Mapped By State: Half U.S. Population Will Be Obese By 2030

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza

Half of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030, contributing to heart disease, diabetes, joint disorders and even certain types of cancer, according to a study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine“.

The researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed body mass index (BMI) data reported by more than 6.2 million adults in an earlier phone-based survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.

Over the past few decades, rates of obesity, defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater, have been rapidly rising.

In 2000, no state had an obesity rate higher than 35 percent. By 2010, an obesity rate higher than 35 percent was found in 27 states.

Now, all U.S. states, except Colorado and Hawaii, have an obesity rate higher than 35 percent.

Ten states have an obesity rate of more than 45 percent, while Mississippi, the state with the highest obesity rate, has nearly half of its population considered obese.

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Using the current overweight and obesity trends, the researchers predict that at least one in two adults in the U.S. will be considered obese by 2030.

One in four will be considered severely obese with a BMI of over 40.

The data highlights the urgent need to find more ways to address diet, exercise and lifestyle factors that can contribute to weight gain, including nutrition education.