Bad news in the battle of the bulge.
According to new research published in the medical journal Lancet, half of all Americans will be obese by 2030 if current trends continue. Currently, 32 percent of men and 35 percent of women in America are obese, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 or more.
The estimation not only spells disaster for the health of many Americans, but also for our beleaguered medical system. If the predictions bare out, a rise in the obesity rate would also trigger 7.8 million cases of diabetes, 6.8 million cases of stroke and heart disease, 539,000 cases of cancer, and tack on $66 billion a year to health care costs.
Americans aren’t the only ones getting fatter. Our friends across the pond are also packing on the pounds in staggering numbers. If trends continue, 41 to 48 percent of men in the UK and 35 to 43 percent of women will be obese by 2030. Currently, 26 percent of the UK’s population is obese.
The numbers are alarming doctors, who say just a one percent decrease in BMI can make a huge difference.
Although doctors recognize that people need to take control of their health by incorporating exercise and healthier eating habits, researchers also say that the communities, the government, and health professionals need to work together.
Claire Wang, assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s and the author of one of the Lancet papers, told ABC News:
“We hope we can work together to change the trend. We need to change the environment so that we’re able to make easy decisions that happen to be the best decisions; the healthiest decisions.”
She continued: “It’s not only a problem of well-being, it’s a financial burden,” said Wang. “It’s both a public health issue and a health services issue for the states.”