A new study shows that roughly 42 percent of all Americans are expected to be obese by 2030 if the nation’s obesity rate continues to rise at the same rate. But if the rate stays where it is instead of increasing by 33 percent, the U.S. would save $550 billion in health care costs over the next 20 years. Even a 1 percent decrease in the obesity rate would save $85 billion, according to the analysis released today at the Weight of the Nation conference. The Centers for Disesase Control and Prevention sponsored the conference and helped with the research that highlights the financial consequences of the obesity epidemic, according to NPR:
That rapidly growing group of severely obese people, who have the most medical problems and incur the highest health care costs, will rise from about 5 percent of the population now to 11 percent by 2030, researchers suggest.
The findings are meant to be a call to action, as experts gathered at the CDC conference consider how best to to combat obesity, a public health problem that affects about 78 million adults and 12.5 million children and adolescents.
Obesity already accounts for 21 percent of health care spending, and experts warn that the next generation may have a shorter life span because of how many Americans are considered obese. But this research proves that a small dent in the rising obesity rate could impact rising health care costs. Now if only House Republicans would stop trying to cut prevention initiatives to help improve people’s health.