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65 million more obese adults in the US and 11 million more in the UK expected by 2030
Date:8/26/2011

August 26, 2011 -- The rising prevalence of obesity around the globe places an increasing burden on the health of populations, on healthcare systems and on overall economies. A major challenge for researchers is to quantify the effect of these burdens to inform public policies. Using a simulation model to project the probable health and economic consequences from rising obesity rates in the United States and the United Kingdom, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Oxford University forecast 65 million more obese adults in the U. S. and 11 million more in the U.K. by 2030, leading to millions of additional cases of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The findings suggest that medical costs associated with treatment of these preventable diseases in the U.S. alone will increase by $48-66 billion per year.

The paper, "Health and Economic Burden of the Projected Obesity Trends in the USA and the UK," is part of a series of articles on obesity published in the August 27 issue of Lancet. The research was led by Y. Claire Wang, MD, ScD, Mailman School assistant professor of Health Policy and Management, with colleagues from Oxford University.

To construct historic trends in BMI the researchers analyzed data from two nationally representative surveys: the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988 to 2008, and the Healthy Survey for England (HSE) from 1993 to 2008. The U.S. and U.K. have the highest obesity rates among the countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Projecting from these data sets: the researchers predicted the following impacts for the U.S. by 2030:

  • Obesity prevalence among men would rise from 32% in 2008 to approximately 50% and from 35% to between 45% and 52% among women.
  • 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes
  • 6.8 million more cases of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • 539,000 a
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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