A new study indicates that as many as 53 percent of Idahoans could be obese by 2030, based on current trends. In 2011, approximately 27 percent of Idahoans were reported to be obese.
More importantly, the new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates that reducing the average body mass index in Idaho by 5 percent could lead to health care savings of more than $1 billion in 10 years and $3 billion in 20 years.
The report, titled "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," predicts that every state will have obesity rates of at least 44 percent, and 13 states will have obesity rates of more than 60 percent, based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obese is defined as having a body mass index above 30, whereas overweight means a BMI from 25 to 29.9.
Reuters reports that the study also predicts higher risk for numerous diseases linked to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and endometrial cancer, which would mean more sick people and higher medical costs. The report projects 7.9 million new cases of diabetes per year, and 6.8 million cases of chronic heart disease and stroke, compared to 1.9 million and 1.3 million per year now, respectively.
The health care costs could add up to $66 billion in treatment, and $500 billion in lost economic productivity.
The estimates are consistent with a 2012 study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which concluded that by 2030, 42 percent of adults would be obese. In that study, the prediction of health care spending from now to 2030 amounted to $550 billion.
The projections suggest that Mississippi, the heaviest state, will have 66.7 percent obesity, while Colorado, the thinnest, will have 44.8 percent.