It was once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, But obesity now affects about one-third of Americans. Health experts say it's an epidemic.

Turns out, the city of Reading has been hit particularly hard. A Gallup/Healthways poll released in the spring ranks Reading 9th on the list of most obese metro areas in the U.S.

"I think it's a sad state of affairs," said Theresa Pietrowski.

"I'm shocked, I'm shocked, I'm shocked," added Leroy Bailey Jr.

The report shows the city has a high rate of poverty and a very low percentage of bachelor's degrees. The combination is among the greatest predictors on the incidence of obesity.

"I think it's astounding," Jeremy Reed shared. "Not in a good way. I think we have a lot to do as a community."

"I really do think something has to be done because I just see the problem, no pun intended, getting bigger and bigger," said Pietrowski.

Cities with high obesity rates also tend to eat poorly. Bad diets and a lack of exercise can lead to disastrous health consequences.

In Reading, the study shows residents are more likely than the majority of Americans to have high blood pressure and cholesterol.

"They made bad choices," said Irvin Frey Jr. "They should eat something healthy for you, like vegetables."

"It costs like $15 to go to Giant and get a meal to be made, it cost $4 to go to McDonalds and get like a whole meal that can fill you up. I think a lot of that plays into it," Reed explained.

See 24/7 Wall Street's listing of America's Fattest Cities.