In the 44 states where theaverage annual household income is under $20,000, severe obesitywill be the most common weight class.

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In a decade, the obesity problem in the U.S. will encompass halfthe population, according to a study published in the New EnglandJournal of Medicine. And a quarter will be severelyobese, the New York Times warns.

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The researchers from Harvard and George Washingtonuniversities project that adult obesity will hit at least 35percent in every state, but in 29 states that number will be higherthan 50 percent.

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Related: Millennials face greater risk of obesity-relatedcancer than Boomers

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No state in the country is going to dodge this, with womenexpected to be harder hit than men, at nearly 28 percent by the endof the decade. Blacks will also suffer more, with a third of themexperiencing severe obesity—and categorizing their group as themost affected among races and ethnicities.

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And some states will also be in for higher rates as well,including Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi andOklahoma.

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Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionestimates that 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese—but by 2030,that will hit 49 percent. And the chief sufferers will be those whocan least afford food. In the 44 states where the average annualhousehold income is under $20,000, severe obesity will be the mostcommon weight class, but in only one state where income is over$50,000. In fact, 32 percent of low-income adults will be severelyobese.

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"The causes of obesity are very complex and includecharacteristics related to where you live, your culture and evenyour friends," June Stevens, a spokesperson for The Obesity Societyand a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,told MedicineNet.

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Stevens added, "These relationships contribute to differentgroups of Americans being affected by the obesity epidemicdifferently. In order to effectively prevent and treat obesity,it's useful to understand these differences."

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But the prevalence and low cost of processed foods and theinaccessibility and higher cost of healthy foods in poor areas arecontributing to the trend. Marlene Schwartz, director of the RuddCenter for Food Policy and Obesity at the University ofConnecticut, who was not involved in the study, says,  "Asa society, we have a responsibility to make it easier for people tohave a healthy lifestyle."

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At present, 40 percent of American adults are obese, with just18 percent severely so. But present trends will lead toapproximately 49 percent having become obese by 2030, while 24percent will have become severely obese—something that used to berare.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.