Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Half of U.S. Adults Will Be Obese in 10 Years: Why You Don't Need to Throw Up Your Hands and Give Up

Right now, the researchers estimate, 40% of American adults are obese, and 18% severely so. Assuming recent trends continue, roughly 49% will be obese by 2030, while 24% will reach the severe obesity category -- something that was once rare.
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Image courtesy Traveller 

By Amy Norton-HealthDay Reporter


All the US states will need to be financially prepared, Ward pointed out: With severe obesity so prevalent among low-income Americans, Medicaid programs will bear rising health care costs.


The projections, published Dec. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine, might sound especially dire. But they are more accurate than previous estimates, the researchers said.

Ward and his team started with findings from an annual federal health survey that asks people to report their weight -- pulling together responses from over 6.2 million Americans surveyed between 1993 and 2016.

The Red Tea Detox
The researchers then pulled data from another government study where researchers actually measured people's weight and height. Armed with that information, they used statistical modeling to correct for the inevitable "bias" that crops up when people report their own weight.

Right now, the researchers estimate, 40% of American adults are obese, and 18% severely so. Assuming recent trends continue, roughly 49% will be obese by 2030, while 24% will reach the severe obesity category -- something that was once rare, Ward noted.

Despite the numbers, both Stevens and Schwartz warned against a hopeless attitude.

"You don't want everyone to just throw up their hands and give up," Schwartz said.

She encouraged people to focus on replacing processed, sugary foods with healthier whole foods, and fitting physical activity into their day -- by walking more often, for example.

"You can engage in healthy behaviors no matter what your weight is," Schwartz said. "Do that instead of focusing on the number on the scale."

But to truly tackle this public health problem, she stressed, broad changes are needed.

"As a society, we have a responsibility to make it easier for people to have a healthy lifestyle," Schwartz said.

Processed foods are readily available and cheap, she said, while for many people, healthy whole foods are unaffordable. And some nutritionally dubious fare is even specifically marketed to minority groups, Schwartz added.

Meanwhile, Americans in many communities lack safe places to get free outdoor exercise.

"One thing individuals can do is get involved in their communities," Schwartz said. "They can say, it's not OK that we don't have safe places for our kids to play, or a grocery store with healthy food."-. Concluded. Credit: WebMD



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