Researchers at the University of Colorado are saying that the so-called “obesity epidemic” boils down to 100 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of a small cookie. It’s also not too hard to burn that extra 100 calories. “Walking a mile, whether done all at once or divided up across the day, burns about 100 calories,” according to James Hill, director of the University of Colorado’s Human Nutrition Center. “Theoretically,” Hill continues, walking a mile would “completely abolish the energy gap and hence the [annual] weight gain for most of the population.”

Here’s his reasoning. The average American supposedly gained 14 to 16 pounds in eight years, or between 1.8 and 2 pounds a year. 2 pounds a year equals 50 extra stored calories a day. You store about half the calories you eat, so to shed the two pounds a year, reduce your calories by 100 a day.

Hill’s study is egg (about 75 calories each) on the face of lawyers and activists who increasingly blame restaurants and food producers for America’s perceived weight gain. Rants against increasing portion sizes, vending machines in schools and deceptive advertising become even less convincing when you learn that 15 minutes of walking could solve most of the problem.

One newspaper editorializes: “The average American still eats three-quarters of his food at home. So blame for the growing of little Johnny’s waistline does not rest solely at the feet of the Golden Arches or the local fried chicken eatery.” Thankfully, a U.S. District Court Judge tossed out the most recent frivolous lawsuit against McDonald’s, but the lawyers vowed to sue and sue again. Perhaps Hill’s study will help bring common sense into the courtroom.