Take a look around - at people. What do you see? How many appear trim and fit? Or, how many take up so much of your visual field you have to step back to get a look at the full image? Well, get used to it. Americans, already eating themselves to record weights, are setting their sights on an even more precarious future.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently completed an analysis of 30 years of public health data. Considering the bleakness of the past data, it's surprising they had the courage to make future projections. They found that overweight and obesity rates had climbed steadily for the past three decades.
The future projections are even worse.
"If these trends continue, more than 86 percent of adults will be overweight or obese by 2030, said Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Center for Human Nutrition.
The scientists note that obesity places individuals at risk for multiple health ailments, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. Other recent studies have pointed to an explosion in the rates of children with high cholesterol. The impact not only takes an enormous toll on our physical health, but our fiscal health as well.
"The health care costs attributable to obesity and overweight are expected to more than double every decade. This would account for 15 to 17 percent of total health care costs spent," Wang says. "Due to the assumptions we made and the limitations of the available data, these figures are likely an underestimation of the true financial impact."
So, take another look around. But this time put down the fork, open the door, and look around down the block. When you're done there, check out the next block, then the next. It's not a cure-all, but it's a step in the right direction.To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To calculate your body mass index (BMI) to see if your weight is in the normal range, see this from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.