A new study led by the researchers of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that close to half of the American adults will suffer from obesity and more than a quarter will suffer from severe obesity by 2030.
It is estimated that more than half of the population will suffer from obesity in 29 states and the prevalence rate will be more than 35 percent across all states.
Currently, the researchers estimate that nearly 40 percent of the adult US population has obesity and 18 percent have severe obesity.
Expressing his concern about the predictions, senior study author Dr. Steven Gortmaker said, “Obesity, and especially severe obesity, are associated with increased rates of chronic disease and medical spending, and have negative consequences for life expectancy.”
The study looked at self-reported body mass index (BMI) data from over 6.2 million American adults from 1993 to 2016. People with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese, while those with a BMI of above 35 are considered severely obese.
The researchers predicted that at this rate, several states would have the obesity prevalence rate close to 60 percent. They also predicted that severe obesity would more likely be seen in women, non-Hispanic black adults, and people with annual incomes under $50,000 per year.
Lead study author Zachary Ward said, “The high projected prevalence of severe obesity among low-income adults has substantial implications for future Medicaid costs.”
“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,” Ward added. Ward and his team said that the findings of the study could help inform state policymakers and clinicians. He said, “Prevention is going to be key to better managing this epidemic.”