NEW YORK, Dec 20 — A new US study predicts that around half of adult Americans will be obese by 2030, and around a quarter will be severely obese.
Led by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the new study looked at 6,264,226 adults who self-reported their body mass index (BMI) between 1993 and 2016.
BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared, with obesity defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher and severe obesity a BMI of 35 or higher.
Thanks to the large amount of data that the researchers had access to, they were able to estimate obesity rates for specific states, income levels, and subpopulations, with the team estimating that, currently, 40 per cent of American adults have obesity and 18 per cent have severe obesity.
By 2030, nearly one in two adults will have obesity, and more than half of the population will have obesity in 29 states.
Moreover, all states will have a prevalence of obesity higher than 35 per cent, and several states will have obesity prevalence close to 60 per cent, predict the researchers.
The findings, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggested that nearly 1 in 4 adults will have severe obesity by 2030 and the prevalence will be higher than 25 per cent in 25 states.
Severe obesity also looks set to be the most common BMI category for women, non-Hispanic black adults, and those with annual incomes below US$50,000 (RM206,975) per year.
The researchers called the predictions “troubling,” explaining that obesity has a negative effect not only on health but on several aspects of society.
“Obesity, and especially severe obesity, are associated with increased rates of chronic disease and medical spending, and have negative consequences for life expectancy,” said Steven Gortmaker, senior author of the study.
“The high projected prevalence of severe obesity among low-income adults has substantial implications for future Medicaid costs,” added lead author Zachary Ward.
“In addition, the effect of weight stigma could have far-reaching implications for socioeconomic disparities as severe obesity becomes the most common BMI category among low-income adults in nearly every state.”
“Prevention is going to be key to better managing this epidemic,” said Ward. — AFP-Relaxnews