In a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the future of America’s health was found to be more grim than we may have thought. By 2030, more than half the people in the majority of states will be obese.
The report, released Tuesday, showed that Mississippi will remain the fattest state in the nation for a minimum of two more decades, and that a staggering 67 percent of people there will be obese by 2030. This would clearly be a considerable increase as Mississippi’s current obesity rate is closer to 35 percent.
A prediction from federal health officials earlier this year estimated that 42 percent of Americans would be obese by 2030. However, this new report paints an even more frightful picture estimating that all states will have obesity rates above 44 percent by that time. Specifically, 13 states would have rates above 60 percent, 39 states would have rates above 50 percent, and every state would have rates above 44 percent. These estimates even hit home in Colorado – which has long been known as the slimmest state – where the state will see obesity rates around 45 percent.
Though obesity rates haven’t seen drastic inclines as of late, holding steady around 35 percent, these predictions are estimating a very noticeable spike by 2030.
The report from Trust for America’s Health was in-part based on figures gathered from a state-by-state survey issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1999 and 2019. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the surveys were conducted by phone to collect self-estimated reports of height and weight in each household.
The Trust for America also integrated other national data that had previously gathered residents’ weight, and tried to make adjustments based on how far off people may estimate the figures. In addition, they coupled these figures with recent trends in obesity rates and several other factors to get their results.
In response to the new numbers, the New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, told AP medical writer Mike Stobbe, “If we don’t do anything, I think that’s fair prediction.”
Of course with rising obesity rates come obesity-related health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. As a result, health care costs nationwide will skyrocket, according to Trust for America’s executive director Jeff Levi, who projects annual medical costs from obesity-related diseases alone will increase from $48 billion to $66 billion by 2030.
While these estimations are higher than the CDC’s predictions released just last month, both reports have room for error. The CDC did use new survey methods this year, and if the Trust for America’s Health was in part based on those figures, the two could be under- or over-shooting their figures.