ONTD Political

CDC Predicts Fat Shaming Epidemic

9:26 am - 05/08/2012
Fat Forecast: 42% of Americans Could Be Obese by 2030

If Americans keep getting heavier at the current rate, 42% of the population will be obese by 2030, a new study says. The increase accounts for an additional 32 million obese Americans and a whopping $549.5 billion in medical expenditures over the same time frame.

The rise in obesity rates has slowed over the past decade or so, settling at about 36% — or 78 million U.S. adults — in 2010. The new public health report presented on Monday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, D.C., predicts that unchecked, that rate could increase by 33% by 2030.

“Should these forecasts prove accurate, the adverse health and cost consequences of obesity are likely to continue to escalate without a significant intervention,” said study author Dr. Justin Trogdon of RTI International, a nonprofit research organization, in a statement.

The number of people with severe obesity — those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40, or who are about 100 lbs. over their healthy weight — is predicted to rise to 11% by 2030, from 5% in 2010. (Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher.) Severely obese people are at greater risk for weight-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and cancer and, therefore, account for a greater proportion of medical costs to the country.

“They also have a much shorter life expectancy and generate greater lifetime medical costs, suggesting that future health care costs may continue to increase even if obesity prevalence levels off,” the authors say in the study.

Previous projections had estimated that more than 50% of Americans would be obese by 2030, but the authors of the current study thought that figure was high. To gain a better perspective on obesity in the U.S. and to make a more accurate prediction, lead researcher Dr. Eric Finkelstein, an associate research professor at the Duke Global Health Institute, and his team used data on more than 100,000 people involved in the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) — a state-based, cross-sectional telephone survey conducted by the CDC and state health departments.

The survey captured people’s self-reported height and weight. The researchers then also factored in variables that influence obesity rates like the prices of food, alcohol and fuel, annual unemployment rates, household income, the number of fast-food restaurants, and the rate of Internet use.

“We found that obesity is still increasing, but increasing at a decreasing rate,” said Dr. Finkelstein in a teleconference on Monday.

The data did not include children, so the estimates could be conservative. Obese children typically become obese adults.

The researchers hope their findings will spur nationwide initiatives to curb weight gain. “We know more than ever about the most successful strategies that will help Americans live healthier, more active lives and reduce obesity rates and medical costs,” said Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, in a statement. ”People need to make healthy choices, but the healthy choices must first be available and accessible in order to make them.”

Strategies that are known to help people stay fit include building recreational facilities, improving urban design, increasing anti-obesity social marketing programs, adding workplace health promotion programs and developing new drugs and technologies.

The authors note that their estimate is just that — an estimate. “We’re almost surely wrong in our forecast,” Finkelstein told CNN. “That’s the thing about forecasts — they are guesses. This is our best guess. The world changes, if new drugs or technology comes out, if the government comes out and makes major changes, lots could happen. If in fact we’re wrong and obesity rates are less, I’d be happy.”

The study is published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Source wants to know if its font makes it look fat.

Here's a link to the original paper. [warning: PDF]

*turns off notifications*

Edited to restore tags.
lady_grace 8th-May-2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
Too bad the measure of "obese" was changed years ago to include a huge % of the population, when in actuality the percentage of truly "morbidly omg huge obese" people is fairly small, and there is also a lot of scientific evidence that fatness in and of itself is not deadly and really this shit is getting annoying.

For further reading, I highly recommend the book Healthy at Every Size.
lady_grace 8th-May-2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
spiffynamehere 8th-May-2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
lady_grace 8th-May-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
I just don't understand how medically-trained professionals can look at such a simple equation and declare if someone is healthy or unhealthy.
lux_roark 8th-May-2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
Someone I know online said that her kids had a BMI test performed on them! In elementary school!
thepuddingcook 8th-May-2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
Not at all surprised considering a woman my mother was talking to about her WLS pointed to her 10 year old son and told my mother she had been thinking about having the son undergo the surgery too...
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
bex 8th-May-2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yes. There's been several stories in the news of parents being told their PERFECTLY HEALTH, slim, active children are "obese" simply because they're at the upper end of the weight distribution for kids their age. Uh, that is not how fucking percentiles work, you dumbass healthcare provider. A tall, lanky six year old should not have her mother warned that she's borderline obese!
perthro 9th-May-2012 01:22 am (UTC)
I don't recall BMI stuff in elementary school, but I think we did it in middle and high school. Ugh. Made my friend neurotic- and she's a med student now! The shitty part is, she's heavier than me, but wayyyyyyy healthier. I'm hoping premed helps with the stupid parts of things like that. BMI is not a very good indicator of health.
meran_flash 9th-May-2012 05:38 am (UTC)
Do you mean body fat percentage? BMI isn't really calculated by a "test."
elialshadowpine 8th-May-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
Seriously. I just got back from a visit with my psych who was lecturing me how I should be around 90-110lbs at my height. (Which is actually LESS than the BMI indicates for my height, and definitely does not take into account my large bone structure.) And then went on about how I needed to consider weight loss surgery... mind... I'm under 200lbs...
uluviel 8th-May-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Too bad the measure of "obese" was changed years ago to include a huge % of the population, when in actuality the percentage of truly "morbidly omg huge obese" people is fairly small

Whenever I see these "a third of the population is obese" statistics, I always ask myself if those people all live together in an isolated village somewhere, because that's not what I see around me. Sure, there are fat people around here, but one in three? No way.
lady_grace 8th-May-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
If you go by BMI, which has the most fucked-up standards, 1/3 of the population is going to be obese.

Also, this is always pertinent: http://kateharding.net/bmi-illustrated/

Edited at 2012-05-08 08:18 pm (UTC)
4o5pastmidnight 8th-May-2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
This completely. I am one of those big ol' fatties (well, under 300lbs, but that's still in the large category) and THERE ARE NOT FAT PEOPLE EVERYWHERE AROUND HERE.
chaya 9th-May-2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
Especially since 'obese' is (at least supposed to be) not only fat but beyond overweight.
spyral_path 8th-May-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
This so much. Every time I'm in a crowd of people I look around to see if one in three people really is obese, and they just aren't. This can only mean that 36% of the population never goes out in public, or they're using some new measure of obese as a scare tactic.
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