vivian.....proof positive T spent his school days terrorizing his classmates.....rather than paying attention in English Class! LOL

Have to admit though...he's good for a healthy laugh!

Get back to us after you've filled the bags with potatoes, T!

The Logician from then to now on on March 31, 2019:

How can you say I tire easily when I do all these exercises (and at my level) and even run ten times around the block!

Sure I go back to bed but anyone would.

Keep on the good side of Paula, Vivian. She makes me explain myself to everyone. If I tire easily that’s why! :-) Tsad was my nickname but she called me “T” so I even changed my name to “T” hoping it would appease her but Nooooooo!

Moral to this story?

What doesn't kill you makes you tireder.

Suzie from Carson City on March 30, 2019:

Vivian....Psst! A word to the wise....."T" is the class clown sometimes.....he's the guy we all went to school with who got us into trouble while escaping the teaher's wrath! Careful...he'll sneak up on you as soon as you let your guard down. I'm on to him!! Just ask him! Try to stay 2 steps ahead.....he tires easily! LOL

The Logician from then to now on on March 30, 2019:

Originally this exercise was a peeling to notoriously unfit couch potatoes and do nothing speck tators! It also helps to make people aware if the difference between mashed potatoes and pea soup....what’s the difference you may ask? Well obviously....

anybody can mash potatoes.

(Just trying to stay on topic...or not)

Well it’s a lot cheaper than buying expensive exercise equipment and laughter is good for the metabolism.

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:


You are rotten! As I was reading your exercise instruction, I knew I could never do that....

until I got to the end. Now, I don't feel so bad about myself, LOL! You got me!

The Logician from then to now on on March 30, 2019:

You’re over 40? I don’t believe you.

But I have a better exercise for over 40s

I suggest doing it three days a week.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax.

Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10lb potato sacks.

Then 50lb potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

(As I write this I have to admit that I'm at this level)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks and repeat the process.

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:


I do agree with you about the crap in our food these days adding issues to wrangle with previous generations never faced. It certainly doesn't help things at all. As far as people living older though, it's not just older people who are obese. Younger and younger people are obese than ever before, and a lot of them aren't out moving around, they are eating fast food, and on screens.

I also attest to the challenges of being over 40 and not being able to lose weight as easily as before! I keep up the fight though! I might join you in running around that block, lol!

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:


I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading!

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:


That is a great point! The diet industry IS booming! You are also right about taking a common sense approach to weight loss. People want an easy route, but what you eat and how much you exercise are two key contributors that can't be ignored for some quick fix. Thanks, as always, for stopping by! I love your input.

Mika on March 30, 2019:

Great article once again :).

Suzie from Carson City on March 30, 2019:

Vivien......If there was truly an answer (solution) to the Fat-people epidemic, especially in our country, be assured an entire multi Trillion dollar industry would crumble. For proof of this fact, just research "amount of annual profit via the Diet Industry.."

You've said it yourself. Taking matters into our own hands, this is in fact, an individual, personal issue.

It's also extremely complex. There can be no less than 2 dozen issues that can make up our body size, form, muscle mass, hormones, genetics, lifestyle....and I probably don't need to go on and on. When it comes right down to it, unless one has been living under a rock forever, we all know the common sense route to a healthy balance for all things human.

Excellent article once again , Peace, Paula

The Logician from then to now on on March 30, 2019:

“ If obesity were a metabolic issue only, the number of obese people would have remained fairly consistent over time.”

It’s not that simple. The drastic rise over recent decades is most likely due to people living longer (metabolism slows down as we age) increase in Processed foods over recent decades create havoc with our health, our fat health is based on metabolism, these foods inhibit leptin. All of this points to the fact that our metabolisms are being assaulted which results in lethargy, lack of activity, cravings then obesity. It creates the laziness and inactivity resulting in an unhealthy circle of self indulgence leading to obesity. People’s metabolism naturally slows down with age, anyone over $40 will tell you they gain weight easily and have trouble losing it. Add to that the assault on metabolism by commercialized processed foods, sugar, salt, gmos, hfcs, preservatives, you name it, they weren’t in everything decades ago like they are today. Add to that the longer life span and anyone could predict this obesity epidemic. So the lack of societal practices like exercise isn’t the cause of the obesity, it is a symptom....


But thanks for the provocative article, it did get me thinking and now I’m going get out of my bed and

run 10 times around the block

Push the block back under my bed

And go to sleep!

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:

Hi, T!

I have no doubt that leptin resistance accounts for some cases of obesity, but it's not a blanket excuse for everyone. Science constantly searches for reasons to excuse negative vices. I'm waiting for science to rationalize why some people are incapable of keeping a clean house or well-manicured lawn. Maybe they suffer from cleanaphobia or an irrational aversion to grass. Next time you visit Walmart, just look in the cart of obese people. You will be hard pressed to find salad fixings, but there is no lack of soda cases, junk food, and high fat processed foods.

It's true that metabolic imbalances exist, but statistics have risen drastically from past decades to present. If obesity were a metabolic issue only, the number of obese people would have remained fairly consistent over time. Obviously, diet and more sedentary lifestyles are key contributors to the increase.

The Logician from then to now on on March 30, 2019:

Wesman, my friend, stay thin!

I had a friend in high school who was 6’6” in 10th grade and skinny as a rail - he wanted to play football so he got on these meals to make you gain weight-in a year or so he was 300 lbs and 6’7”.

He went out for football but he was uncoordinated. The football coach was also the basket ball coach. He made the guy spend most of the practice jumping at the goal post trying to touch it! He thought he could make him a basketball player - needless to say he quit. The same coach cut a phenomenal player from the high school basketball team solely because he was too short. That guy went to my college and was their starting point guard for 4 years and he was only 5’ 8” - he could put Palmer Toto to shame but of course too short for the pros.

Vivian, what about

“leptin resistance“ the hormone that If the new findings do pan out, they could open the door to possible therapies aimed at damping down inflammation in the brain, decreasing MMP-2 activity and boosting the brain’s responsiveness to leptin. “The therapeutic implications here are far-reaching,” says Friedmann-Morvinski. “They point to inflammation as one important player in obesity, and also suggest targeting MMP-2 could be a novel strategy to tackle the problem.”

A study published in Science Advances on August 22 by researchers at the U.M. and Vanderbilt University found proteins that act as a form of “energy rheostat,” which ensure neither too much nor too little food is consumed, suggesting another new target for new anti-obesity drugs.

Everything points to metabolic imbalance which is what causes obesity, certain foods craved feed the imbalance, inhibit leptin and there you have the circular cause of obesity

Vivian Coblentz (author) on March 30, 2019:

Wesman Todd Shaw,

Thanks for sharing your success story about how you were overweight and made the necessary modifications to lose all those pounds. I think many of us would agree we would rather struggle to gain weight, like you are currently dealing with, than have to fight so hard to lose it!

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on March 30, 2019:

I'm really really skinny. I did blow up a few years back because I was taking a medication that made me ravenously hungry, and because I was consuming huge amounts of breads, pastas, and sugars.

I was also eating a lot of fruit. I ditched the medication and sodas, and now mostly eat meat. Not much fat to be found on me.

Anyway, I've got so thin I'm thinking about trying to incorporate a lot more pasta into my diet again.

That whole trend of trying to promote 'love your body,' or 'body positive' - trying to make fat sexy. That's an obvious problem, but our mass media is dedicated to things which are horrible. Or you could say they are dedicated to things which are simply untrue.

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