A new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has predicted the alarming obesity projections for adults in the United States. According to the study outcomes about half of the adult population predicted to have obesity and about the quarter will be severely obese by 2030.
The study presumes the high prevalence rate in all states by 2030. It predicts that above half of the total population will half severe obesity and prevalence rate will become higher than 35% in all states. The researchers estimated that currently about 18% of the American adults are having severe obesity and almost 40% have obesity.
The study is published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
These scary predictions are already troubling because the economic and health effects of obesity and severe obesity take a heavy toll on different aspects of society. One of the professors of Harvard Chan School and the senior author of this study Steven Gortmaker commented on this issue and said that obesity and specifically severe obesity are correlated with the highly increased rate of chronic diseases and medical cost and also having the negative sequelae for life expectancy.
Self-reported data of body mass index (BMI) of 6.2 million adults who took part in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (BRFSS) was used by the researchers for the study. The survey was carried out between 1993 and 2016.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of fat in the body based on weight and height applies to adults. Obesity is characterized as Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher than that whereas severe obesity is defined as a BMI of 35 or higher than 35.
The researchers used new statistical methods for the correction of the bias, as self-reported data are commonly biased. The large data collected in the Surveillance survey helped the researchers to access the obesity rates for specific subpopulations, states, and income levels.
The study results showed the prediction that different states in America will almost 60% obesity prevalence whereas the lowest states will have nearly 40% obesity prevalence.
The researchers predicted the most common BMI categories nationally that BMI category for non-Hispanic black adults, women, and category of individuals with annual income less than $50,000 will be on the verge of severe obesity.
One of the analysts at Harvard Chan School’s Centre for Health Decision Science and the lead author Zachary Ward said that the high predicted severe obesity prevalence among adults with low-income has a serious indication for Medicaid costs in the future.
He said that the effect of weight-based discrimination could have wide-ranging implications for social and economic discrepancies as severe obesity is now the most common category of BMI among less-income adults in almost every state.
This study will help state policymakers as said by Wards and other authors. Wards said that sugary drinks taxes have been cost-effective and an effective intervention to lessen the obesity rates.