Nutrition Unscrambled

Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
September 19th, 2011

This part of the Lancet reviews goes into detail about the economic burden of obesity. We’ve already seen some of the implications but it is projected that medical costs will increase costs by $48-66 billion/year in the USA and by 1.9-2 billion/year in the UK by 2030.
• The obesity epidemic affects both high and middle to low income countries, which will cause stress on many health systems if the trend continues.
• The health conditions also continue to increase as obesity rises. There is expanding evidence that excess body weight is linked to many additional disorders. This spans from newborn to elderly.
• The cost of treatment for fatal and non-fatal death will increase as the number of overweight and obese utilizes treatments. It is estimated that obese individuals has medical costs 30% higher than normal weight individuals. In addition there will be costs associated with productivity (loss of time at work, ability to do jobs, etc).
• Combined with the shift in age structure (baby boomers) projections suggest that there will be 65 million more obese adults in the US in 2030 than in 2010 (and 24 million of whom would be older than 60 years). In the UK it is projected that up to 11 million more would be obese= (3.3 million would be older than 60 years) in 2030.
• The population’s healthy life span will be threatened. Estimated trends would lead to a present loss of 2.2-6.3 million quality-adjusted life years in the UK and 24.5-48.2 million in the USA in the next 20 years.
• Healthcare costs are sure to increase but would a decrease in obesity lead to net cost savings? The issue is one of debate about calculating costs related to obesity. However, we do know that obese individual have higher healthcare costs.

These estimations overall appear to be well calculated. These costs are startling, although not surprising! The article is full of figures if you’re a numbers person.


Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.