Newsweek reports that a new study from Gallup-Healthways shows that in the past year, the number of Americans considered obese has jumped by 1.7 percent. That means close to 5.5 million people have officially joined the heavier and unhealthier side of life.

Though the number of individuals with body mass indexes over 30 only rose 1.7 percent between this year and last, the CDC measured no growth at all between 2003 and 2006.

There are a number of factors behind the rise in expanding waistlines. A sour economy paves the way for a heightened sweet tooth for many who use food to compensate with their ever increasing stress levels.

What’s more, it’s becoming far more costly to eat healthier. As nutritious as grilled salmon and baked chicken breasts are for many it’s much cheaper to go with SPAM, Ramen noodles, or make a run to McDonalds.

The American Heart Association revealed in a recent poll that as many as 42% of Americans say they plan to spend less on fruits and vegetables this year.

And while some gyms are becoming packed to capacity in lieu of many wanting to bulk up their newly unemployed bodies, others are seeing their facilities far less crowded.

An even worse statistic is word that 32% of Americans say they have delayed preventive care, skipped doctor’s appointments, or stopped taking medication to save money.

It’s quite a scary figure, especially when you consider that a lifestyle full of fattening foods, a bunch of stress and lack of exercise gives way to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

For those who have packed on the pounds it’s becoming harder to find a fit for the added fat. A number of stores have cut back on their plus-size selections as a result of fledging sales overall.

As an ex-fatty myself, it took me a lot of dedication, sacrifice, and will to eat healthier and work out. Many times I still feel as though I’m not there yet. Yesterday, I tried birkam yoga for the first time.

I thought the heat would make me object the most, but no, it was the price. Needless to say, I’ll stick to my gym membership that I got via the hookup. So until I’m ready to shell out that much for that form of yoga, I’ll just have to go stretch outside in the middle of the day and hope I get a fraction of the benefits.