A new study from the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health estimates that about half of the adult population in the United States will be obese by 2030. What makes the study unique is that it breaks down numbers and provides estimates of obesity by state. The researchers found that by 2030, the proportion of obese people in each state could exceed 35 percent.
The study, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, claims that by 2030, about half of all adults in the United States will be obese, up from the current 40 percent. Based on their findings, the researchers also estimate that by 2030, the proportion of obese people in 29 states will exceed 50 percent.
The study also predicts the future incidence of “severe obesity”, which currently affects about 18 percent of U.S. adults. The study estimates that by 2030, about a quarter of adults will fall into this category with a BMI of 35 or greater. Although these predictions are based on self-reported BMI data, the researchers say they use “novel statistical methods” to correct any deviations introduced in the data.
The researchers estimate that severe levels of obesity will primarily affect people earning less than $50,000 a year, female, non-Hispanic, african-American. These findings could ultimately help states and government agencies develop plans to mitigate these problems.
U.S. states and governments have proposed and tested interventions, the best example being the “sugar tax,” an additional tax on high-sugar products such as soda, candy and other sweets. Despite heavy criticism, these taxes have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of high-sugar snacks purchased, reducing obesity levels across the population.