Weight Loss

Half Of Americans Will Be Obese By 2030

A new analysis is predicting that by 2030, just ten years from now, 48.9% of all adults in the United States will be obese and 24.2% will be severely obese.

That’s just obesity, defined by a person with a body-mass index or BMI, (a measure of weight relative to height) of 30 or above. Having a BMI at or above 35 is regarded as severe obesity. Overweight is defined as those with a BMI of 25-29.

The average adult male in the U.S. who stands at 5′ 9″ is obese if he weighs more than 202 pounds and severely obese at more than 236 pounds. The comparable thresholds for obesity and severe obesity for the average U.S. female, at 5′ 4″, are 174 and 203 pounds.

Obesity is getting worse in every state and especially concerning is severe obesity, which used to be pretty rare and now will be the most common category for a lot of states and subgroups across the country, bringing with it serious health problems and extra healthcare costs.

Even more concerning is a new study in JAMA suggesting that an increasing number of overweight Americans have lost the motivation to diet. Back in 1990, when researchers asked overweight Americans if they were trying to lose weight, 56 percent said yes. But this has changed. According to the latest data, just 49 percent say they’re trying.

This may not seem like a big decline. But given that about 2 out of every 3 Americans are either overweight or obese, a decline of 7 percent means millions more people may have given up on dieting.

So what gives? It seems our perceptions about dieting and our attitudes about overweight people are shifting with women leading the decline in dieting according to multiple surveys.

There seems to be a growing acceptance of bigger body sizes. Women helped illuminate this shift with comments like:

“My family still loves me and my friends do, too, so it’s not like I feel bad about how I look.”

“I know I weigh more than I should, but I don’t feel the pressure to diet anymore.”

“I tried dieting in the past, but didn’t lose weight. It’s a negative thing … like a punishment,” 

“Everywhere I look I see overweight people, it’s the new norm. I don’t have to be a size 2.”

This change in body image is wonderful and I applaud that women are refusing to be bound by unrealistic, even unhealthy, low weights encouraged by the media. But this should not and cannot change the fact that BMI’s greater than 25 are overweight and those over 30 obese. All carrying successively significant heath related issues and economic costs. As I’ve posted in the past, being overweight or obese increases cardiovascular, stroke, diabetic, cancer, arthritic, and pulmonary risks as well as mortalities related to all these causes.

It’s about time we pushed back against the anti-fat bias in this country and the shame that often goes with it. This month, Vogue magazine put a plus-size model on its cover (defined as size 18 or an XL in stores) and the fashion world has begun putting curvier models on the runway. “Even in Paris, a city known for its razor-thin models, signs of hope came via the appearance of Katy Syme and Stella Duval at H&M’s vibrant see-now-buy-now show,” wrote Janelle Okwodu the senior fashion editor for Vogue about the fashion world’s new focus on inclusivity. And CVS has launched the hashtag #BeautyUnaltered, promising only “real” images for their sales campaigns.

Focus may be shifting off the number on the scale but it still needs to stay focused on healthy lifestyles. Not just in how we eat, but sleeping, exercising and de-stressing habits as well. It’s about time we’re moving towards a more realistic society that accepts all body types. But in the process we can’t ignore the very real and catastrophic consequences being overweight carries. 

Curves are wonderful. Our unique and differing body types a breathtaking collage of who we are as a society. But there has to be a better balance. We can have both- a body we love and great health. It’s imperative we don’t give up. For ourselves, for those we care about and the terrible impact obesity wreaks. We must continue to look for guidance, education and help in finding the path to a healthier weight that encourages a longer and happier life. 



-jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2608211

-nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1909301

-nature.com/articles/ijo201224

-ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19875997

-reuters.com/article/us-health-obesity-2030-projection/half-of-u-s-adults-to-be-obese-by-2030-with-one-in-four-severely-obese-idUSKBN1YM2IO

-jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2526639

-npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/03/08/519080766/is-dieting-passe-study-finds-fewer-overweight-people-try-to-lose-weight

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