A large majority of Americans say individuals themselves, not external circumstances, are responsible for the nation’s obesity problem, according to a new survey conducted by the polling company for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the world’s largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies.

The polling company telephone survey, conducted from 16-18 December last year, polled a randomly selected national cross-section of 1,001 male and female adults.

Of respondents, 89% attributed personal responsibility – individuals themselves, lack of exercise or watching television – for why two-out-of-three people in the US are now overweight. In contrast, only 8% hold responsible external entities such as food manufacturers (5%), restaurants (2%) or the federal government (1%).

Last month’s release of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity recognized the complexity of the weight problem in the US and called for a wide variety of changes, including increased physical activity for children and balancing healthful eating with physical activity; reducing time spend watching television; and improving understanding of the behavioral aspects of obesity.

Lisa Katic, GMA Director of Scientific and Nutrition Policy, said: “It is clear that Americans understand they are responsible for achieving good health.

“Obesity is a complex issue that will require a new dedication to proper nutrition education and daily physical  activity. Any solution that fixates on removing choice through narrow restrictions on products will not succeed in changing individuals’ lifestyles.”