65M more obese adults in US by 2030: study

There will be 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, say researchers at Columbia University and Oxford University.

Their prediction appears in the report, Health and Economic Burden of the Projected Obesity Trends in the USA and the UK, that was published in an issue of Lancet that came out Saturday.

The researchers used data from two surveys — the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 2008, and the Healthy Survey for England from 1993 to 2008 — to come up with the worrying figures.

The study forecasts that there will be 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes and 6.8 million more cases of coronary heart disease and stroke in the US, and 668,000 more cases of diabetes and 461,000 more cases of heart disease and stroke in England.

“Many chronic and acute health disorders associated with excess bodyweight burden society—not only by negatively affecting the health-related quality of life but also by incurring significant costs,” Dr. Y. Claire Wang, who led the research, said in a statement. “These stem not only from increased healthcare expenditures but also from worker absenteeism, disability pensions, less productivity at work due to poor health, and earlier retirement.”

The study shows that even a small drop in average body mass index (BMI) would have a major health and economic impacts.

“Taking no action would have the catastrophic consequences described in our study, but a population level decrease in BMI by 1% would avoid as many as 2.4 million cases of diabetes, 1.7 million cases of heart disease and stroke, and up to 127 000 cases of cancer in the U.S. alone,” the report said.