CHOICES Study Projects U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity

A new study from CHOICES, “Projected U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity,” was published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.


This study finds that about half of the adult U.S. population will have obesity and about a quarter will have severe obesity by 2030. Severe obesity—once a rare condition—is projected to be the most common BMI category in 10 states and in some demographic subgroups. The researchers said the predictions are troubling because the health and economic effects of obesity and severe obesity take a toll on several aspects of society; yet, these findings could help inform state policy makers. For example, previous research suggests that sugary drink taxes have been an effective and cost-effective strategy for curtailing the rise in obesity rates. Prevention efforts will be key in reversing these trends.

To learn more, read a summary and the abstract of this paper.

See where obesity is headed in the U.S. & in each state
Projected U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity.
Ward ZJ, Bleich SN, Cradock AL, Barrett JL, Giles CM, Flax CN, Long MW, Gortmaker SL. N Engl J Med. 2019;381:2440-50. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa1909301


State-Level Trends in Obesity with Zach Ward

Lead author Zach Ward discusses the paper with the Center for Health Decision Science.


Media Coverage

This study garnered substantial media attention. See the list of full coverage:

  • “Half of Us Face Obesity, Dire Projections Show” [The New York Times]
  • “Half of America will be obese within 10 years, study says, unless we work together” [CNN]
  • “Half of the U.S. Population Will Be Obese by 2030” [Time]
  • “Study: Nearly half U.S. residents to be ‘obese’ in 2030, 1 in 4 to have ‘severe obesity’” [USA Today]
  • “Half of US adults will be obese by 2030: study” [New York Post]
  • “Study estimates that half of US adults will be obese by 2030” [The Washington Post]
  • “By 2030, nearly half of all U.S. adults will be obese, experts predict” [LA Times]
  • “Study predicts almost half of US will be obese within a decade” [The Hill]
  • “Close to half of U.S. population projected to have obesity by 2030” [Harvard Gazette]
  • “Close to half of U.S. population projected to have obesity by 2030” [Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health]
  • “Study estimates that half of US adults will be obese by 2030” [Yahoo News]
  • “In 10 Years, Almost Half of All Americans Will Have Obesity” [Medscape]
  • “Half of America Will Be Obese in Just 10 Years, Study Warns” [Newsweek]
  • “Half of U.S. adults to be obese by 2030 with one in four severely obese” [Reuters]
  • “Half of Americans Will Be Obese by 2030, Study Finds” [Video – QuickTake by Bloomberg]
  • “Nearly HALF of all Americans will be obese by 2030 – and the epidemic will cost the US billions of dollars, study warns” [The Daily Mail]
  • “Over Half of Americans Will Be Obese in 10 Years If They Don’t Start Eating Healthier, Study Says” [People]
  • “A Quarter Of U.S. Adults Will Be ‘Severely Obese’ By 2030, Harvard Study Projects” [WBUR Boston]
  • “Study estimates that half of US adults will be obese by 2030” [Boston 25 News]
  • “Nearly half of all US adults will have obesity by 2030” [Healio]
  • “Close to half of US population projected to have obesity by 2030” [Medical Xpress]
  • “Nearly half of U.S. population will be obese by 2030, analysis says” [UPI]
  • “Half of America will be obese within 10 years, study says, unless we work together” [CBS6 Virginia]
  • “Half of U.S. adults to be obese by 2030 with one in four severely obese” [WHTC Michigan]
  • “Researchers predict nearly half of U.S. adults will be obese in a decade” [Washington Times]
  • “Half of All American Adults Could Be Obese in 10 Years, Study Finds” [EcoWatch]
  • “Obesity Projected to Affect Half of All Adults in the US by 2030” [MD Magazine]
  • “Alarming Obesity Study Delivers Warning Even To Active Westerners” [KUNR]
  • “Almost half of American adults will have obesity within the next decade, researchers predict” [MinnPost]
  • “Nearly half of U.S. adults will experience obesity by 2030, study finds” [The GW Hatchet]
  • “By 2030, half of U.S. will be obese” [BenefitsPro]
  • “A Quarter Of U.S. Adults Will Be ‘Severely Obese’ By 2030, Harvard Study Projects” [WSHU]