New data released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show obesity will continue to be a costly epidemic.
The data show the country's obesity rates have leveled off somewhat in the past few years. But researchers predict about 42 percent of the population will be obese by the year 2030. That's up from about a third now.
David Simmons, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health who follows obesity trends, said the other troubling trend is the growing number of people who are morbidly obese.
"I think we're all interested in the fact that people who are already at greater health risk because they're obese may be graduating to an even higher-risk category," Simmons said.
Increased severity of the disease is expected to be costly. On the other hand, the CDC researchers say if obesity rates are kept level, it could save nearly $550 billion in health care costs in the next two decades.