And 1 in 4 with 'severe obesity' if rate keeps up
Waistlines of Americans continue to get wider, and unless habits change on a grand scale, obesity will soon be the norm.
Nearly half of the U.S. population is projected to be obese by 2030, and a quarter will struggle with severe obesity by that time, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In 10 years, 29 states are projected to have majority populations that are obese, the study says, and all states will have obesity in at least 35% of their populations.
“Obesity is going up in terms of the number of people who have it, and the degree or severity of obesity is going up,” said Zachary Ward, a Harvard programmer and analyst who was lead author of the report published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In eight states – most of which are in the South –more than one in every three adults are obese.
More: These counties are the least obese in each state
Adult obesity has a wide range of causes and is usually the product of a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and the effects of certain medication, dietary patterns and physical activity. In addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 2.5 hours of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity – plus two days of strength training –each week in order to help maintain a healthy weight.
The appropriate amount of exercise may vary from person to person, however, and those who do not want to sacrifice rich, high-calorie foods may need to exercise considerably more.
One of the strongest predictors of the likelihood of obesity, and healthy outcomes in general, is income. Wealthier Americans can afford a wider range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle, and as a result they typically report better than average health outcomes. In fact, the majority of counties on this list have a higher median household income than their home state overall.