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Obesity Now a Bigger Problem Than Cigarettes, US Adults Say

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The percentage of people in the U.S. who say that obesity is an extremely serious problem for society is now higher than the percentage saying the same thing about cigarette-smoking, according to a new Gallup poll.

Results from a nationally representative poll show that 81 percent of people say that obesity is an "extremely" or "very serious" problem, up from 69 percent who said the same in 2005, which was the last time Gallup asked the question, according to the organization.

That means more people believe obesity now outranks cigarette-smoking as a health problem. Nearly four in 10 Americans now say obesity is an "extremely serious" problem to society, while 30 percent say the same about cigarettes, and 18 percent about alcohol.

Only 3 percent said obesity is not a serious problem, while 6 percent said the same about cigarettes.

However, when asked whether they agreed that it is "extremely or very important to have federal government programs to address obesity," people's answers broke down along political party lines. While 82 percent of people who identified themselves as Democrats said they agreed with this statement, 55 percent of Independents and 27 percent of Republicans said they agreed.

The growing concern regarding obesity is likely due the fact the obesity rate has risen, as well as Americans' increasing awareness of the problems it is causing society, according to a statement posted today (July 18) on the Gallup website. In 2010, 35.7 percent of U.S. adults were obese, up from 32.7 percent in 2005, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The poll's results were based on telephone interviews conducted this month with a random sample of 1,014 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The sample of poll respondents is weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education and other factors so that the results are representative of the U.S. population.

 Pass it on: A new poll shows that Americans believe obesity is a bigger problem than cigarette-smoking.

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Live Science Staff
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