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The rising rate of Obesity

In February 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention presented data on obesity rates in the United States. The results showed a startling 42.4% of adults are obese. In additional 31.8% were overweight, according to a prior study. The situation is projected to worsen. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that by 2030 the percentage of obese American adults will rise to 48.9%. The increase in medical costs due to obesity are around $3,429 per obese person per year. This total over $466 billion annually.

Unless the rise in obesity rates is prevented, the financial burden for obesity-related medical costs will skyrocket in the next decade. Women, African Americans, and those with a low socioeconomic status are affected at a significantly higher rate. Excess body weight increases the risk of developing and dying from a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's, and at least 13 different types of cancer.

Obesity has been determined to be the underlying cause of approximately 20% of deaths in the United States. A collaborative analysis (900,000 individuals from 57 studies) published in 2009 found that every 5-point increment in BMI (a weight-to-height ratio) was associated with a 30% increased mortality risk.

We are in the middle of a surging obesity epidemic. Much as public warnings against tobacco use, which debuted in 1964, have had to be repeated over and over to induce meaningful reductions in cigarette smoking. The public needs continual reminders about the danger posed but obesity and what can be done to reduce excess body weight.

Credit: Chancellor Faloon

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