Tuesday, a government-funded study suggested by 2030, 42 percent of American adults will be obese. It's a hard truth Chris Wooley of Conway has laughed off since he was in second grade.
"I was bullied as a kid," said Wooley. "I tried to make sure I would beat that kid who was bullying me to the punch and make fun of myself before they could. It didn't hurt as much."
The 27-year-old turned that fear into a passion by becoming a comedian as an adult. But he often puts himself on the receiving end of his jokes.
At his peak, Wooley weighed more than 450 pounds. "I had no respect for myself," said Wooley. "My feet were starting to swell. I knew I had to change something."
At the beginning of the year, Wooley started working out at Beach Body Fitness and Bootcamp in Conway twice a day and now weighs 335 pounds. His goal is to reach 250 pounds by the end of the year.
A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests many Americans are going in the opposite direction of Wooley.
The report expects an additional 30 million Americans will be obese in 18 years.
Wooley believes that increase is because of American's on-the-go lifestyle and addiction to fast food.
"We're always in a hurry," said Wooley. "It's just easy to get a grilled chicken sandwich and think it's healthy, but it's not. The bread is no good for you and the chicken is most likely processed chicken."
The AMPJ study expects by 2030, an additional $549.5 billion will be spent on medical expenditures.
While the report estimates an increase in the obese population, the silver lining to the study is that the increase is not as great as scientist once anticipated.
Wooley said he's making a difference in his life to please his father, who constantly reminded him of his weight.
"I've done so many things in my life that he's not been so happy about, and he's brushed them off. I think this would be a real good payback for everything he's been able to do for me."
Wooley feels childhood obesity is the next challenge Americans need to start battling.
"I would like to become a motivational speaker when I lose all the weight," said Wooley. "But at the same point, I almost feel like it's a hopeless cause because nobody is going to want to get help unless they help themselves. The only reason I got off of my ass is because I made a decision and whether I wanted to please my dad or myself, I had to make that decision."