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42% of Americans Obese by 2030 Says Doc Oc

According to the National Institute of Health, being overweight and obese is the second leading cause of preventable death in the US.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of US predicts that in the next 18 years the number of obese people in the US is expected to rise to 42 per cent of the adult population.

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That means about 32 million more Americans will become obese by 2030 compared to current levels the proportion of Americans who are severely obese, meaning more than 100 pounds overweight, will reach 11 percent, about double the current rate.

The report's authors give a sobering price tag for these predictions,  such an increase would create $550 billion of obesity-related health care costs. It costs hundreds of billions of dollars each year and leads to deadly chronic diseases. But who is to blame for the US' obesity epidemic?

The report was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and was released at the CDC's Weight of the Nation conference, a gathering focused on the impact of the obesity epidemic.

The authors analyzed data collected from each state and made projections based on a number of factors influencing obesity rates, including the cost of healthy and unhealthy foods, gas prices and Internet access. "Predicting obesity is tricky and no one variable showed up as causing obesity,  said one of the author.

One of the authors of the report, said the prospect of such increasing rates, particularly those of severely obese Americans, is alarming since efforts aimed at helping people lose weight have so far proven relatively ineffective. "Their weight continues to increase. Over the last 10 years, it has gone up tremendously," he said in a press conference. "This is a group at great risk of health complications, and yet they are increasing at an even greater rate than the rate of obesity."

Barbara Moore, the president of Shape UP America! at national campaign to raise awareness about obesity as a health issue said "Obesity is caused by a perfect storm of a multiplicity of factors and not one factor is going to be entirely responsible for this problem … personal choice and responsibility does play a part but a part of many other factors."

Although recent data suggest that rates of obesity have reached a plateau, current rates of obesity are still alarmingly high. About 34 percent of adults are currently obese, creating a whole host of expensive, chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The report's authors said a number of factors could lead to the predicted rise in obesity. About two-thirds of Americans are currently overweight and could continue to gain weight and move into the obese category.


  • About 35.7 per cent of the adult American population suffers from obesity now.
  • Over 42 per cent of adult Americans will be obese in 2030
  • Percentage of severely obese to double between 2010 and 2030, growing from five per cent to 11 per cent by 2030
  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest obesity rates at 44.1 per cent
  • Treating additional obese people to cost $550bn over 20 years
  • Medical-related costs of obesity estimated at $150 bn a year
  • Obesity costs account for about nine per cent of annual medical costs
  • At least 30 per cent of the populace is obese in most US southern states - Mississippi has the highest rate at 34 per cent
  • The western US has the lowest obesity rates, with Colorado at 21 per cent
Institute of Medicine (IoM) released a report that rejects the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower and personal responsibility of the people of America. US has an 'obesity-promoting environment', an 'average person' cannot maintain a healthy weight. 

IoM Suggested some dramatic measures and changes, Recommends schools be the focus for anti-obesity efforts, It wants schools to ensure quality physical activity and awareness of nutritional standards among children,  about 50 percent of severe obesity in adults is consequence of obesity in childhood.

Currently about 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Anti-obesity measures such as better urban design, access to recreational facilities, workplace health promotion and new drugs could help reign in the problem.

Doctors asked to play a more aggressive role. And employers have been urged to promote healthy eating and offer obesity-related health coverage.

IoM blamed Us farm policy, Lawmakers and food industry for obesity epidemic. 

  • The industry is worth about $1.5 trillion annually
  • About $175m has been spent on lobbying since 2009, including an effort to defeat proposed sugary-drinks tax that was led by Coca-Cola and Pepsi
  • Lobbyists spent more than $40m to defeat the sugary-drink tax - they defeated the soda tax initiatives in 23 US states
  • The industry spent close to $1m fighting school menu changes
  • In US schools, tomato sauce on pizza is counted as a vegetable
  • In 2011 McDonald's Corp spent over $1.5m on lobbying efforts, Nestle spent close to $4m
The IoM panel also suggested to tax sugar-sweetened beverages, as their link to obesity is stronger than that of any other food or beverage.

So who is to blame for the problem? Do the IoM's recommendations go far enough? And is it time to re-examine the framework when dealing with the issue of obesity?

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