A Heavy Weight on Our Nation
Source: Institute of Medicine
If no action is taken to halt the rising obesity rate in the United States, 42 percent of the US population could be obese by 2030, finds a study published in the early online June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
And the prevalence of severely obese could increase to 11 percent of the population, more than double that of 2010 prevalence. Those who are severely obese have a BMI of 40 or higher. Preventing the current prevalence from rising as predicted would result in a savings of nearly $550 billion in medical costs over the next two decades, the study projected.
The study used both national and state data to project trends in obesity prevalence. Study researchers evaluated the reports from almost 3.5 million adults.
Future trends in childhood obesity will have a major impact on adult obesity prevalence and related healthcare costs, note the authors. Increased access to recreational facilities, improvements in urban design, anti-obesity social marketing programs, worksite health promotion programs, could all slow obesity growth even further than these forecasts predict. Intervention that net even relatively small weight loss could result in substantial savings, concludes the study.
Source: Eric A. Finkelstein et al. Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecasts through 2030. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2012