The American Medical Association (AMA) has updated the latest State of Obesity 2019 report which tabulates a damning trend. West Virginia is the worst offender. It has seen obesity rates surge from 14% in the 1990s to 38.1% of the adult population.
The state has the highest rates of diabetes at 15.2% of the adult population, up from 6.7% in the 1990s. Of the 191,000 diabetes sufferers in WV, by 2030 there is expected to be over 282,000 with the disease.
Hypertension is also expected to surge from 24.2% in the 1990s to 43.5%. To that end heart disease is also forecast to jump from around 138,000 to over 659,000 people.
According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35% in seven states, 30% in 29 states and 25% in 48 states.
The AMA notes,
“Race, ethnicity, gender, income, education levels and where an adult lives all make a difference in how likely he or she is to have obesity. For example, the report found that:
- Obesity rates are higher among Latinos (47%) and blacks (46.8%) than among whites (37.9%).
- Women are more likely to have obesity than men, 41.1%versus 37.9%.
- Women are also more likely to have severe obesity, 9.7% versus 5.6%.
- Adults in rural areas are more likely to have obesity than those in metro areas, 34.2% versus 28.7%.
- College graduates are less likely to be obese than those with less than a high school education, 22.2% versus 35.5%.
- Adults with higher incomes are less likely to be obese. The obesity rate is 29.7% among those making 400% or more above the federal poverty line; the rate is 42.6% for those at 100 to 199% of the federal poverty line.“
None of this makes for pleasant reading but the AMA calculates $149bn in extra medical costs annually and $66bn in lost productivity.
According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 18.5% of children and 39.6% of adults had obesity in 2015–2016. These are the highest rates ever documented by NHANES.
The underlying causes of obesity are complex and interconnected, ranging from economic and policy dynamics to environmental influences, social norms, and individual and family factors.
High-calorie foods are less expensive and more available in some neighbourhoods; many communities lack safe, accessible places to walk, bike, and play; and children and adults are inundated by advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages.
Many Americans eat too few fruits and vegetables and consume too many calories in the form of highly processed foods, and fewer than half meet national guidelines for physical activity.
Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep apnea, liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder disease, and certain types of cancer.
Seems like the pharmaceutical companies will continue to do well in America. Aussie company ResMed, which makes CPAP machines to treat sleep apnea is crushing it.