Sugar ain't the problem, just like fat's not the problem -- us eating mountains of it, no longer is a fairly natural state in a vegetable or some other context that provided other nutrients and fiber and so on -- that's the problem.
That, and the average Westerner no longer works like a slave from dawn to dusk.
You hit the nail on the head with that one, being self employed, I put in serious hours, dawn to dusk would be a short day, :) Exercise does have a tendacy to trump poor eating habits, perhaps not fully, but all too often I see people with health issues and I look to their daily lives, where they are stuck behind a monitor, sitting at a desk, doing very little physical activity and regardless of how they eat, they get sick more often then those that do alot of physical labor and/or workout alot.
I look to my relatives at my age, they were all pudgy by then, and it's a good comparison, since I carry their same genes, yet I do not sit in front of the tube every single evening, I'm usually out there doing stuff, mainly in the shop, but I'm on my feet, not on the couch. Along weight, what I tend to tell people is if they can maintain one specific weight and do it consistantly, all they have to do is raise their metabolism a bit through exercise, keeping in mind their past eating patterns and duplicating it. It makes logical sense, your calorie intake remains the same, yet your body is going to now burn off more calories because you made a simple change in your life style patterns.