In a shocking revelation researchers have warned that one in every two US citizens, that is half the US population, will become obese by 2030, after they conducted a research to find obesity prevalence in the US at state level.
Their research shows that by 2030 every 1 out of 2 adults will suffer from obesity and its prevalence will be higher than 50% in 29 states and not below 35% in any which is extremely alarming. 1 in 4 adults will face severe obesity and prevalence will be higher than 25% in 25 states. They predict that severe obesity will become the most common category among women, non-hispanic black adults and low-income adults which is again terrifying. Their results indicate that the prevalence of obesity will continue to increase nationwide with massive inconsistency across states.
The research, conducted by Zachary J. Ward, Sara N. Bleich, Angie L. Cradock, et al, has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They developed methods to correct the bias and to check state-specific and demographic subgroup trends. They measured obesity with the help of Body Mass Index (BMI) of 6,264,226 adults who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (1993–1994 and 1999–2016) after self-reporting bias was corrected with the help of data from 57,131 adults who took part in national health and nutrition examination survey. Regression was set for each state to estimate the prevalence of four BMI categories from 1990 through 2030. Underweight was less than 18, normal from 18-25, overweight 25-30, moderate obesity 30-35 and severe obesity ranged greater than 35.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is the accumulation of fat that could destroy the health of an individual. Body Mass Index (BMI) is an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. If the BMI falls below 18, the person is considered underweight; if it is between 18.5 to 25, it is within the normal range; from 25.5 to 30, it is overweight and if it is more than 30, it is labeled as obese.
Obesity further has three classes: Class 1 has a BMI from 31 to 35, Class 2 has a BMI from 35 to 40. Greater than 40 is a severe form of obesity. It is important to remember that BMI is used as a screening tool but not as a diagnostic tool.
Obesity levels have increased three times since 1975. According to a 2016 WHO report, 1.9 billion adults, or of 39% adults of age 18 and above, were overweight and 650 million, or 13% of adults of age 18 and above, were obese. The report further said that 41 million children under the age of five were obese or overweight in 2016.
In comparison to the USA, Asian countries have less prevalence of obesity, this despite Asia being most populous continent in the world with China and India being the largest and second largest countries of the world in terms of population. Thailand has the highest rate of overweight India has the lowest. However, If the rate of overweight keeps on increasing, the Asian countries would have the same rate of obesity as compared to the USA.
There are many causes of obesity, transition in lifestyle due to urbanization being a major one. It has decreased physical activity and raised obesity levels. High intake of unrefined carbohydrates, processed and junk food are also major causes of obesity. Junk and processed foods are high in saturated fat and low in fiber content, factors which increase obesity.
Obesity can lead to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer of various organs that include breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney and colon. There is a need to raise awareness about the dangers of obesity and ways to tackle it.