Report Shows American Obesity Increasing

Sep 19, 2012

The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, are on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.

The combined annual report forecasts adult obesity rates in each state by 2030 and the likely resulting rise in obesity-related disease rates and health care costs and the findings are sobering, if not all out frightening. Kentucky is among 39 states projected to have more than half of its adult population considered obese. Mississippi, the nation's fattest state, is predicted to have 67 per cent of its adults obese by 2030, a sizable increase from the current 35 per cent.

 According to the report, "if states’ obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 202 -- and double again by 2030. Medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases could increase by up to $66 billion per year by 2030, and the loss in economic productivity could be as high as $580 billion annually.
"The report also shows that states could prevent obesity-related diseases and dramatically reduce health care costs if they reduced the average body mass index (BMI) of their residents by just 5 percent by 2030. In that scenario, millions of Americans would be spared serious health problems, and the country could save billions of dollars in health spending." See the interactive map showing how much improvement could be made if that small change were made here.

The report also features a series of joint policy recommendations from TFAH and RWJF, including full implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, protection of the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, and inclusion of additional physical education and activity components in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

To download the full report, go here.