Most People in Most States Will be Obese

most_overweightMore than half of the population of almost 40 states will be obese in year the 2030 if obesity rates continue to follow recent trends, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) – a measure using height and weight–above 30 kg/m2. Mississippi is expected to continue to have the highest obesity rate in the country in 2030, at 66.7 percent. The report projects that Colorado will continue to have the lowest obesity rate at 44.8 percent.  Six of every 10 adults will be obese in 13 states, and all 50 states will have rates topping 44 percent, found the report. Currently, it is estimated that about 36 percent of American adults are obese.

Along with these increases in obesity, the rates of several diseases are expected to increase, as well. The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, arthritis and stroke could potentially increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020 and even more by 2030. These increases in diseases translate to an additional $48 billion annually in related healthcare costs.  The loss in economic productivity could top $500 billion. The researchers found that only 24 states would have obesity rates of 50 percent in 2030, if states can reduce the average adult BMI by just 5 percent.  This reduction could save millions of people from developing obesity-related health conditions and billions of dollars in health care costs and economic productivity.  The report calls for increased efforts in obesity prevention, including support of new school meal standards, prioritizing physical education in schools, supporting healthy nutrition in federal food programs, and encouraging preventive care efforts.

Dr. Michael Thomas, expert weight loss surgeon in Louisiana, spoke with us about the report’s findings and the importance of obesity prevention. He said, “As weight loss surgeons, we spend a great deal of effort and attention to our obese patients whereby, through operations and peri-operative life style changes, improvement in obesity, overall health and quality of life are obtained. However, no one could deny that prevention of obesity is by far more important in regard to the health and well-being of our national population–especially when the costs of weight-related illness and debility are considered.”

An earlier report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projected that the overall obesity rate in the United States is expected to reach 42 percent by the year 2030. You can read about the weight trends captured in the projection here.

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