Forty-two percent of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030, rising from the current rate of one-third, according to a study released Monday.
The research additionally forecasts a jump in the number of American with severe obesity -- those who are roughly 100 pounds overweight -- with rates rising to 11 percent by 2030.
Not only will the U.S. be packing on pounds: the paper's authors also warned that the nation will pile on a whopping $550 billion in health care costs associated with obesity over the next two decades.
"Should these forecasts prove accurate, the adverse health and cost consequences of obesity are likely to continue to escalate without a significant intervention," said senior author Justin Trogdon, of the nonprofit RTI International.
William H. Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, acknowledged that it is ultimately up to Americans to make healthy choices to slow the pace of obesity rates, but he said those healthy choices "must first be available and accessible."
Among the changes that could curb obesity growth in the U.S., the authors cited increased access to recreational facilities, improvements in urban design, anti-obesity social marketing programs, workplace programs promoting healthy habits, and the development of new drugs and technologies.
The study, based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other organizations, was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.