(WISH) — A warning for Americans: If our lifestyle habits don’t change soon, the country will hit an unprecedented level of obesity in the next decade.
The New England Journal of Medicine conduced a study based on more than 6 million U.S. adults. The predictions showed that within 10 years more than half of Americans will be obese, while one-quarter will be considered severely obese, or more than 100 pounds overweight.
While the consequences could have a devastating impact on the U.S. health care system, the South and Midwest are predicted to be the hardest-hit.
Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is one way to address the problem. Experts say such drinks are one of the main contributors to the country’s weight problem.
There are ways to prevent the prediction. Promoting farm-to-school and farm-to-work programs that access locally grown fruits and veggies will increase the awareness. Access to calorie labeling on the menu at restaurants may switch a customers order.
Due to how difficult obesity is to treat, the study stresses that prevention is the only way to slow the epidemic.
CNN Newsource contributed to this report.