Massage can help alleviate many health conditions—and obesity is no exception. Studies have found that stress reduction assists weight loss and also lessens social anxiety disorder in obese patients, and that massage may lead to healthier lifestyle choices. Meanwhile, being overweight can exacerbate conditions that bring many people to massage, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

New research shows the trend toward overweight is not slowing down and by 2020 a majority of U.S. adults will be overweight, with more than half of of them suffering from diabetic conditions.

Investigators with Northwestern University created the projections and presented them to a recent meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA has set a target to help Americans improve their overall heart health by 20 percent in 2020. However, if current trends continue, Americans can expect only a modest improvement of six percent in overall cardiovascular health in 2020, according to a Northwestern press release.

Representative of all Americans, the study was based on patterns found in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988 to 2008. The projected numbers on weight and diabetes, based on previous trends, include:

• In 2020, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese.

• Currently, 72 percent of men and 63 percent of women are overweight or obese (people who are overweight have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29kg/m2, people who are obese have a BMI of 30kg/m2 or greater).

• In 2020, 77 percent of men and 53 percent of women will have dysglycemia (either diabetes or pre-diabetes). Currently, 62 percent of men and 43 percent of women have dysglycemia.

“We’ve been dealing with the obesity trend for the past three decades, but the impact we project on blood sugar is a true shock,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., chair and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and senior author of the study. “Those are some really scary numbers. When blood sugar goes up like that, all of the complications of diabetes come into play.”

Less than five percent of Americans currently are considered to have ideal cardiovascular health, the press release noted.

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