A staggering number of people will be medically obese by 2030

Photo: Nicolas Barbier Garreau

According to a brand new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine half of US citizens will be medically obese before the year 2030. The primary predictors staffing this projection include unhealthy eating schedules, a lack of accessibility to organic food options and a pervasion of sedentary lifestyles.

Recently Ladders spoke with several leading health specialists in order to map the future of diet science as we head into the new decade. Although young Americans are adopting plant-based regimens in greater numbers, the population at large still struggles to obtain the recommended value of macronutrients on the day to day. 

“Whole grains, fruits, veggies, proteins, healthy fats, and dairy. Basically whole, real foods define an overall healthy diet. Consistently following a healthy diet isn’t a black or white thing. It’s all about learning to tell the difference between hunger, cravings, and thirst,” renowned nutritionist Keri Glassman explained to Ladders.

“‘Projected U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity”

The authors of the paper derived their findings from BMI data reported by 6,264,226 adults (18 years of age or older) who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey conducted between 1993 and 1994 and again between 1999 and 2016. To account for any self-reporting bias the researchers additionally analyzed data from the 57,131 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from a few years back. 

“Although the national obesity epidemic has been well documented, less is known about obesity at the U.S. state level. Current estimates are based on body measures reported by persons themselves that underestimate the prevalence of obesity, especially severe obesity. We fitted multinomial regressions for each state and subgroup to estimate the prevalence of four BMI categories from 1990 through 2030,”  the authors report. “Our analysis indicates that the prevalence of adult obesity and severe obesity will continue to increase nationwide, with large disparities across states and demographic subgroups.”

One in two obese adults is an alarmingly high figure. If the study’s prediction comes to fruition 35% of people in each of our 50 states will be overweight and one in four will be severely obese. The latter describes an adult at least 100 pounds heavier than what is considered normal for their height. 

Again, a lack of necessary resources seemed to be chief among influences as demonstrated by the demographics most likely to surge obesity statistics, though it hardly stands alone. The cohort analysis suggests that women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who earn less than $50,000 a year will be particularly affected by this rising trend. Geographical and socio-economic metrics provided some light to a few correlates but the authors confess that there are a bevy of revolving factors that are feeding this looming health crisis

“I think what’s even more important is quality of life. When we start looking at quality of life and realize that we can’t do many of the things we want, like spending time with family or even just walking, then it becomes something bigger,” Dr. Benjamin Clapp of El Paso Bariatric surgery told KFox14 on the back of the new study. “The good news is that this is completely treatable. It’s something that we can do something about whether that’s a surgical or non-surgical method but the patients really needs to get help and think about getting some help.”