The obesity rate may rise to 42 percent from about a third of the U.S. population by 2030, according to a report.
Preventing that increase may save about $550 billion in medical costs over the next 20 years, Eric Finkelstein, the study author and an associate research professor at Duke University, said during a press briefing. The findings, presented today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Weight of the Nation obesity conference, also suggest the surge in obesity may be slowing.
Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight and one-third are obese, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. The findings predict that the number of people who are severely obese, or about 100 pounds overweight, will double to 11 percent. Those people are at the highest risk for health conditions caused by excess weight, including diabetes and heart disease.
“Obesity rates have been skyrocketing,” Finkelstein said. “If we can keep obesity rates flat, we save about $550 billion.”