Half of Americans will be obese by 2030 second study
Approximately half the adult population in the United States will be obese by 2030 according to a worrying new study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also predicts that a quarter of the adult population will be suffering from severe obesity by 2030 and that in 29 states more than half of the population will be obese.
These figures are alarming and should come as no surprise given that already today 40% of American adults can be classified as obese and 18% of them can be classified as severely obese. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is particularly concerned about the effects that such a trend may have on the economy because of its social costs, as Steven Gortmaker, professor of health sociology at the institute and senior author of the study, explains: “Obesity, and particularly severe obesity, is associated with increased rates of chronic illness and medical expenses and has negative consequences on life expectancy.
The study was based on the analysis of data from over 6.2 million American adults, data included in a survey conducted between 1993 and 2016. The subjects surveyed were considered obese when the body mass index (BMI) was 30 or higher and severely obese when this index was 35 or higher. Due to the high number of survey participants, participants from various regions of the United States, the researchers were also able to perform various types of analysis by states, income levels and subpopulations.
The trend they identified showed that by 2030 there will be several states with a prevalence of obese people close to 60% while few states will approach 40%. The categories most prone to severe obesity will be women, non-Hispanic black adults and those with an annual income below $50,000. The latter figure is of particular concern to researchers as the high prevalence of severe obesity in people on low incomes has substantial implications for social care costs.