Half of U.S. Adults Will Be Obese in 10 Years

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) – A decade from now, roughly half of U.S. adults will be obese – with nearly one-quarter severely so, a new study projects.

The predictions by researchers at Harvard University paint a grim picture: By 2030, the prevalence of adult obesity will be at least 35% in every U.S. state, and in 29 states, the figure will top 50%.

Particularly troubling is the expected rise in severe obesity, experts said.

“It’s really alarming, because that’s when the risk of obesity-related health conditions is high,” said Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

Schwartz, who was not involved in the study, said it provides useful information, since it breaks down which states – and which groups of Americans – will be most affected.

While no state will be untouched by the nation’s obesity problem, some will clearly bear a greater burden.

In 25 states, more than one-quarter of the adult population will be severely obese, the researchers project. Some of the highest rates – all topping 30% – will be in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

“There’s no state where things are getting better, or even leveling off,” said lead researcher Zachary Ward, an analyst at Harvard’s Center for Health Decision Science.

Women are expected to have higher rates of severe obesity than men, with nearly 28% falling into that category by 2030. Meanwhile, one-third of blacks will be severely obese, making them the most affected racial/ethnic group.

And among U.S. households with an annual income of less than $50,000, severe obesity will become the single-most common weight category.

Estimates like these – by state and by demographics – are valuable, according to June Stevens, a spokesperson for The Obesity Society.

“The causes of obesity are very complex and include characteristics related to where you live, your culture and even your friends,” said Stevens, who is also a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“These relationships contribute to different groups of Americans being affected by the obesity epidemic differently,” Stevens said. “In order to effectively prevent and treat obesity, it’s useful to understand these differences.”

And 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 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.”

Stevens agreed, saying that while the projections are “glum,” they are not set in stone.

“With work, we can change things,” she said.

And Americans want free healthcare yet cannot stop themselves from stuffing their face.

Half of US adults. I’m sure that includes the millions of obese illegals who gorge themselves on refried beans and corn, at our expense.

1 Like

Sure, that may impact some of the numbers but let’s be honest…so many Americans eat absolute garbage and our food is nothing but chemicals and pesticides. Very few people actually eat a healthy and clean diet.


60% of Americans are over weight or obese today.

Without a serious life style change. 50% is inevitably.

Socialized medicine will have to ration, as the obese suck up healthcare dollars as fast as a 32 oz. soft drink.

Perhaps in 12 years, when the world ends (according to AOC) the obese will outlive all the resto of us healthnuts by living off their stored fat.

1 Like

We’re a fast food nation. Few of the providers really care about the weight of their clientele. The just want the money. They make big and bigger burgers with calorie counts to match.

Burger King just recently started selling Single, Double and Triple Stacker Kings.

The Triple Stacker has 2300 calories. Add fries and a Coke and you’ve got yourself a heart attack combo!

…but that doesn’t hold a candle to Johnny Rockets Bacon Cheddar Doubleburger at 3500 calories.

(The sodium content [3720mg] is over 153% of the recommend maximum daily consumption. The fat content [88g] is over 135% of the recommended daily consumption.)

Damn the calories! Let’s eat big!

1 Like

Pigging out on junk food, coke, and so-called ‘energy drinks’ is a form of fast-track suicide.

1 Like

Whenever I walk around my town centre there are so many morbidly obese people in their late twenties/early thirties with walking aids ranging from sticks/canes to zimmers and motorised buggies, they’re so fat that I always wonder how their organs keep on working.

:rofl: I like that!

I hope you aren’t eating Organic, because Organic foods are a scam. They often use more pesticides than the normal farmers use. When people buy Organic they just get shittier and smaller food at an increased price.

Yow, now that’s the shit; you can feel your heart struggling as you swallow. Try the new Ventricle Blowout burger. I’ve never been overweight, regardless of what I ate. I found more interesting methods to ruin my health.

1 Like

The Joey Falco diet plan. https://youtu.be/ZdCADysqjIA?t=5

1 Like

Story goes, POWs in Vietnam had healthier cardiovascular systems after they were released. Rice - fish - vegetable diet. I do like rice. Just remember to rinse it before cooking. That removes the excess starch & the rat urine.

Reminds me of the duct tape diet. It requires support from a friend or relative.

  • Procure a full roll of duct tape
  • Stand with a friend or relative with your arms extended straight out in front of you
  • Ask your friend or relative to wrap each elbow from 3" on either side with half the roll of duct tape

You won’t be able to remove the duct tape.
You won’t be able to reach your mouth.


70% of Americans have a fatty liver, that is a liver that resembles foie gras. Do you have a fatty liver? Stand profile in a full length mirror. Do you have a gut? Then you have a fatty liver. That then spills out as visceral fat.

Yes, Americans do eat huge amounts of sugar and frequently which is the perfect recipe for insulin resistance but you also have a lot of help from your food industry, perhaps in the back pockets of the drugs industry. One big one is the fact that you use high fructose corn syrup in just about everything.

Sugar is a combination of fructose and glucose. Glucose can be metabolised by every cell in the body. Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and turned into fat, which is lipogenesis. So you can down a litre of Coca cola and hardly get any energy from it. It has to turn to fat first. Fat will only get metabolised during ketosis, when insulin levels are low. Of course, if you are eating frequently and lead a sedentary lifestyle, it is never low, which pushes up the base level anyhow. Coca cola in the UK does not contain HFCS, only sugar. The rate of diabetes in the US is over 10%, over twice that of the UK. I would imagine that rate of sugar consumption to be not far off.

1 Like

Your numbers are a bit off.

An estimated 23.1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes at a cost of more than $245 billion per year. The CDC estimates that another 7.2 million people have diabetes but remain undiagnosed, while another 84.1 million adults 18 years and older have prediabetes.

94 million of 330 million population that is either diabetic or pre diabetic condition.

A doctor diagnosed me as pre-diabetic based on one blood glucose reading and prescribed Metformin. I bought the prescription before I read about the drug online and decided not to take it.

I control my blood sugar level by not consuming sugary foods. It is normally around 100 when I test (every morning).

Diabetes medicine is a scam.

I do eat properly; but I know I use waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much processed sugar. So far, no nasty results; but better to just cut back a lot.


2019: US 10.8%, UK 3.9%

1 Like

Testing for blood sugar is a scam too. Where do you think the excess sugar goes when you take medication to lower it? Yep, to everywhere else, where it shouldn’t, where it rots you literally from the inside out and you end up having to have those bits chopped off.

It is so simple really. You don’t put in any more and you burn off what you already have.

1 Like