If America’s obesity rates continue their upward trajectory, the number of people who suffer serious diseases could increase ten-fold by the year 2020, and then double again by the year 2030. That’s the word from a national study released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The study suggests if California's current trends aren’t reversed, 46.6 percent of all Golden State residents will be obese by the year 2030, up from 23.4 percent in 2011, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That spike will likely cause more than two million new cases of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke, the study says.
The report also includes an analysis of what’s likely to happen if each state is able to reduce the body mass index of their residents by only 5 percent. (That's the equivalent of a ten-pound weight loss for someone who stands 6-feet tall and weighs 200 pounds).
In California, that drop would result in an almost 8 percent reduction in the state’s existing health care costs, or almost $82 billion by the year 2030.
To reach that goal, the report’s authors recommend a series of policy changes that include improving nutrition in school lunches, making physical education a priority in schools, and increased investment in evidence-based obesity prevention programs.