By 2030, approximately half of the U.S. adult population will be obese, and a quarter will have severe obesity. This stark statement comes from a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (2019; 381, 2440–50) and is based on body mass index data from more than 6.2 million adults surveyed in 1993–1994 and 1999–2016.

Harvard University researchers who analyzed the data determined that several states are likely to have an obesity rate of 60%, while even the lowest rates among states will approach 40%. Researchers predict that “severe obesity will likely be most common among women, non–Hispanic black adults and those with annual incomes below $50,000 per year.”