And to counter all those that say, "well eating healthy is expensive" or "I can't afford a swim pass or gym membership." PAY NOW OR PAY LATER!
The overall, tangible, annual costs of being obese are $4,879 for an obese woman and $2,646 for
an obese man. The overall annual costs of being overweight are $524 and $432 for women and
men, respectively. For both genders, the incremental costs of obesity are much higher than the
incremental costs of being overweight.
Adding the value of lost life to these annual costs produces even more dramatic results. Average
annualized costs, including value of lost life, are $8,365 for obese women and $6,518 for obese
men. This report has been prepared as part of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Health Policy.
Now for the article:
If the current "obesity epidemic" continues unchecked, 50% of the U.S. adult
population will be obese -- with body mass index values of 30 or higher --
by 2030, researchers said.
Drawing on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
(NHANES) series from 1988 to 2008, Y. Claire Wang, MD, of Columbia
University's Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues projected that,
compared with 2010, there will be "as many as 65 million more obese adults"
in the U.S. by that year.
Obesity prevalence in both men and women in their 40s and 50s would approach
60%, the researchers indicated in the Aug. 27 issue of *The Lancet*, part of
a series of papers on the growing worldwide burden of obesity.
Wang and colleagues also projected that, as a result of the burgeoning obese
population, the U.S. will see the following health impacts:
- 6 to 8.5 million more people with diabetes
- 5.7 to 7.3 million more cases of heart disease and stroke
- 490,000 to 670,000 additional cancers
- 26 to 55 million quality-adjusted life-years lost
The economic burden of these increasing morbidities will be substantial, the
researchers indicated -- medical expenditures alone will be higher by $48 to
$66 billion annually by 2030, without taking into account lost productivity
and other indirect costs associated with a generally sicker population.
Reduced productivity would add another $390 to $580 billion to the annual
tab, the researchers said, based on a 2009 study linking obesity to lost
is Great Britain. Wang and colleagues analyzed NHANES-like health data
collected in England from 1993 to 2008, finding slightly lower prevalences
of obesity relative to the U.S., but similar rates of increase.
If the current trends in England continue, they would project to obesity
prevalences in 2030 of about 40% in men and 35% in women.
Both NHANES and the Health Survey for England (HSE) involve interviews and
physical exams in more than 10,000 people per iteration. The HSE is repeated
annually, while NHANES is conducted over two-year periods. In both programs,
the individual participants change from one survey to the next, but they are
selected to be sociodemographically representative of the national
Wang and colleagues used epidemiological and outcomes data in the literature
to estimate the disease burdens that would result from the growing
prevalence of obesity.
They also calculated what would happen if everyone's BMI was 1% lower --
approximately 1 kg (2 lb) in an average adult.
"This change might sound small, but such a scenario would have a substantial
effect on consequent health burdens," the researchers wrote.
In the U.S. more than 2 million cases of diabetes, roughly 1.5 million
cardiovascular disease diagnoses, and about 100,000 cancers would be
avoided, their models showed.
Wang and colleagues acknowledged that their calculations were "mere
extrapolations from available data" and that current trends may very well
"Past trends do not always predict the future," they wrote. YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE!
An important finding was the rising burden of obesity among people 60 and
older, the researchers emphasized. Of the 65 million additional obese people
projected in the U.S. in 2030, 24 million would be in this age range.
This population -- already the sickest and most expensive in terms of
medical costs -- is the fastest-growing in the U.S. and Britain. Therefore,
the overall disease burden and economic effects of obesity may be magnified.
In addition to their caveat about extrapolating trends into the future, Wang
and colleagues cited other limitations to the study: methodological issues
related to the NHANES and HSE surveys; uncertainties in the relationships
between obesity, other diseases, and economic impacts; and the study's
20-year timeframe, which may underestimate future impacts of pediatric
The study was supported by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity
Research, which coordinates childhood obesity research across the National
Institutes of Health, the CDC, the Department of Agriculture, and the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation.
Study authors declared they had no relevant financial interests.
*Primary source: *The Lancet
Wang Y, et al "Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in
the USA and the UK" *Lancet* 2011;
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