Home > Obesity in America > In 9 Years, 43 Percent of Americans Will Be Obese, Study Finds! =O

In 9 Years, 43 Percent of Americans Will Be Obese, Study Finds! =O

Obese person

America, we have a weight problem.

According to a new 20-year study released by the United Health Foundation, obesity is poised to become the No. 1 health problem over the next few years. If current trends are not curbed, the study says, more than 43 percent of U.S. citizens will be classified as “obese” by the year 2018.

“Right now, tobacco is the No. 1 risk factor for death and disease in America,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, a board member at the United Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving health care. “But over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a 129 percent increase in obesity rates. It’s scary.”

As Congress debates health care reform, large increases in nationwide obesity statistics are especially unwelcome, Tuckson said. That’s because while Americans spent more than $75 billion treating obesity-related illnesses in 2003, by the year 2018, the U.S. will spend a projected $343 billion.

“Whether or not we enact health care reform,” Tuckson said, “every taxpayer in this country will be deeply involved in financing the costs associated with obesity unless we start getting control of it.”

Analyzing data from a variety of sources, the study concluded that the average American male has gained 17.1 pounds since 1998, while the average female has put on 15.4 pounds.

“Obesity is the fastest-growing public health issue that our country has ever faced,” said Kenneth Thorpe, a professor of health policy and management at Emory University. He looked specifically at obesity rates for the United Health Foundation study.

“In terms of controlling health care costs, a key driver is obesity,” Thorpe said. “If we can’t find a way to bring these rates down, we’re talking about 103 million obese Americans just a few years from now. We clearly need to explore methods of intervention.”

He points to weight-loss and diabetes-prevention programs such as those offered through the YMCA that have, within a two-year period, been shown to reduce diabetes in as much as 58 percent of participants.

“We’ve got to do a better job at curbing obesity, or we’re going to be in real trouble,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe crunched past and current health care data and, using projections, was able to predict obesity rates on a state-by-state basis. According to his findings, in the year 2018, Oklahoma will lead the nation with an obesity rate of 56.1 percent. Colorado, meanwhile, will have an obesity rate of 29.8 percent.

“If we can even manage to hold obesity to current levels, we’ll see huge savings,” Thorpe said.

But both Thorpe and Tuckson agree that doing so is unlikely without a major effort on the part of government, business, community leaders and individual citizens alike.

Tuckson is still hopeful that there’s a cure for the obesity epidemic. At the same time, he knows it’s going to take no small amount of effort.

“Everybody, and I mean everybody, is going to have to get much more energized in finding a solution to this. If not, we’re doomed.”

Seeing as I used to be considered OBESE this article and several others I have read that state the same really gets to me and makes me very concerned for our future!  I hope that America “wakes up” soon to just how serious these results are and start educating our country on the importance of a healthy diet & exercise!!! 

Categories: Obesity in America
  1. November 18, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Why? Because cheap food is bad food. The kind of food that is directly related to the rising obesity rate. With Americans losing their jobs on a daily basis, people still need to eat. So they hit up the dollar menu at their favorite fast food joint, or whatever is on sale at the store – most of it is junk food.
    It’s true that the obesity rate is directly related to low income households. Lack of education on health, money being tight… it’s a sad truth.

  2. Lu
    November 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    If we could all just focus on eating healthier and moving our bodies we would be so much better off. I just wish that we could see what restaurants are doing to our waistlines. I agree with Tasha too. Cheap food is bad food for the most part.

    • November 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you for your comments on this article posting!!!

      I agree about Cheap Food as that is what I thought too when I was over weight, however once I started buying healthy foods (fruits, veggies, lean meats, dairy, whole wheats, etc.) and stayed away from Fast Food, Eating Out & Processed Foods more often I actually started to spend LESS a month on food!

      I was a single mother for years so I had a very tight budget and even after I got married my budget still was tight as my husband has been unemployeed for off and on over the past few years. So in light of my VERY TIGHT budget, I only spend around $100 a week on groceries (just food, drinks, etc…..no household stuff in that amount), in which 75% of what I buy is fresh foods (fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, breads) and the rest is processed foods (cereals, oatmeal, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, chocoloate & chips for the hubby, popcorn, etc.)……..so I know 1st hand that it can be done and I have told people this often.

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