December 18, 2019
4 min read

Nearly half of all US adults will have obesity by 2030

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Zachary Ward
Zachary J. Ward

By 2030, 48.9% of adults in the United States will have obesity, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Zachary J. Ward, MPH, study author and programmer/analyst for the Center for Health Decision Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the findings indicate that interventions both inside and outside the doctor’s office are needed to help lower the rate of obesity.

“Clinicians have an important role to play in identifying patients most at risk and helping prevent further weight gain and addressing upstream social and cultural determinants of obesity,” he told Healio Primary Care.

Ward noted that previous research has shown that policy changes, such as sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, help reduce obesity rates.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

For the study, researchers used state and sub-group data from more than 6.3 million adults over a span of more than 20 years to calculate the following new findings for 2030:

  • Obesity’s prevalence will be higher than 50% in 29 states and not below 35% in any state.
  • Severe obesity will impact nearly one in four adult Americans, and the prevalence will be even higher in 25 states.
  • Severe obesity will likely become the most common BMI category among 27.6% of all women, 31.7% of all non-Hispanic black adults and 31.7% of all low-income adults in the United States.

The findings were part of a larger research project called CHOICES (Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study), a program that helps state and city decision-makers identify obesity prevention strategies “that offer the best value for money in their local context,” according to Ward.

Researchers wrote that as individual states offer more obesity-related services for adult Medicaid beneficiaries, the findings ”have substantial implications for future health care costs.”

Below, Healio Primary Care provides some of its previous coverage on obesity prevention efforts.  - by Janel Miller

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Disclosure: Healio Primary Care could not confirm relevant disclosures at the time of publication.