Nov. 30 (UPI) -- More than half of American children will be obese by the age of 35 if current trends continue, according to a study released Wednesday.
Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and found that 57 percent of today's children will be obese by they time they're 35-years-old. That's a significant increase from today's levels, which find 38 percent of Americans over the age of 20 to be obese.
"On current trends, obesity is going to be a problem for most kids as they grow older," Zach Ward, the study's lead author, told Time Magazine. "We really need to start thinking about really scaling up prevention efforts."
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on "a sophisticated statistical analysis technique that relies on certain assumptions, and those assumptions can be challenged," Stephen Daniels, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, told USA Today. "But I think the assumptions are pretty reasonable and their conclusions are pretty reasonable and, unfortunately, pretty scary."
Daniels, who was not involved in the study, said major lifestyle changes will be needed to detour the current trends. That includes big changes to common diets, which are full of high calories and low nutrient foods, and promoting more physical activity -- a difficult task when Americans are constantly on computers and cell phones.
"We have to figure out how to change our environments," Daniels said. "We spend a lot of time talking to parents about changes we want them to make, but it's an uphill climb for them."