Those surveyed rated obesity higher than mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and AIDS as an issue that required immediate attention.
About 63 percent of Americans say obesity has consequences for society that go beyond personal impact, and majorities in virtually every demographic and political subgroup agreed.
But most were not sure the government should do anything about it, with only 42 percent saying that the government has a significant role to play in curbing the spread of obesity. Fifty-four percent say it does not.
A majority of people were in favor of restaurants listing calorie counts on menus and banning ads for unhealthy foods during kids' programs on TV. But limiting the size of sodas, as attempted by Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, was strongly opposed by 67 percent of people.
On each of these policies, Democrats and women are more supportive than Republicans, independents and men.
It is important to mention that this survey was conducted before the FDA announced its proposal to restrict the use of trans fats.