In addition, severe obesity – and the serious health problems and extra healthcare costs associated with it – will disproportionately affect women, low-income adults, non-Hispanic black adults and states bordering the lower half of the Mississippi River.
Nearly half of all adults in the US will be obese just 10 years from now, according to new projections published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Nearly a quarter will be severely obese.
Currently, about 40 percent of US adults are obese and about 20 percent are severely obese.
The new modeling study, led by public health researchers at Harvard, attempts to provide the most accurate projections yet for the country’s obesity epidemic, which is increasing at a concerning rate. “Especially worrisome,” the researchers write, “is the projected rise in the prevalence of severe obesity, which is associated with even higher mortality and morbidity and health care costs” than obesity.
For the study, the researchers defined weight categories by body mass index, BMI, defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. BMI’s of under 25 were considered underweight or normal weight, 25 to 30 were considered overweight (25 to <30), 30 to 35 were considered moderate obesity, and 35 or over were considered severe obesity.