Will all Americans become overweight or obese? Estimating the progression and cost of the US obesity epidemic

Youfa Wang, May A. Beydoun, Lan Liang, Benjamin Caballero, Shiriki K. Kumanyika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We projected future prevalence and BMI distribution based on national survey data (National Health and Nutrition Examination Study) collected between 1970s and 2004. Future obesity-related health-care costs for adults were estimated using projected prevalence, Census population projections, and published national estimates of per capita excess health-care costs of obesity/overweight. The objective was to illustrate potential burden of obesity prevalence and health-care costs of obesity and overweight in the United States that would occur if current trends continue. Overweight and obesity prevalence have increased steadily among all US population groups, but with notable differences between groups in annual increase rates. The increase (percentage points) in obesity and overweight in adults was faster than in children (0.77 vs. 0.46-0.49), and in women than in men (0.91 vs. 0.65). If these trends continue, by 2030, 86.3% adults will be overweight or obese; and 51.1%, obese. Black women (96.9%) and Mexican-American men (91.1%) would be the most affected. By 2048, all American adults would become overweight or obese, while black women will reach that state by 2034. In children, the prevalence of overweight (BMI ≥95th percentile, 30%) will nearly double by 2030. Total health-care costs attributable to obesity/overweight would double every decade to 860.7-956.9 billion US dollars by 2030, accounting for 16-18% of total US health-care costs. We continue to move away from the Healthy People 2010 objectives. Timely, dramatic, and effective development and implementation of corrective programs/policies are needed to avoid the otherwise inevitable health and societal consequences implied by our projections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2323-2330
Number of pages8
JournalObesity
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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