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Idea of the Day: Rising Obesity Rates Will Hurt Health Care Costs

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There’s little doubt that obesity—having a body mass index count higher than 30, when a healthy number is between 18.5 and 24.9—and its negative health consequences are some of the greatest challenges our society faces today. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this month predicts that 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, and 11 percent of the population will be severely obese—or roughly 100 pounds overweight—by that year.

These rates mean an additional 32 million people would be characterized as obese—triple the number it was half a century ago—causing the health care costs of obesity to rise by a stunning $550 billion over the next two decades. If something isn’t done to counter this trend—regardless of whether Obamacare is ruled constitutional in the Supreme Court—health care costs will be more than unaffordable for the average American and maybe for our country as a whole.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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