The Cost of Obesity

                The rate of obese people in the U.S. is increasing at a scary rate. As our waist lines increase, so will the cost of caring for health issues associated with being obese. Experts from the Weight of the Nation Conference in Washington said that the number of obese Americans is expected to increase from 36% presently to 42% of the adult population by 2030. These experts estimate that the cost of treating these additional obese people for health issues related to their obesity (heart disease, diabetes, etc.) will add up to nearly $550 billion over the next 2 decades.

A report on obesity was published online by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine recently. The findings of this study are based on data collected between 1990 through 2008 by the CDC as part of their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Study leader Eric Finkelstein, a health economist at Duke University did find some good news. Obesity’s growth rate has slowed from the last 30 years. If the obesity rate had continued on the record rate it was progressing at, by 2030 51% of adult Americans would be obese.

Finkelstein said that it was unclear as to why the growth had slowed. It could be due to public policy initiatives aimed at preventing childhood obesity, greater awareness of health risks associated with obesity, or that our population can only sustain a certain level of obese people. Either way, “even small improvements in obesity prevalence . . . could result in substantial savings,” Finkelstein and his colleagues concluded in their report.

The report looks at a host of factors that can influence eating and exercise habits. A major factor affecting obesity is aging of the population. As people age, overweight people tend to progress into becoming obese, and those who are obese tend towards becoming severely obese. The number of severely obese Americans is expected to grow from 5% today to 11% in 2030.

Public health experts have concluded that the best way to fight the obesity epidemic is to prevent obesity in the first place. This is especially important when dealing with children. The Bogalusa Heart Study found that 77% of obese children become obese adults. While only 7% of non obese children become obese adults.

Other solutions that were mentioned included taxing junk food to make them prohibitively expensive and banning advertising for junk food.

Journal upon journal reports disappointing results with weight loss programs. It is estimated that 80% of those who lose weight on a diet will gain it all back and more, leaving them heavier than they were before they dieted. That goes along with the statistic that I heard pertaining to diets- that 95% of all diets fail.

This supports the fact that it is much harder to lose weight than it is to not gain it in the first place. What about all the people who are obese and want to lose weight? It is possible, but it is hard to do, and you have to know what you are doing and how to go about it. My pain free lifestyle program is set up so you don’t have to know what you are doing. You can just follow the directions. It is set up to get you moving and eating right. It will get you doing the right exercises that are easy on your body and you will be able to do them consistently- which is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off.

Even if you never break a sweat, if you are moving and exercising a little, you will see results. It is much more important to be healthy than to be thin. If you have lived many years as an obese adult, chances are that you are not going to become a lean, mean fighting machine. But if you can get to the point that you can walk up stairs without getting out of breath, or run around after your kids or grandkids without wanting to collapse, that can be a success in itself. If you can do some exercise, you will feel better and be healthier, and maybe even be able to reverse some of the effects of being obese such as getting off of diabetes medication or blood pressure medication. Even more importantly, you will be able to add a few more quality years to your life. And lose a few pounds in the process.

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