Half of the US Population will be obese by 2030

November 12, 2012

Half of the US Population will be obese by 2030

To highlight the special obesity edition of the Lancet which was published online, a briefing was held in London with eminent researchers and medical professionals. At this briefing the following facts were released.

Roughly 33% of American adults are obese, if present trends continue that figure will rise to 50% by 2030, that’s about 164 million adults. These figures are given by Claire Wang, PhD, a researcher from Columbia University. With these figures comes a warning of all of the increased health costs because it is already known that obesity increases the risk of diseases like some types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. “Our projections find that rising obesity is going to result in increases in many of these chronic diseases which are disabling and expensive to treat,” Wang said. “We have to act fast”.

Obesity – What will it mean?

If the trend continues unabated then it is calculated that by 2030 the United States healthcare system will have to treat $66 billion worth of extra obesity related conditions.

This information was found by researchers from the University of Oxford and Columbia University employing mathematical models to project the next two decades if there is no change in eating and lifestyle habits.

The numbers are very stark. They work out as; 164 million Americans will be obese by 2030. The additional conditions caused by this situation will include an extra 500,000 cases of cancer, an extra 8 million cases of diabetes and it’s estimated that there will be 6.8 million additional cases of heart disease and stroke.

Changing your Lifestyle

Although the figures make grim reading they do not have to happen. The experts highlight that modest positive changes in lifestyle can have benefits. They say that a 1% reduction in body mass index (BMI) from the population as a whole would stop 2.4 million cases of diabetes from developing, a further 1.7 million cases of heart disease and stroke would not occur either.

The situation is identified in a report from the Harvard School of Public Health. They explain that the problem has not been addressed for decades even though it has been identified for just as long. National governments must take the lead in the same manner that they did with cigarette and tobacco controls. The report further states that the private sector must make a co-ordinated effort to address the problem but does accept that governments must lead.

Strong measures must be taken, such as a tax on high sugar content foods and drinks and any other generally unhealthy foods. The taxation system helped many smokers give up. The cost was just too prohibitive and it gave them the incentive to quit. There is some doubt about whether this mentality would come across when considering food. It is commonly thought that most Americans would oppose such an action. But until a government takes decisive action the trends will continue in their present form meaning that obesity rates will continue to climb as will all the incidences of diseases associated with obesity.

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