A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health predicts that nearly half the adult U.S. population will be obese by 2030, and a quarter of the population will suffer from severe obesity. Presently, the researchers estimate 40% of American adults have obesity, 18% severely so.

Jonathan Dugas, PhD, exercise physiologist and clinical development consultant at Vitality USA, appreciates that often the cards are stacked against us when it comes to making healthier choices. "So many aspects of our work and home environments, and even our everyday lives, have characteristics that promote obesity," he says. "Eating nutritious food and maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult due to the numerous social, behavioral, and environmental factors at work." However, with strong evidence linking increased fruit and vegetable intake to a reduced risk of obesity-linked diseases, making those healthier choices can be the silver bullet when it comes to lessening not only challenges to our personal well-being but also health care costs. The Centers for Disease Control estimate obesity-related medical care costs to be $173 billion a year.

A new study from pharmaceutical consulting and data services firm Ozmosi diagnoses the current health of the nation, and reveals that some states have taken great strides in reducing not only rates of obesity but other health risks as well—while others have a little farther to go.

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Richard Binder

Richard Binder, based in New York, is part of the social media team at ALM. He is also a 2014 recipient of the ASPBE Award for Excellence in the Humorous/Fun Department.