The prevalence of obesity is estimated to rise to 42% and severe obesity to 11% by 2030, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine to coincide with presentation at the Weight of the Nation conference, held on May 7 in Washington, D.C.

Based on evidence that obesity prevalence may be leveling off, Eric A. Finkelstein, PhD, from the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, and colleagues used nonlinear regression models to estimate the prevalence of adult obesity and severe obesity through 2030. Data were used from the 1990 through 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which included nonpregnant adults aged 18 years or older. The individual level BRFSS variables were supplemented with U.S. state-level variables. Trends in explanatory variables that were expected to influence the prevalence of obesity were projected to estimate future obesity prevalence.

Based on linear time trend forecasts, experts estimate that, by 2030, 51% of the population will be obese. “The study estimates a 33% increase in obesity prevalence and a 130% increase in severe obesity prevalence over the next two decades,” the authors wrote. “If these forecasts prove accurate, this will further hinder efforts for health care cost containment.”

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