This is truly sad news: obesity in America will continue to grow until 42 percent of its adults are obese. This prediction comes from a team of Harvard researchers who applied a mathematical model to four decades of data from the Framingham study — a long-running and ongoing look at the health and habits of American adults.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it believes that the obesity epidemic has already peaked at 34 percent, but the Harvard team disagrees. They say it will continue to grow steadily and slowly over the next 40 years because of three factors: social relationships, personal habits like diet and exercise, and the rate at which obese people lose weight. Of the three, social networks play a much larger role than previously thought. Like other epidemics, the team argues, obesity can spread between friends; people start to change their perception of what a healthy weight is based on who they come in contact with and this affects their own lifestyle choices. This may be impacted even more by an earlier study that says obese people don't view themselves as overweight.
I personally hope the Harvard team is wrong, but with 34 percent of our country already obese, now is the time for real action — not hope — from all levels. Weight is definitely a subject that has become taboo in our country, but if you know someone who falls into this category, or perhaps this is you, I urge you to find a way to help lower this statistic.