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Obese and severely obese could raise costs in the future, study says

Monday, May 7, 2012 1:57 PM
Last updated 11:13 PM
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Even a modest increase in obesity rates could cost the U.S. about $550 billion over the next 18 years, researchers said in a study published Monday.

Much of that could be explained by the severely obese, those 80 pounds or more overweight, whose numbers are expected to more than double and who face much more severe threats to their health.

In the American Journal of Preventive Medicine study, researchers predict that the rate of adult obesity will climb from the current 34 percent to 42 percent by 2030, or to an additional 32 million people.

After skyrocketing rates in the 1980s and ’90s, that rate of increase might have slowed or appears to be plateauing, said lead author Dr. Eric Finkelstein, an associate research professor in the Duke Global Health Institute.

“Clearly, the rise is increasing at a decreasing rate,” he said, except among the severely obese (defined as those with a body mass index of 40 or greater), who are expected to more than double from 5 percent now to 11 percent in 2030.

That group has a significantly higher risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, Finkelstein said.

“They’re also much more expensive,” he said.

The researchers used a model that looked at several variables that influence obesity, such as Internet access, the price of healthful vs. unhealthful foods and the number of fast-food and other restaurants per 10,000 people, all of which can increase obesity, Finkelstein said.

The rates are expected to be worse among blacks and Hispanics. Among the severely obese, society has changed in such a way that it allows them to sustain and increase severe weight gain, Finkelstein said.

The study looked only at adults, but the childhood obesity crisis could be a factor in the future, said Dr. William Dietz, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, which also took part in the study.

Among the severely obese in one population study, about 50 percent were obese as children or adolescents, he said.

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KSL 05/07/12 - 09:36 pm
When I was growing up, the

When I was growing up, the number of obese children was so very low. And the number of obese adults was fairly low as well. But then, the number of children supported by the government was almost non-existent. (Starvation wasn't an issue with the children. Family or concerned neighbors took care of them).

People need to take control over what they consume and what they allow their children to consume and be held responsible if they choose not to. It's not government's place. People should be held responsible for their actions.

copperhead 05/08/12 - 04:42 am
The government MUST pass a

The government MUST pass a law banning obesity! they must tell us what and when to eat-it is for our own good! the government knows what is best for us and should pass more laws and regulations to protect us from ourselves! help us,lord hussein, we cannot live without your guidance!

DMPerryJr 05/08/12 - 10:09 am
My gastric bypass cost $52k.

My gastric bypass cost $52k. And you know what? My co-pays for the new drugs now cost me more than the food I used to have to buy! I'm skinny and so is my wallet, but man, I sure look and feel good!
Enjoy your McNuggets folks, because pretty soon, it's back to beans and taters and some potted meat for dinner. The gov and the insurance companies aren't gonna stop until they get fat on everyone else's money.

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