Welcome to

Obecity, USA

A Public Health Advocacy Campaign
from Pennington Biomedical

What is Obecity, USA?


Obecity, USA is a public health advocacy campaign developed by Pennington Biomedical to address the nation’s growing obesity epidemic head-on.


The campaign takes a visionary approach to not only raise awareness, but shift public perception, of obesity as a disease—dispelling the many myths that have long persisted, and arming individuals and communities with evidence-based research and the resources necessary to lead healthy lives.

There is far more to obesity than a person's weight.

A Message from the Guesser

Let Me Tell You What I Know*

*Using Evidence-Based Research from Pennington Biomedical - No Guessing

Obesity is not about appearance or how you look.

Who's Living in Obecity, USA?



Watch Ezra's video to learn more about her story.


Watch Charlie's video to learn more about his story.

Jayla & Caleb

Meet Ezra's parents and learn more about their family.

Kelly & Aaron

Meet Charlie's parents and learn more about his family.

The Guesser

Learn more about the Guesser's role in our stories.


See the impact of Ezra and Charlie's classmates. 

Mr. Miller

Explore the Teacher's role in Obecity, USA.

Obesity is not a character flaw or a lack of self-control.

History of Obecity, USA

Learn about the history of Obecity, USA and take a look into the future


Drive-in restaurants and the spread of fast-food eateries

Rise of TV culture & car-based way of life

13.4% of adults have obesity

Rise of consumption culture

14.5% of adults and 5.5% of children have obesity

Increased consumption of fast food

15% of adults and 7% of children have obesity

Rise of computer culture

23.2% of adults and 10% of children have obesity

Rise of the internet

31.3% of adults and 15% of children have obesity

Rise of social media and gaming

35% of adults and 18% of children have obesity

Rise of sleep deprivation / hormonal change

42.4% of adults and 20% of children have obesity

Portion size: average US restaurant meal now 4x larger than in 1950s

50% of adults and 26.3% of children ages 5 - 9 have obesity

Obesity-related costs surpass $1.5 trillion a year, impacting every aspect of American life

It's up to us to create a healthier future!

No more blaming.
No more shaming.
Just honest conversation.

Road Improvements

Check Out the New Routes Available Today in Obecity, USA

Join the Movement

Join us in the fight to solve the obesity epidemic. Sign up to receive periodic updates from Obecity, USA and Pennington Biomedical, and we'll send you a free electronic copy of some of Charlie and Ezra's favorite recipes.

Pennington Biomedical

Working to Solve the Obesity Epidemic by


Obesity is a disease that affects over 115 million Americans. A national crisis driven by an epidemic that has spiraled out of control. Every community across the country is impacted by obesity. 

Together, let's take back control.


How We See it

Small Shifts

We believe the biggest advancements come not from big leaps, but from small steps—slight shifts in perspective, or changes in behavior. Things that may seem small now over time make a huge difference.

From the Scientists at Pennington Biomedical

Ready to Change the Story?

Are you looking for small shifts you can make that will impact your health?  Here are a few suggestions drawn from evidence-based research at Pennington Biomedical.  Start small and increase your activities over time.

About Pennington Biomedical

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a world renowned health science research center located in Baton Rouge, LA.

All of Pennington Biomedical’s work—from basic science, to clinical trials, to treatment options including bariatric surgery—is guided by our mission to eliminate life-threatening health issues related to obesity and to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives. We take a person-centric, holistic approach that spans education, prevention, treatment, and weight-loss maintenance. Our labs, including the Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory, prioritize community-based and technology-based interventions to address health disparities.


Scientists and Physicians


Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to support Pennington Biomedical Research Center and its mission of discovering the triggers of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and dementia through research and programs that improve human health across the lifespan. The foundation fundraises to support the innovative work being done by over 450 basic, clinical and population scientists, post-doctoral fellows, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel who create a network of 44 laboratories and 13 highly specialized core service facilities.

“Obecity, USA” is a public health advocacy campaign developed to address the nation’s growing obesity epidemic head-on, courtesy of Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, and its loyal and generous donors. The campaign takes a visionary approach to not only raise awareness but shift public perception of obesity as a disease—dispelling the many myths that have long persisted, and arming individuals and communities with evidence-based research and the resources necessary to lead healthy lives.

The Foundation seeks to connect with those who wish to invest in discovery with gifts of cash, stock or real estate, bequests and charitable remainder trusts, or corporate grants and sponsorship, with meaningful opportunities within the research enterprise.


The scale only tells one side of the story.  Watch Ezra’s film and you’ll see there’s far more to the obesity epidemic than just a person’s weight.


Everyone looks at obesity differently in America.  But the only way to see an end to the epidemic is to see it through the eyes of those who live with it every day.

Watch Charlie’s film and see for yourself.

Jayla & Caleb
Ezra's Parents

Ezra’s parents have always struggled with obesity, which means Ezra had an 80% chance of having obesity.

While there are very few obesity genes, there are hundreds of genes, markers, and chromosomal regions associated with obesity. And a person’s environment, from preconception and throughout their life, influences genetic factors linked to obesity. Obesity is a generational disease that commonly runs in families.

Kelly & Aaron
Charlie's Parents

Like many families today, Charlie’s parents face financial challenges. Healthy food alternatives are often more expensive and not as available as unhealthier foods. 

People in the poorest neighborhoods typically must travel further to reach a supermarket or grocery store and have 2.5 times more exposure to fast food than those in wealthy neighborhoods.   

Sometimes the healthier option is not an option at all.

The Guesser

The Guesser plays the vital role of providing factual information to Ezra in response to her question about her weight.

Few public health problems are as complex as obesity, which has many causes. It is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases, yet it is widely overlooked and often misunderstood.

With over 30 years of groundbreaking, evidence-based research, Pennington Biomedical is recognized as a world leader in the fight against obesity and related chronic diseases.  No guessing, just hope.

Ezra & Charlie's Classmates

Stress and weight stigma both contribute to obesity. Stress may promote struggles with a healthy lifestyle, increasing the risk of obesity. Weight stigma and fat-shaming can increase the odds of developing obesity by six-fold. The combination of stress and negative effects of fat-shaming can lead to health struggles, including sleep loss, which all contribute to poor health and increased weight.

Mr. Miller

As a classroom educator for eleven years, Mr. Miller has seen firsthand the increase in the number of students who are overweight or have obesity.  During that period, he has also watched the budgets for sports and physical education programs shrink and school lunch menus promote less healthy alternatives.

He knows that with the proper support, schools can have a positive influence on childhood obesity, through changes in the school environment which improve physical activity and eating habits.

Behavioral Approaches to Weight Loss

Behavior change is one of the most widely used strategies for helping people lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it is a key component to any weight loss approach.

Average Duration of Behavioral Treatment

18-24 weeks.

Average Weight Loss

About 1 pound a week and about 20 pounds after six months.

Focus Areas

  • Keep a food and exercise journal.
  • For your next meal, grab a smaller plate.
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Drink water with meals. Skip the soda and juice.
  • Eat slowly and consciously. Sit at the table while eating, not in front of the TV.
  • Increase physical activity-like taking a 30 minute walk each day.

Weight Loss Maintenance

Eating right and losing weight can be difficult. To lose weight and keep it off, changes in lifestyle and daily habits are necessary. Long-term lifestyle changes require more than simply watching what one eats and how much one exercises. It requires changing one’s approach (thinking, feelings and actions) to eating and physical activity.

Focus Areas

  • Keeping extra weight off takes effort and commitment.
  • Build a network of family and friends to motivate you and support you with your weight management goals.
  • Reach out to an online community of people who are also on their weight loss journey.
  • Keep up with regular medical appointments and select a weight range you can realistically stay within.
  • Learn to anticipate problems that may arise and how you will tackle them.

Dietary Approaches to Weight Loss

When someone is  few pounds overweight and is motivated to lose weight, there are safe and effective methods to lose a few pounds and to maintain a weight loss.

Focus Areas

  • People who lose weight gradually (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes healthy eating patterns.
  • A person’s eating pattern may be more predictive of overall health status and obesity risk than individual foods or nutrients.
  • A Healthy Eating Pattern:
  1. Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  2. Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Is low in added sugars, sodium and saturated fats.
    Stays within recommended daily calorie needs

Medical and Surgical Treatment of Obesity

In carefully selected patients, appropriate drug or surgical treatment can help with weight loss.

Weight loss medicines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for both short- and long-term use. A person must be under continual medical supervision by a physician while talking such medicines. The medication and dosage is tailored individually to the patient.

Surgical therapy such as gastric bypass or gastric banding may be considered for a limited number of individuals with obesity, who also have other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea AND in whom dietary attempts at weight loss maintenance not been successful.

Metamor is transforming metabolic care by changing how we see and treat obesity. It provides advanced treatments, a deeper scientific and psychological understanding of the disease of obesity and most of all, support for patients every step of the way.

Click here to visit the Metamor website.

Join the Movement

Join us in the fight to solve the obesity epidemic. Sign up to receive periodic updates from Obecity, USA and Pennington Biomedical, and we’ll send you a free electronic copy of some of Charlie and Ezra’s favorite recipes.

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Ezra's Parents

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