Trust for America's Health Examines States' Obesity Rates and Related Costs

Analyzing the potential health and economic impact for states of reducing obesity rates

Trust for America’s Health analyzed state-level obesity trends and estimated the impact on disease rates and health care costs by 2030 if current trends continue, and if obesity is reduced by 5 percent.

Dates of Project: April 1, 2012—September 30, 2012

Description: Trust for America’s Health incorporated the findings into its annual report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, and data briefs for each of the 50 states.

If current trends continue, by 2030:

  • Obesity rates for adults could exceed 44 percent in every state, and exceed 60 percent in 13 states.
  • New cases of obesity-related diseases—including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, and arthritis—could increase tenfold between 2010 and 2020, and then double again by 2030.
  • The financial cost of treating preventable, obesity-related diseases could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.

Reducing average BMI by 5 percent by 2030 could:

  • Change the trajectory of obesity-related disease rates, sparing millions of Americans chronic and life-threatening diseases.
  • Save almost every state between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent on obesity-related health costs.

These findings are “a dramatic wake-up call,” said Project Director Laura Segal, MA. The impact of reducing obesity gave policy-makers a tool for shifting the policy debate from where we are now to “how we get to the better future.”