The researchers said, however, that though the projections are grim, they need not be our destiny. If every state decreased their average body mass index by 5 percent by 2030, they said, millions of people would be spared from obesity-related disease and billions of dollars in health care spending would be saved.
Simply put, Levi said, this basically amounts to everyone losing about 10 pounds.
"That's an achievable goal," he said. "Relatively small changes can make a big difference."
Levi said two programs in the Affordable Care Act are moving things in the right direction. One of these programs is comprised of Community Transformation Grants, which have as one of their goals reducing BMI by 5 percent. The Diabetes Prevention Program is another initiative highlighted in the report that has been shown to prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes.
Investments in these programs and others like them are part of the answer to this reversing the current trajectory, Levi said.
"If states and the nation invest in interventions targeted toward adults, we could save billions of dollars," he said. "That's part of the battle. The other part is ensuring healthier environments for children so they remain healthy in the first place.
"So, if we can do these two things, Americans will be healthier, happier and more productive."