MC Healthcare's - 2012 Health Facts
Prevalence by state
The following figures were averaged from 2005–2007 adult data compiled by the CDC program and 2003–2004 child data from the National Survey of Children's Health.
Care should be taken in interpreting these numbers, because they are based on self-report surveys which asked individuals (or, in case of children & adolescents, their parents) to report their height and weight. Height is commonly overreported and weight underreported, sometimes resulting in significantly lower estimates. One study estimated the difference between actual and self-reported obesity as 7% among males and 13% among females as of 2002, with the tendency to increase.
According to the NHANES data, African American and Mexican American adolescents between 12 and 19 years old are more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic White adolescents. The prevalence is 21%, 23% and 14% respectively. Also, in a national survey of American Indian children 5–18 years old, 39 percent were found to be overweight or at risk for being overweight.
Looking at the long-term consequences, overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults, which increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese. In 2000, the total cost of obesity for children and adults in the United States was estimated to be $117 billion ($61 billion in direct medical costs).
Food consumption has increased with time. For example, annual per capita consumption of cheese was 4 pounds (1.8 kg) in 1909; 32 pounds (15 kg) in 2000; the average person consumed 389 grams of carbohydrates daily in 1970; 490 in 2000; 41 pounds (19 kg) of fats and oils in 1909; 79 pounds (36 kg) in 2000. In 1977, 18% of an average person's food was consumed outside the home; in 1996, this had risen to 32%.
There has been an increase in obesity-related medical problems, including type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and disability. In particular, diabetes has become the seventh leading cause of death in the United States,with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimating in 2008 that fifty-seven million adults aged twenty and older were pre-diabetic, 23.6 million diabetic, with 90–95% of the latter being type 2-diabetic.Obesity has also been shown to increase the prevalence of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Babies born to obese women are almost three times as likely to die within one month of birth and almost twice as likely to be stillborn than babies born to women of normal weight.
Obesity has been cited as a contributing factor to approximately 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per yearand has increased health care use and expenditures,costing society an estimated $117 billion in direct (preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to weight) and indirect (absenteeism, loss of future earnings due to premature death) costs.This exceeds health-care costs associated with smoking or problem drinking and accounts for 6% to 12% of national health care expenditures in the United States.
The Medicare and Medicaid programs bear about half of this cost.Annual hospital costs for treating obesity-related diseases in children rose threefold, from $35 million to $127 million, in the period from 1979 to 1999, and the inpatient and ambulatory healthcare costs increased drastically by $395 per person per year.These trends in healthcare costs associated with pediatric obesity and its comorbidities are staggering, urging the surgeon general to predict that preventable morbidity and mortality associated with obesity may surpass those associated with cigarette smoking.Furthermore, the probability of childhood obesity persisting into adulthood is estimated to increase from approximately twenty percent at four years of age to approximately eighty percent by adolescence,and it is likely that these obesity comorbidities will persist into adulthood.
Under pressure from parents and anti-obesity advocates, many school districts moved to ban sodas, junk foods, and candy from vending machines and cafeterias. State legislators in California, for example, passed laws banning the sale of machine-dispensed snacks and drinks in elementary schools in 2003, despite objections by the California-Nevada Soft Drink Association. The state followed more recently with legislation to prohibit their soda sales in high schools starting July 1, 2009, with the shortfall in school revenue to be compensated by an increase in funding for school lunch programs.A similar law passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in June 2005 was vetoed by governorJodi Rell, who stated the legislation "undermines the control and responsibility of parents with school-aged children."
In mid-2006, the American Beverage Association (including Cadbury Schweppes, Coca Cola and PepsiCo) agreed to a voluntary ban on the sale of all high-calorie drinks and all beverages in containers larger than 8, 10 and 12 ounces in elementary, middle and high schools, respectively.
Non-profit organizations such as HealthCorps work to educate people on healthy eating and advocate for healthy food choices in an effort to combat obesity.
The American First Lady Michelle Obama is leading an initiative to combat childhood obesity entitled "Let's Move". Mrs. Obama says she aims to wipe out obesity "in a generation". Let's Move! has partnered with other programs.
Ultimately, the United State government are willing to create political solutions that will reduce obesity ratings by “recommending nutrition education, encouraging exercise, and asking the food and beverage industry to promote healthy practices voluntarily” (Kersh, 2009 p. 301). How will the profit seeking food industries even consider creating healthier products? Well to begin with, 2008, New York City was the first city to pass a “labelling bill” that “require[d] restaurants” in several cities and states to “post the caloric content of all regular menu items, in a prominent place and using the same font and format as the price” (Kersh, 2009 p. 304). Consequentially, the newly implemented bill made a difference. Due to a visible caloric label, individuals became more inclined to purchase products with substantially lower calories than those with higher calories. Moreover, restaurants continued to label the amount of calories per meal. As a result, portion sizes were substantially reduced. Portion sizes, seen previously in this essay, have psychologically threatened an individual’s ability to make healthier choices.
Even though these policies are still under evaluation, they have already made a small difference, a difference nevertheless.
In 2008, the School Nutrition Policy Initiative from the state of Pennsylvania decided to pass a law, at the elementary level. These “interventions included removing all sodas, sweetened drinks, and unhealthy snack foods from selected schools, 'social marketing' to encourage the consumption of nutritious foods and outreach to parents” (Kersh, 2009 p. 306). The results were shocking, there was a “50 percent drop in incidence of obesity and overweight”, as opposed to those individuals who were not part of the study (Kersh, 2009, p. 306).
Several reforms have been implemented in schools through government aid, these reforms include “changing food and beverage contracts, making more healthy foods and beverages available, using marketing techniques to promote healthful choices, limiting access to competitive and using fundraising activities to support student health” (Mary Story, Karen M. Kaphingst and Simone French, 2006, p. 118).