Business of Healthcare: Rising Obesity Rates

Feb 7, 2020

It’s hard to discuss the future of health and healthcare in America without talking about obesity.

Obesity-related illnesses alone are estimated to cost the US healthcare system more than 190 billion dollars each year. From heart disease to diabetes to some types of cancer to joint problems, the extra pounds we carry are taking their toll on our bodies and our healthcare system.

And the future isn’t looking any lighter according to a major study recently published in the New England

Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health analyzed risk factor data from the Centers for Disease Control and found that obesity rates have been rapidly rising. According to their projections, by 2030, half of adults in America will be defined as having a body mass index over 30.

To illustrate just how rapidly obesity rates have been rising, the researchers found that in the year 2000, no state had an obesity rate higher than 35 percent. By 2010, 27 states had an obesity rate of at least 35 percent, and by 2019, all but two states did. And unfortunately, Texas is in the majority. In fact, Texas is among the states researchers anticipate having an obesity rate of 50 percent by 2030. 

Given that obesity plays such a major contributing role in so many diseases and health conditions, finding a way to tackle this epidemic is paramount – not only for individuals and families, but for all of healthcare. If we want to shrink the cost of healthcare, there’s perhaps no better way to start than by shrinking our waist lines.