How Obesity Could Affect Us in 20 Years

Writing at The Root DC, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, warns of the epidemic's impact now and in 2030.

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Writing at The Root DC, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, warns of the epidemic's impact now and in 2030.

Thirty years ago, I lived in Philadelphia and was an instructor at Temple University ...

At that time, obesity was not on the radar as a major public health concern, and state obesity rates looked tame compared with what we see today. In 1995, Mississippi had an adult obesity rate of 19.4 percent, and Colorado had the lowest rate, 13.9 percent. According to the latest data, Colorado still has the lowest rate, but it has climbed to 20.7 percent. I don't think we could have imagined it in 1995, but the lowest rate today is higher than the highest rate back then. That's why it's so important for us to look ahead to 2030 and try to chart a better course.

The new analysis in this year's report shows that if obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, it's estimated that by 2030 adult obesity rates could reach or exceed 44 percent in every state, and 32.6 percent of adult D.C. residents could be obese.

If so, new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could skyrocket. Obesity-related health-care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.

Read Risa Lavizzo-Mourey's entire piece at The Root DC.

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