Wow. Lots of stories about obesity have been hitting the internet as, presumably, this is the time of the year when they figure a little more attention on the issue might make a difference for fat people making New Year’s resolutions.

Last month, The Economist ran a special report titled Obesity: The nanny state’s biggest test that, among many other things, included the graphic below that shows just how different the obesity problem has been in recent decades for three nations.

I’m a little surprising to see the U.S. of A. being outdone by the folks in the U.A. of E. and what’s up with South Africa? While their women have always been fairly heavy, South African men are clearly having some kind of a crisis.

More recently, in this Economist story from a week ago, they observed that obesity is associated with a higher rate of mortality but being just a little overweight can actually help you live longer. And just last week, this Associated Press story detailed a new poll revealing that few Americans realize being obese is linked to health problems other than heart disease and diabetes, namely cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, and even infertility.

A big part of the problem is detailed by Jennifer Dimitriou, a dietitian at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, when she noted, “If you’re surrounded by overweight people, especially in your family, then that’s all you know, and that to you is normal”.

It’s amazing when you think about it. You rarely see obese kids with normal weight parents or vice-versa. People learn to eat at home and these habits extend through their entire life.

My wife and I are approaching our two-year anniversary of “Livin’ La Vida Low Carb” and will never, ever go back to the way we used to eat. It seems during every year-end holiday I used to gain at least six or eight pounds and then take them off in January and February. Now, I gain a pound or two and they’re off within a couple of weeks.

It’s really not that hard, it’s just that people really haven’t got a clue and I include myself in that group up until I was about 50 years old. Then, for the first time since I was in my twenties, I could easily maintain my weight in the normal range rather than in the mid-overweight area, some years approaching the obese range.