The Associated Press and NORC, at the University of Chicago have just released their findings of a Nationwide 'Obesity Perceptual' survey of 1000 adults. The survey explored America's understanding, views and opinions on obesity and obese people in particular. The object was to find out what we Americans know and think about the causes and consequences of obesity. While many sighted the link between obesity and health problems and whether the government should address America's obesity epidemic. An alarming majority claimed 'discrimination' is an even bigger issue.

While most of us can causally surmise, that overweight/obese people run a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure an overwhelming majority (95%) concluded that 'obese people are discriminated against.' Forget the chronic health issues at hand here. The fact that Americans have preconceived notions like, "obese people are a huge health risk factor," "they tend to be a work liability" and "overweight Americans are generally unhealthy."

I recently saw an interview that put 'The View' host Barbara Walters in a very awkward position, asking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about him being, (as she tries to soften the blow by saying) "a little overweight." Barbara goes on to say "they are worried about your health," an issue that the Governor has not had any problems with. Still the fact remains that 'obesity in America is at epidemic stages' and that public perception is "obese people are not healthy."

The following are actual AP (associated Press) and NORC (National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago survey findings:

Significant findings include:

• The U.S. public considers obesity second only to cancer as the nation’s 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.

• Discrimination is an issue, with 95 percent of the public believing that obese people face some level of discrimination due to their weight.

• There is 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 time for physical activity in schools, provide information about healthy choices, and offer incentives to the food industry to produce healthier options.

• There is 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.

Source: AP-NORC at the University of Chicago

We all should do what ever it takes to stay healthy and a good many of us could use a little help in keeping our New Year's resolutions to lose the fat. However, if it means the government limiting junk food, the response by those surveyed was an overwhelming, "No!"

Americans call obesity a national health crisis and blame too much computer/TV time and cheap fast food as the main catalyst for the "overweight epidemic." But this new poll reveals we are in a three way split, as to how much the government should do to help, more importantly we draw a line at the government forcing us to eat healthier. Should the government get involved and force us to eat healthy?

Here's the Barbara Walters, Chris Christie interview.