Nearly half of all Americans will be obese by 2030, according to a new U.S. government report.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report used factors such as the cost of healthy and unhealthy food, fuel prices and Internet access to make their predictions.
ABC News reports that if the report is accurate and 42 per cent of Americans are obese by 2030, it will result in an extra $550-billion dollars (U.S.) in health-care costs.
The report was released at the CDC's Weight of the Nation conference on Monday, which is examining the impact of the obesity crisis.
Although obesity rates aren't as bad in Canada as in the U.S. – a survey released last year by Statistics Canada and the CDC found one in four Canadian adults are clinically obese, compared to one in three in the U.S. – it's likely obesity rates will continue to rise here.
The World Health Organization defines obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30.
Various solutions have been proposed for solving the obesity epidemic, from taxing pop and candy to mandating more exercise in schools.
But many experts in the field agree real change will only result from wholesale changes throughout society.
An Institute of Medicine report released Tuesday concludes that in order to make a difference, major changes need to occur, such as requiring at least 60 minutes of physical activity in school every day, improving the nutritional value of foods marketed to children and expanded wellness programs in the workplace.
"Each of us has this role. We can't sit back and let the schools do it, or let a mayor do it or think somehow the federal government's going to solve it," report co-author William Purcell told the Associated Press.
How concerned are you about the obesity epidemic?