According to the National Institute of Health, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States after smoking—and Oprah wants to do something about it! Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about two-thirds of American adults are considered overweight, and more than 72 million are obese. In 2008, Americans will eat out twice as much as they did in 1970. Portion sizes are also on the rise. Servings of french fries and soft drinks have doubled in size from 30 years ago.
As a result of our increasing girth, some casket companies have been forced to make larger coffins. The Goliath Casket Company in Lynn, Indiana, specializes in caskets for people who weigh up to 1,000 pounds. "When we started out, we were building 33-inch caskets. We thought that was an obese casket, and that was about 10 years ago," says Goliath Casket Company owner Keith Davis. "Now we're up to a 52-inch-wide casket."
For the third year in a row, Oprah's home state of Mississippi has been named the fattest state in America. According to experts, one out of every three Mississippians is obese. Like many residents of her home state, Oprah has faced a lifelong battle with weight. In 2007, Oprah developed thyroid problems that affected her metabolism and made staying trim even more difficult. "It's a constant dilemma trying to eat right, work out harder than I ever had before," Oprah says. "So I've come to Mississippi to join the fight with Mississippians who are also struggling with their weight."