The American diet doesn't help: "We're a fast-food country, which makes us more likely to be consuming a lot of saturated fat," says Gorman. And portion size has grown steadily larger over the years. "The only way to address this problem is through changing people's diet and their exercise habits," says Gorman. "In other words, it's going to require an attitude change."
The fat of the land are a growing majority, and that's posing a major health hazard. More than half the U.S. population is overweight, with nearly one third clinically obese -- a condition that kills 300,000 each year, the American Dietetic Association was told Monday. Most alarming is the rate of obesity among the nation's children, which has quadrupled to 20 percent over the past 30 years. The reasons? "TV wasn't as ubiquitous then as it is now," says TIME medical correspondent Christine Gorman. "Kids are a lot less active now than they were 30 years ago."