From Superpower to Superfat - America’s Health Report Card Is Heading Towards ‘F’

Share Article

Supersizing meals has finally caught up with the nation. While thin might be ‘in’ on television, in real life Americans are steadily getting heavier. A new report, “F as in Fat,” projects that half of the population will be obese by 2030. Reversing the trend is possible, and not as hard as imagined according to fitness expert Helen M. Ryan.

Diet pills, bypass surgeries, and diet books rule this country. There are health clubs on every corner, and weight loss reality television shows and magazines give citizens an endless stream of tips. Everything people need to take care of their bodies and their health is available right at their fingertips and yet—in less than 20 years—some states may top the scales with a 60% obese population, according to a new report released by Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Why is this happening? How is the population getting fatter and fatter when there are so many resources available to help? Fitness and weight loss expert Helen M. Ryan might have answers.

“It’s the ‘quick fix’ mentality, the pressure to stay on too strict of a diet, and a lack of caring about our own health that is making us fat,” says Ryan, a fitness professional and author of ‘21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life).’ “When we can’t follow a diet completely, we don’t feel like putting in the effort with exercise, or we don’t lose enough weight in a week, we give up and return to our previous bad habits.”

These poor habits have bigger implications. In a future where all 50 states could see obesity rates averaging over 44 percent, the negative prognosis for the country's health and wealth is staggering: $210 billion in annual obesity-related medical costs, and the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and then double once more by 2030.

Ryan is all-too-familiar with the weight loss battle. In 2003 she began a quest to change her habits and become healthier, losing 82 pounds in the process. She became a certified fitness professional and a healthy lifestyle writer to help others follow her path to success “So many programs and trainers focus only on what to eat and what to do for exercise,” notes Ryan. “But the biggest part of winning the war on weight is controlling what goes on between our ears. Only we can change our bodies. Only we can change our lives.”

Too great a sacrifice plays a big role in the inability to lose weight. According to Ryan, the thought of not eating carbohydrates again, or never enjoying another glass of wine, is enough to stop people in their weight loss tracks. “It’s not worth it to them at that point,” she says. Instead, Ryan encourages people to make healthier choices while giving themselves some leeway, and making sure they move their bodies. “I know you’ve heard it a gazillion times, but getting up from your desk every hour, or doing some sort of exercise for even a few minutes at a time, is incredibly effective. Budgeting some ‘fun eating’ into your weekly calorie intake helps you stay on track, and staying on track is what really works. You just have to do it.”

According to “F as in Fat,” the trajectory the country is on with obesity and health issues—unless it changes its ways—has frightening implications. “It’s scary how many people don’t take their health seriously,” says Ryan. “But there are ways people can improve, and it’s really doable. You don’t have to suffer to lose weight or be healthier. Just start small.” Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, agrees. “Small changes can add up to a big difference.”

Ryan’s message in her book is clear: it’s all in people's heads and little changes do add up. “Yes, you can have your cake and lose weight, too. It’s about priorities, choices, and what you can do, not what you can’t do.”


Helen M. Ryan is available for media interviews and can be reached through the contact information below. 21 Days to Change Your body is available on, http://www.Barnes &, and iTunes. More information is on the book web site at


Weight loss expert Helen M. Ryan is an ACE certified personal trainer, a certified Spinning® and Pilates instructor, and a chocolate lover. A freelance fitness writer, Ryan lives in California with her two children where she teaches Spinning® classes and helps people sweat and laugh their way to better health and a smaller size.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

AJ Ogaard

AJ Ogaard
Follow us on
Visit website