Trust For America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)have collaborated with the National Heart Forum to conduct a study, the results of which were announced today. "F For Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012" discusses trends in obesity in the United States over the coming years.
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Specifically, the study examines how the number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs will increase dramatically in this country over the next 20 years.
The study includes an analysis forecasting obesity rates in each state by 2030. It also shows that states could prevent obesity-related diseases and reduce health care costs if each state reduced its residents' Body Mass Index (BMI) by just 5 percent over the next two decades.
"This study shows us two futures for America's health," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO for RWJF said in a statement. "At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce health care costs. Nothing less is acceptable."
According to the study, by 2030 13 states could have obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have obesity rates above 50 percent and all 50 states could have obesity rates above 44 percent.
As a result, if this obesity rate continues the number of new cases of Type 2 Diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2010 and double again by 2030.
Currently it is estimated that the medical cost of obesity in the United States ranges from $150 billion to $200 billion. The study says that by 2030 the medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year.
"We know a lot more about how to prevent obesity [now] than we did ten years ago," Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH said in a statement. "This report outlines how policies like increasing physical activity time in school and making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable can help make healthier choices easier. Small changes can add up to a big difference."
The report makes a number of recommendations in terms of obesity prevention. Among them: implement new healthy school meal standards, increase investments in effective and evidence-based obesity prevention programs, make physical education and physical activity a priority in schools, support healthy nutrition in federal food programs and encourage the use of preventative health care services & provide support beyond just the doctor's office.