Based on recent reports, 42 percent of American adults will be obese by the year 2030, and the number of severely obese individuals is expected to increase from roughly 5 to 11 percent.
On the bright side, obesity is no longer accelerating; not long ago, it was projected that up to 51 percent of the population would be at risk by 2030-a number that has since dropped nearly 9 percent.
While a decrease in the potential number of obese individuals is certainly a notable feat, these still aren't exactly statistics to applaud either. Without argument, 42 percent is a shockingly high number despite the fact that Americans are making an effort.
So, what can we do?
"I don't know if obesity predictions drive people to make changes on an individual level," says Zeel Expert Lauren Slayton, a registered dietitian and founder of Manhattan's Foodtrainers. "I liked much of what was issued in the IOM report, but my favorite quote was, "Action must occur at all levels - individual, family, community and the broader society."'
She adds, "If someone is feeling stuck or trapped and knows they aren't making good choices when it comes to their wellness, change can feel overwhelming. Where to start?"
Lauren arms us with three small tricks for modifying those behaviors that may be less than ideal.
Success starts in the store. As Lauren explains, it can be very difficult to talk yourself out of eating something when it's lurking behind the cabinets or staring at you when you open the fridge. Start slow. "Commit to not purchasing one unhealthy staple in your diet," she says. "Soda, cookies or chips are good places to start." If your children or spouse drink soda or eat cookies or engage in other unhealthy behavior in the kitchen, enlist their support. It's better for everyone.
100 minutes. "Guidelines can tell you to be active every day, and that's great advice," says Lauren. Even better? 100 minutes per week is a superior starting point if you're inactive or not in a good workout groove. The possibilities are endless too. Walk, dance, bike or do whatever else it is that you love - as long as you're moving - three or four days a week. Just add it up to 100 minutes.
Timing is everything. As an experienced RD in the city that never sleeps, Lauren has seen it all. "For many of us, there's a lot of game playing when it comes to food," she says. "Some save up, skipping breakfast and nibbling midday only to gorge at night. New clients will come in and say "I'm good until 4 p.m. or the evening." The truth is it's not good and it's not just about the afternoons or evenings." Lauren recommends eating within two hours of waking up, even if it's just fruit (so as not to skip a meal), and then every four hours after that.