The results of a new study by public health researchers at Columbia University and Oxford University forecasts that by 2030, there will be an additional 65 million obese adults living in the U. S., and 11 million more in the U.K. That would bring the U.S. obese population up from 99 million to 164 million, roughly half the population.
The findings suggest that as a result, medical costs associated with the treatment of preventable diseases (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer) will increase somewhere between $48 billion and $66 billion per year, in the U.S. alone
The study, published in the Aug. 27 issue of The Lancet, was led by Y. Claire Wang of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. From Slash Food comes this map of obesity rates by state. Currently, roughly one-third of Americans are obese. Any guesses as to what this map will look like in 2030?
Ans here are some of the study’s depressing highlights:
In the U.S.:
- Obesity prevalence among men would rise from 32% in 2008 to approximately 50% and from 35% to between 45% and 52% among women
- 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes
- 6.8 million more cases of coronary heart disease and stroke
- 539,000 additional cases of cancer
- Annual spending on obesity-related diseases would rise by 13-16%, leading to 2.6% increase in national health spending
In the U.K.:
- Prevalence of obesity among men would increase from 26% to between 41 — 48%, and among women from 26% to 35-43%.
- 668,000 more cases of diabetes
- 461,000 more cases of heart disease and stroke
- 139,000 additional cases of cancer
- In the U.K., annual spending on obesity-related health would increase even more rapidly than in the U.S. due to its older population, rising 25%.
Now, maybe I’m being naive, but I refuse to believe that within 20 years, half the U.S. population will be obese. Here’s to hoping this is one prediction that doesn’t come true.