In 2018, the Milken Institute Study documented that obesity is by far the greatest risk factor contributing to the burden of chronic disease in the United States. The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. population has increased steadily since the 1960s. President John F. Kennedy wrote Sports Illustrated article back in 1960 complaining that American’s were getting soft. At that time, less than 15% of Americans were obese. In the last 50 years, the rate of obesity has increased by 300%.
Today, 66% of Americans are overweight (meaning that their Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or above). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 40 % (124.4 million) Americans are obese. Health and Human Services (HHS) projects that without making any changes by 2030, half of all adults in the United States will be obese. Currently, one out of every five children between the ages of six and 19 is obese. Overweight adolescents have a 70% greater chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
In 2018, HHS estimated that obesity alone cost the United States twenty 21% of our total health care costs equaling $344 Billion Dollars.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Survey in 2013 -2014, two out of every three adults (66%) were considered overweight. In 2015, the chronic illnesses that were directly related to our being overweight accounted for over 47.1% of the total cost of chronic diseases in the United States. In 2015, the Partnership for Chronic Disease (PFCD) estimated that chronic disease was responsible for $480.7 billion of direct health care costs plus $1.24 trillion of indirect costs related to the loss of productivity.
HHS claims that failing to meet the suggested levels of aerobic physical activity adds nearly $117 billion in annual health-care costs and contributes to 10 percent of all premature mortality.
In 2015, 30.8 million Americans suffered from three or more chronic illnesses. By 2030, it is estimated that number will increase to 83.4 million people in the United States. By 2030, the Milken Institute estimates that seven chronic diseases will have a total (direct and indirect) economic impact of $4.2 Trillion in treatment costs and reduced economic output.
When asked why the American health care system cost so much, Patrick Massey, an informed author in an Op-Ed that appeared in a National Health Institutes publication wrote, “It is because 87% of the total health care expenditure is for the management of the chronic disease. The majority of this expense is for Americans under age 65.” Chronic disease accounts for 81% of all hospital admissions and over 90% of prescription drug costs and 76% of all physician visits.
We can no longer afford to ignore the seriousness of treating chronic disease in America. To learn more about wellness and chronic illness in America and what we can do visit, Make America Healthy Again.
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