Posted on Sep 20, 2011, 6 a.m.
If the current "obesity epidemic" continues unchecked, 50% of the US adult population will be obese -- with body mass index values of 30 or higher -- by 2030.
Using modeling based upon current obesity trends in the United States and United Kingdom, Y. Claire Wang, from Columbia University (New York, USA), and colleagues project that 50% of the U.S. adult population will be obese -- with body mass index values of 30 or higher -- by 2030. Further, the team warns that up to 8.5 million additional cases of diabetes, 7.3 million more cases of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and 0.5 million more cancers will occur by 2030. Drawing on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) series from 1988 to 2008, the team also forebodes of a substantial economic burden associated with these increased disease statistics: medical expenditures alone will be higher by $48 to $66 billion annually by 2030, without taking into account lost productivity and other indirect costs associated with a generally sicker population. Reduced productivity would add another $390 to $580 billion to the annual tab, estimate the study authors. Observing that: “The combined medical costs associated with treatment of these preventable diseases are estimated to increase by $48 to 66 billion/year in the USA and by £1•9 to 2 billion/year in the United Kingdom by 2030,” the researchers urgently call for “effective policies to promote healthier weight [to result in] economic benefits.”
Y Claire Wang, Klim McPherson, Tim Marsh, Steven L Gortmaker, Martin Brown. “Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK.” The Lancet, Aug. 27, 2011, Vol. 378 No. 9793 pp 815-825.