Just like a good story, every epidemic has a beginning, middle, and an end. Lately, we’ve been seeing signs that obesity’s prevalence is leveling. Policy makers who think they have the answer have been declaring that their strategies are working. But it just might be that we were headed here all along.
US prevalence of obesity, overweight, and extreme obesity will plateau by about 2030 at 28%, 32%, and 9%, respectively
One of the reasons is due changes in birth rates, mortality, and age distributions. The study authors conclude:
The US prevalence of obesity is stabilizing and will plateau, independent of current preventative strategies.
The bloggers at conscienhealth put it a little differently:
As George Harrison and the Chesire Cat knew, if we don’t know where we’re going, any road will get us there.
Likewise, just about any prevention strategy might seem to work for obesity in the absence of careful analysis.
Here is one interesting graph from the study (actual fitted trends based on historical data are in solid lines, solid circles are CDC data, and dashed curves are simulated projections).