The urgency of cutting calories (however many it takes) was underscored by another new report, which projects that if current trends continue, half of Americans will be obese-not merely overweight-by 2030. That would add 65 million US adults to the ranks of the obese, defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Particularly affected would be those reaching their 40s and 50s by 2030, whose obesity prevalence would approach 60%. And 24 million of those added to the obese would be age 60 or older, whose growing numbers are already stretching the healthcare system. The projected worsening of the obesity epidemic would further add to the nations medical burden, with an estimated 6-8.5 million additional cases of diabetes and 5.7-7.3 million heart disease and stroke patients. The Columbia University report used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988-2008. In a small note of hope for Americas battle of the bulge, the scientists added, Past trends do not always predict the future.
TO LEARN MORE: The Lancet, August 27, 2011; abstract at dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60814-3.