NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans take obesity as seriously as cancer, and say it's an even bigger health threat than heart disease, the nation's leading killer, yet most do not go beyond traditional diets or involve doctors in their largely unsuccessful personal struggles against the disease, according to a new survey by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the independent research organization, NORC at the University of Chicago. The findings were released here during ObesityWeek 2016, the largest international event focused on the basic science, clinical application and prevention and treatment of obesity. The ASMBS/NORC Obesity Poll finds that 81 percent of Americans consider obesity to be the most serious health problem facing the nation, tying cancer as the top issue, ahead of diabetes (72 percent), heart disease (72 percent), mental illness (65 percent), and HIV/AIDS (46 percent). In 2011- 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the prevalence of obesity was more than 36 percent in adults, a number that has grown significantly in the last 10 years. Nearly everyone (94 percent) agrees that obesity itself increases the risk for an early death, even if no other health problems are present, according to the new poll. Yet, despite the seriousness with which they take the threat, the vast majority of Americans incorrectly perceive diet and exercise alone to be the most effective long-term weight loss method, and 1 in 3 of those struggling with obesity, report that they have never spoken with a doctor or health professional about their weight. Only 12 percent of those with severe obesity, for whom weight-loss surgery may be an option, say a doctor has ever suggested they consider surgery.