The Momentum of Obesity

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“A woman can’t be too rich or too thin”
-Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

This week I came across some eye-opening information on where we are with respect to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. I thought I would pass on some of the highlights:

In America, more than one third of the adult population qualifies as obese (defined as a Body Mass Index of greater than 30). That triples the percentage of obese Americans compared to 1960 and doubles the amount from 1990.

Six percent of Americans qualify as morbidly obese (BMI greater than 40). This is a six-fold increase over 1960 and three-fold increase over 1990.

In America, African-Americans are 50% more likely to be obese than whites, and Hispanics are 20% more likely.

Obesity-related medical costs account for 9.1% of all medical costs.

The annual health-care costs of obesity in the U.S. have risen from $74 billion in 1998 to $ 147 billion in 2008.

Obese people spend an average of $1429/yr more on medical costs.

U.S. businesses lose an estimated $12.8 billion annually from absenteeism due to obesity.

Obesity accounts for $30 billion in lost productivity.

The military spends $60 million annually on recruiting to train replacements to cover weight-related discharges.

There were 17.4 million cases of diabetes diagnosed in 2007 compared to 5.6 million in 1980.

Obesity affects 19.6% of children ages 6-11 and 10.4% of those ages 2-5.

The average American is 23 lb. overweight and consumes 250 calories more a day than Americans twenty years ago.

It seems to me that waist-line reform might be the true health care reform that we need in 2010.