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More NJ Adults Will Be Obese By 2030, Report Finds

Obese People
Flickr User Tony Alter

Americans are getting fatter.  Over the next 20 years, nine states could see their obesity-related health care costs climb more than twenty-percent.

“New Jersey is unfortunately on track to see the biggest increase of obesity related health care costs at 34 percent” said Albert Lang, of Trust For America’s Health and co-author of the report released today.

If states’ obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030.

Obesity could contribute to more than 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes, 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades, the report showed.

“All of these health-related issues are going to skyrocket in New Jersey” said Lang.  “The state has had good news and bad news, while they have been on the lower-end of the obesity epidemic in recent years, the population is aging and more people are on track to be obese in the next twenty years or so.”

By 2030, medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year in the United States, and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually by 2030. Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

The analysis also explored a scenario based on states successfully lowering adult obesity rates. It found that, if states could reduce the average body mass index (BMI) of residents by just 5 percent by 2030, every state could help thousands or millions of people avoid obesity-related diseases, while saving billions of dollars in health care costs. For a six-foot-tall person weighing 200 pounds, a 5 percent reduction in BMI would be the equivalent of losing roughly 10 pounds.

“There are ways to combat obesity, increasing physical activity in schools, new standards for school meals, and promoting preventive health care services” said Lang.

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