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ABC News/Time Magazine Obesity Poll, May 2004

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • ABC News
  • Time Magazine
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • ABC News/Washington Post Poll Series
Publication Date
Free Keywords
attitudes; body weight; diet; eating habits; exercise; fast food industry; food preferences; health behavior; health insurance; obesity; public health; public opinion; social issues
  • Abstract

    This special topic poll, conducted May 10-16, 2004, was undertaken to assess public opinion on the problem of obesity in the United States. Respondents were asked to rate their own personal health and the importance of a healthy diet and physical exercise in their lives. Questions were posed regarding how often respondents and their children watched television, used the Internet, e-mail, or computer games for personal use, and engaged in moderate or vigorous physical exercise, how much influence their children had on what food the family ate, whether they kept a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in their home, and whether they or their children were overweight. Respondents were polled on how often they ate at fast-food restaurants, whether they tried to track the amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fat content in their daily diets, whether they wanted to lose or gain weight, whether they had followed any type of weight-loss program, and whether it had helped them. Several questions asked about the hardest part of losing weight, the biggest causes of obesity in the United States, whether respondents had ever felt that they were discriminated against because of their weight, whether they had any negative feelings about people who were overweight, and whether certain groups or institutions such as the fast-food industry and government policies and laws bore any responsibility for the nation's obesity problem. Respondents were also polled on whether they would support or oppose government policies such as a tax on high-fat or high-sugar foods, requiring labels on certain foods warning of the health risks of being overweight, and setting a legal limit on portion sizes in restaurants. Other topics addressed whether health insurance companies should be able to drop coverage or charge higher premiums to people who are overweight, whether schools should be allowed to raise money by allowing soda and candy vending machines in school, the seriousness of problems such as cancer, AIDS, cigarette smoking, obesity, and drug and alcohol abuse as public health issues, and whether the federal government was doing enough about these problems. Background information includes sex, ethnicity, education, marital status, household income, number and sex of children in household, weight and height of respondents and children, and subjective size of the community: rural, urban, or suburban.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 2004-05
  • 2004-05-10 / 2004-05-16
    Collection date: 2004-05-10--2004-05-16
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Persons aged 18 and over living in households with telephones in the contiguous 48 United States.
Households were selected by random-digit dialing. Within households, the respondent selected was the adult living in the household who last had a birthday and who was home at the time of the interview.
Collection Mode
  • (1) Additional information about sampling, interviewing, weighting, and sampling error may be found in the codebook. (2) The data are provided as an SPSS portable file. (3) This collection has not been processed by ICPSR staff. ICPSR is distributing the data and documentation for this collection in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, documentation has been converted to Portable Document Format (PDF), data files have been converted to non-platform-specific formats, and variables have been recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity. (4) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 4040 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR04040.v1
  • Jung, Taejin. Gaining weight: How media exposure, socioeconomic status, sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits work together - a secondary analysis of a nationally representative study. Open Communication Journal.2, 67-73.2008.
    • ID: 10.2174/1874916X00802010067 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

ABC News; Time Magazine (2004): ABC News/Time Magazine Obesity Poll, May 2004. Archival Version. ABC News/Washington Post Poll Series. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.