29 July 2008
9 Out Of 10 Americans Obese Or Overweight By 2030
by Kate Melville
Most adults in the United States will be overweight or obese by 2030, with related health care costs hitting nearly a trillion dollars, say researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
"National survey data show that the prevalence of overweight and obese adults in the U.S. has increased steadily over the past three decades," Bloomberg's Youfa Wang writes in the journal Obesity. "If these trends continue, more than 86 percent of adults will be overweight or obese by 2030 with approximately 96 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 91 percent of Mexican-American men affected. This would result in 1 of every 6 health care dollars spent in total direct health care costs paying for overweight and obesity-related costs."
The projections are based on data collected over the past three decades from nationally representative surveys. "The health care costs attributable to obesity and overweight are expected to more than double every decade. This would account for 15 to 17 percent of total health care costs spent," Wang explained. "Due to the assumptions we made and the limitations of the available data, these figures are likely an underestimation of the true financial impact."
The researchers say that the dramatic and effective implementation of corrective programs and policies are needed to avoid the otherwise inevitable health and societal consequences implied by their projections. If current trends continue, the researchers say that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will not meet its Healthy People 2010 initiative to increase the proportion of adults who are at a healthy weight and to reduce the proportion of adults who are obese.
Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health