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42 Percent of Americans Will Be Obese in 2030

A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicates that as many as four out of ten Americans will be obese in 2030, and one fourth of these severely obese. The number of obese Americans has more than doubled over the last 40 years, and 34 percent of Americans are currently obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

The social and health implications of obesity are staggering. Obesity carries serious health risks and costs billions of dollars in annual medical care. Obesity-related health issues like diabetes, kidney failure, and heart disease currently uses 9 percent of the national cost of medical care in the United States.

According to the CDC, one of every three children is already obese;  obese children most often turn into obese adults. 

The reason for the growing number of overweight Americans is that in today’s culture, it is increasingly easy to make choices that lead to obesity. Eric A. Finkelstein, the leader of the study, said that changes in society like food surplus and inactivity made it easy to become obese. 

“The world has changed in ways that allow people to be that overweight,” Finkelstein said. However, it is also possible that because those changes in the world have already occurred, weight gain may have reached a plateau. Since the world is already booming with unhealthy options, the change has already happened. "We don't expect the environment to get much worse than it is now, or at least we hope it doesn't," added Finkelstein. 

Moving Towards a Vegetarian Option?

Obesity can often be prevented or reversed through a healthy diet and exercise. A five-year study from Oxford revealed that of 22,000 people, those on vegetarian or vegan diets gained the least amount of weight. The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2006. 

A large portion of the solution could come from the same sources that caused the problem. Rebecca Puhl, director of research of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, said, "If we want to reduce obesity, we have to change the conditions that created it in the first place, with less advertising of unhealthy foods to children, easier access to healthy foods for everyone, improved physical education requirements in all schools, environments that make it easier for people to be active, and taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages."