The U.S. is getting fatter—and fatter and fatter.

According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more has tripled in two years. Obesity is now prevalent in nine states and no state met the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15 percent.

Medical costs associated with obesity are high. In 2008 dollars, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. People who are obese had medical costs that were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, according to the CDC report.

"Obesity continues to be a major public health problem," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity. If we don't more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death."

Part of the problem is a lack of exercise. Many long hours in cubicles by day, only to come home each night too exhausted to exercise. A virtual office can offer people freedom to break up the workday with exercise. Even a half-mile walk after lunch and dinner can make a difference in the war against obesity.

Virtual offices give people more time to pursue fitness activities. Instead of commuting to work, the employee can use that time to jog or do other exercises and still log the same number of hours in a home office. Virtual offices also offer more flexibility in work hours. With virtual office technologies, phone calls can be forwarded to any number or answered by a virtual receptionist who can make appointments, take orders or take messages so you don’t miss a beat while you are on the walking trail.

Virtual offices can’t make up for overeating, but they can give telecommuters the flexibility to get moving in the morning or take a longer break at lunch to exercise. Considering the medical costs of remaining sedentary, it makes sense for companies to consider flexible work arrangements that include virtual office space.

"Obesity is a complex problem that requires both personal and community action," said Dr. Dietz. "People in all communities should be able to make healthy choices, but in order to make those choices there must be healthy choices to make. We need to change our communities into places where healthy eating and active living are the easiest path."

Check out this video about obesity's impact on the brain: