Washington: Almost 42 percent of Americans could be obese by 2030.
If that happens, the US healthcare system could be burdened with 32 million more obese people within two decades.
So says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drastic action is needed to keep rates from increasing further, warned researchers from Duke University, RTI International and the US Centers for Disease Control, Xinhua reports.
By the most current obesity statistics, 35.7 percent of American adults -- 78 million people -- and 16.9 percent of children and adolescents are obese, meaning their body-mass index is 30 or over.
The new study forecasts an increase in the number of individuals with severe obesity, with rates rising to 11 percent by 2030.
Severe obesity is defined as a body mass index over 40 or roughly 100 pounds overweight.
Severely obese individuals are at highest risk for the health conditions caused by excess weight, resulting in substantially greater medical expenditures and rates of absenteeism.
The study, based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and state-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other organizations, has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.