By Emily Murray
It’s nothing new to hear that Americans are suffering from obesity at an ever-increasing rate. However, perhaps when you put a more tangible number to that type of statement, the impact takes on a whole new meaning.
The latest projections now forecast that42% of Americans will be obese in 2030.
If that doesn’t worry you – it should. There are countless diseases and complications associated with obesity and many can ultimately be fatal. Aside from thinking about your own health as well as the health of your loved ones, there is also the issue of health care to think about as well.
So is this rate set in stone?
If the rate of obesity continues on its current course, then this projection is quite likely. Surprisingly 42% is a more hopeful prediction than earlier studies reported. By looking at similar criteria, it was originally thought that by 2030 that half of all Americans could be considered obese. The authors of the latest study however felt that projection was a bit too high however and set out to get a more precise look at the situation. This research was lead by Dr. Eric Finkelstein and his team from Duke Global Health Institute.
The data from more than 100,000 people who had been included in the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System which was a telephone survey conducted by the CDC in addition to state and health departments. The information collected included the height and weight reported by the participants and researchers factored in lifestyle factors as well that could influence a person’t weight. As quoted in a TIME article on the subject from Dr. Finkelstein in a teleconference “We found that obesity is increasing at a decreasing rate.”
While this research has produced results which are slightly more hopeful than previously thought, also take into consideration that those used for the research were all adults. If we are seeing more and more obese children, there is a higher likelihood that we will also be seeing a larger population of adult obesity cases.
Even study researchers admit that this is just a guess. There are many factors that can significantly impact the projected rates. For instance, major government restrictions, new medical procedures or a more proactive approach to avoiding obesity as a nation could all help to lower this projection even further.
In most studies, it seems the goal is to be “right” and discover something that is near certain, in this case it seems everyone benefits if this research is wrong. It serves as a walk up call for Americans and a reminder that this country’s children need to be educated when it comes to health and nutrition if we want them to have a full and happy future.