by Cassandra R. Elias
In the News: Report Shows By 2030, Half of US Will Be Obese
We've been hearing that Americans are getting fatter for many years. Now there's shocking and definitive proof that obesity is becoming an epidemic.
A new report released May 7, 2012 estimates that 42 percent of the United States population will be obese by the year 2030, despite the fact that obesity rates have actually steadied.
The results suggest that an additional 30 million Americans will be obese in 18 years. What's the cost? According to the report, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a whopping additional $549.5 billion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 35 percent of adults are currently obese. Lead author of the report, Eric Finkelstein states, "If you could keep the obesity rates at today's level, you would save $550 billion."
The obesity projections were released at the CDC's "Weight of the Nation Conference" which focuses on preventing the growing obesity issue. A four-part HBO documentary with the same title begins airing next week.
The report's authors estimate that by 2030, 11 percent of the population will be severely obese. Severe obesity is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 40 percent or being about 100 pounds overweight.
According to Finkelstein, "Those individuals have much greater risk of early mortality, diabetes, heart disease. They're much, much more expensive and they're on the rise, partly because 50 years ago, it was really, really hard to weigh that much. You'd have to eat all the time. However, the abundance of cheap and easy convenience foods has changed that."
The authors used factors such as gender, age, race, employment data and ethnicity to calculate future obesity. They also looked at the cost of healthy food, grocery prices, the number of fast food restaurants and household income.
Although children were not included in the report, according to Finkelstein, "The reality is obese kids almost certainly become obese adults. Our estimates may be conservative."
He went on to say, "We're almost surely wrong in our forecast. That's the thing about forecasts – they are guesses. This is our best guess. The world changes, if new drugs or technology comes out, if the government comes out and makes major changes, lots could happen. If in fact we’re wrong and obesity rates are less, I'd be happy."
What do you think about this report? Does it make you want to change your family's eating habits or do you already eat a healthy diet? Let us know in the comments.
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine (May 7, 2012) Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecasts through 2030. Accessed May 8, 2012.