Weight of the Nation

If Americans continue to gain weight at the current pace, 42 percent of the population will be obese by 2030.

Think about that for a minute: 42 percent. Nearly half of the U.S. population.

That staggering statistic was released today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2012 national conference on obesity prevention, Weight of the Nation.

The research findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The conference kicked off today and runs through Wednesday. The conference is leading up to the May 14 premiere of the HBO documentary with the same name.

The four-part documentary was developed in partnership with the Institute of Medicine, the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.

The rise in obesity rates has slowed, settling at about 36% — or 78 million U.S. adults — in 2010. The new report predicts that unchecked, the rate could increase by 33% in the next two decades, according to the report.

The increase accounts for an additional 32 million obese Americans (body mass index score of 30 or higher). The report also predicts an increase in the number of severely obese Americans (BMI of 40 or higher).

Research indicates the percentage of severely obese Americans will increase from 5 percent in 2010 to 11 percent by 2030.

The report and the Weight of the Nation documentary are creating a lot of buzz across the country.

Newsweek Magazine had an interesting take on the country’s obesity outreach campaign. The article, “Why the Campaign to Stop America’s Obesity Crisis is Failing,” suggests that what Americans are eating, specifically sugars, are more to blame for the epidemic than how much people are eating.

NPR wrote that cutting the obesity rate by just 1 percent a year over the next 20 years would cut health care costs by $85 billion.

NPR also had a piece about HBO and Nickelodeon’s iCarly working together to get 100 salad bars set up in school lunchrooms across the country by this fall.

Since everyone else is talking about it, why don’t we?

What do you think of the Weight of the Nation campaign? Do you plan to check out the documentary later this month?

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