Close to half of U.S. population projected to have obesity by 2030

About half of the adult U.S. population will have obesity and about a quarter will have severe obesity by 2030.

New study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health predicts that "in 29 states, more than half of the population will have obesity, and all states will have a prevalence of obesity higher than 35%. The study’s researchers estimate that, currently, 40% of American adults have obesity and 18% have severe obesity." The study was published in December in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings in this study have important implications for US health systems, now and in the future, with links between obesity and chronic diseases and medical spending. Policymakers and the private sector as they consider what actions, taxes and incentives can help create food systems that enable healthy eating rather than perpetuating obesogenic food environments. Higher rates of obesity among low-income populations speak to the challenges of making healthy foods accessible and affordable for everyone. Lead author Zachary Ward (programmer/analyst at Harvard Chan School’s Center for Health Decision Science) said “Prevention is going to be key to better managing this epidemic.” 

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