Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obesity Rate Projected to Increase to 43 Percent

Obesity Rate Projected to Increase to 43 Percent

WASHINGTON, DC -- If trends continue, 43 percent of U.S. adults could be classified as obese by 2018, according to a new study. Currently, 31 percent of the adult population is considered obese.

The report, “The Future Cost of Obesity: National and State Estimates of the Impact of Obesity on Direct Health Care Expenses,” also estimates that obesity spending will quadruple to $344 billion by 2018.

The study, based on research by Emory University health care economist Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., was commissioned by UnitedHealth Foundation, Partnership for Prevention and American Public Health Association in conjunction with their annual “America’s Health Rankings” report.

The report also showed, however, that if obesity rates remain at current levels, the United States would save nearly $200 billion in health care costs.

“At a time when Congress is looking for savings in health care, this data confirms what we already knew: obesity is where the money is,” Thorpe, who also is executive director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), said in a statement about the report. “Because obesity is related to the onset of so many other illnesses, stopping the growth of obesity in the U.S. is vital not only to our health -- but also to the solvency of our health care system.”