Obesity in America: Projected to Only Get Worse

By | January 9, 2020

  • Much is known about adult obesity at the national level in the U.S., but now a recent ,study presented in The  New England Journal of Medicine ( 12/19/19) pages 2440-2450, has examined the issue of obesity in adults 18 and older at the state level, and projects the expected trends out to the year 2030.
    The study also added to our knowledge of demographics on gender, race, and income.

    The study is entitled “Projected U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity”, Zachary J. Ward, MPH, et al.

    It used BMI (body mass index), the standard measurement of weight in the general population. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. BMI is an imperfect representation of body weight, especially in muscular and large boned individuals, but overall is usually quite a useful representative of body weight for most people.

    BMI can be found on-line in either tabular or calculator formats.

    The current distribution of BMI by % of the adult population in 2019 showed that::
    -normal, ideal, underweight <25 (25%)
    -overweight 25 to <30 (35%)
    -“overall obesity” (40% )represented as:
        BMI 30 to <39.9  (35%) and
        BMI >40  (6%)

    The authors of the current study of 6.4 million adults, conducted in the U.S. between 1993-1994 and 1999-2016 presented  their BMI results in a different form:
    -< 25 normal or underweight
    -25 to <30 overweight
    -“overall obesity”>35 represented as:
    -30 to >35 moderately obese
    ->35 severe obese

    Using current trends of national and statewide data, the overall findings of the study estimated that by the year 2030:

    Nationally “Overall obesity”(BMI >30):

    Approximately (50%) one half of the adult US population were projected to be in the “overall obese” category.

    By state “ Overall obesity”(BMI>30):

    29 states will see “overall obesity” in more than the national average of 50% of their residents:
    1. Alabama
    2. Arizona in
    3. Arkansa s
    4. Delaware
    5. Georgia
    6. Illinois
    7. Indiana
    8. Iowa
    9. Kansas
    10. Kentucky
    11. Louisiana
    12. Maine
    13. Maryland
    14. Michigan
    15. Mississippi
    16. Missouri
    17. Nebraska
    18. New Mexico
    19. North Carolina
    20. North Dakota
    21. Ohio
    22. Oklahoma
    23. Pennsylvania
    24. South Carolina
    25. South Dakota
    26. Tennessee
    27. Texas
    28. West Virginia
    29. Wisconsin

    Nationally “Severe obesity”(BMI >35)
    Approximately (25%) one quarter of the adult US population were projected to be in the “severe obesity“ category.

    Nationally “Severe obesity”(BMI >35) is projected to become the most common BMI category in:
    -Females 28%
    -Non-Hispanic black adults 32%
    -Low income adults 32%

    By state “Severe obesity”( BMI >35);

    25 states will see ”severe obesity” in more than the national average of 25% of their residents:
    1. Alabama
    2. Arkansas
    3. Delaware
    4. Georgia
    5. Illinois
    6. Indiana
    7. Iowa
    8. Kansas
    9. Kentucky
    10. Louisiana
    11. Michigan
    12. Mississippi
    13. Missouri
    14. Nebraska
    15. North Carolina
    16. North Dakota
    17. Ohio
    18. Oklahoma
    19. South Carolina
    20. South Dakota
    21. Tennessee
    22. Texas
    23. Virginia
    24. West Virginia
    25. Wisconsin

    Currently nothing much has succeeded in controlling the problem of obesity in adults or children in our country.
    Perhaps an appropriate appreciation of the “epidemic” of obesity may motivate parents to help their children avoid this projected unhealthy trend.

    Weight control essentially is in the hands of the individual, and unfortunately too few of us have a working understanding of the basics of nutrition, including how to “read a food label”. Here knowledge and some will power can go a long way to help avoid “the gain”, and promote one’s own health.  Remember, “you are as good as your last meal”. Splurging on one meal is ok so long as the next one is better.

    Truth is we need people to help themselves and their children avoid being overweight and obese.

    We can not do it without them

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