A whopping 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030, and the swelling ranks of the rotund could end up costing the nation hundreds of billions of dollars. The scary statistics are revealed in a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently more than a third of Americans are obese and the number is rising, particularly in men and the elderly. Buried in the CDC’s research is a nugget of good news. Even though the number of obese Americans continues to go up, it’s starting to go up at a slower rate.
The slowdown is a small victory in the fight for better health. Were obesity to rise at the same rapid rate it has in the last two decades, half the U.S. population would be obese by 2030, the study found.
The CDC’s study looked at the ramifications of the obesity crisis, including its economic impact. If the problem isn't curbed, it could cost the country $550 billion in health care costs over the next 20 years, researchers found.
Obesity — defined as a Body Mass Index over 30 — can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. And 27% of the rise in medical costs over the last 30 years can be pinned to excess weight, researchers wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even tiny progress in preventing obesity-related health conditions would save millions of dollars in health care costs, researchers wrote.
The Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit health organization, released national strategies for combating obesity Tuesday on its website, such as making nutritious foods more widely available and promoting health in schools and the workplace.
The study is based on BMI data collected by the CDC and state health departments from 1990 through 2008 as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Luisa Meira