Severe obesity, the state of being disastrously overweight, was a rare condition before the 1970s. Today, more than a third of us are obese. As a result, we spend almost $150 billion per year on healthcare costs linked to obesity.
And the problem is growing as fast as America’s waistline.
A study discussed Monday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Weight of the Nation Conference in Washington, D.C., indicates that by 2030, 42 percent of the U.S. population will be obese. This analysis forecasts a 130 percent increase in severe obesity over the next 20 years.
“Should these forecasts prove accurate, the adverse health and cost consequences of obesity are likely to continue to escalate without a significant intervention,” concludes senior author Justin Trogdon, Ph.D.
Trogdon’s study suggests that the healthcare system will have to bear the weight of 32 million more obese people. The extra medical costs are expected to climb exponentially if we can’t control our weight.
“Keeping obesity rates level could yield a savings of nearly $550 billion in medical expenditures over the next two decades,” says lead author Eric Finkelstein, Ph.D., associate research professor at the Duke Global Health Institute and deputy director in the Health Services Research Program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.