Obesity Prevalence Set to Increase 33 Percent by 2030

If obesity were to remain at 2010 levels, savings over next 20 years would be $549.5 billion

MONDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Based on nonlinear regression modeling, prevalence of obesity is estimated to rise to 42 percent and severe obesity to 11 percent by 2030, according to a study published online May 7 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine to coincide with presentation at the Weight of the Nation conference, held on May 7 in Washington, D.C.

Based on evidence that obesity prevalence may be leveling off, Eric A. Finkelstein, Ph.D., from the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, and colleagues used nonlinear regression models to estimate the prevalence of adult obesity and severe obesity through 2030. Data were used from the 1990 through 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which included nonpregnant adults aged 18 years or older. The individual level BRFSS variables were supplemented with U.S. state-level variables. Trends in explanatory variables that were expected to influence the prevalence of obesity were projected to estimate future obesity prevalence.

Based on linear time trend forecasts, experts estimate that, by 2030, 51 percent of the population will be obese. Based on the nonlinear regression model, the researchers found the prevalence of obesity to be an estimated 42 percent, and severe obesity to be an estimated 11 percent. The combined savings in medical expenditure over the next 20 years would be $549.5 billion if obesity were to remain at 2010 levels.

"The study estimates a 33 percent increase in obesity prevalence and a 130 percent increase in severe obesity prevalence over the next two decades," the authors write. "If these forecasts prove accurate, this will further hinder efforts for health care cost containment."

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