It can be difficult to measure the extent of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. because people often underestimate when reporting their own weight. For a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers developed methods to attempt to correct for this self-reporting bias. The adjusted numbers suggest that by 2030 nearly one in two adults in the U.S. will have obesity. The authors predict the prevalence of obesity by that year will not be lower than 35 percent in any state and will be higher than 50 percent in 29 states. Severe obesity—a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher—is predicted to become the most common BMI category among women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults.
Widespread changes to personal dietary choices, portion sizes, an activity levels—along with food manufacturing and policy changes—will be necessary to avoid these dire predictions.