The once-explosive growth in the proportion of Americans who are obese has slowed, but it's still expected to grow to 42% by 2030, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control study. The study found that if the obesity rate stays at the current level—34%—then some $550 billion in health care costs would be saved, reports the Washington Post. Earlier studies predicted that 51% of Americans would be obese by 2030, but no matter which is correct, "we still have a very serious problem," the head of the CDC's obesity program says.
The obesity rate among women has stayed flat, but other groups, including higher-income men, are continuing to put on weight, and more obese people are becoming severely obese, according to the study, which predicts that the aging of the population will probably nudge many overweight adults into the obese category, and obese people into severely obese. The study's authors say it's not clear whether the growth in obesity has slowed somewhat because of the success of public policy initiatives, or because the US is nearing the maximum level of obesity that a population can sustain, notes the Los Angeles Times. (Read more overweight stories.)