Study: S.C. Doubles Obesity Rate by 2030

New report suggests 63 percent of state will be obese if no action is taken.

Think the nation's obesity epidemic belongs to the slouch sitting next to you? Think again. A new study suggests nearly two-thirds of Palmetto State residents could be obese by 2030.

In a state that already is among the nation's fattest, the prediction translates into serious healthcare implications and ballooning public health costs over the next two decades.

The new figures are included in "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," a report released today by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“This study shows us two futures for America’s health,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, Robert Wood Johnson president and CEO. “At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce healthcare costs. Nothing less is acceptable.”

Already, 30 percent of Palmetto State residents tip the scales with a body mass index greater than 30. The study predicts South Carolina's rate will climb to 63 percent by 2030, if no action is taken.

Mississippi leads the nation with 34 percent of its population being classified as obese in a state-by-state study of obesity. Colorado has the lowest rate. This study showed a national average below 30 percent.

However, in a separate national survey, the average was reported as 35 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

The report is encouraging government to take action to encourage the public to get off the couch and to eat a better diet.

If BMIs were lowered by 5 percent (roughly 10 pounds), South Carolina could save 7.4 percent in health care costs, which would equate to savings of $9,309,000,000 by 2030, the study finds.

The study encourages better nutrition and physical activity among youngsters. School lunch programs, physical education requirements, vending machine regulations and other key parts of children's health need reform, the study suggests.

Edited 8:05 a.m. Sept. 19 to clarify the difference between the national average obesity numbers and the state average obesity numbers, which come from two separate studies. 

Lindsay Street September 19, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Both measures appear to represent the adult population, according to CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html However, the difference is data sourcing between the two numbers. The numbers by state rely upon "self reported" statistics through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. (http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/) The numbers by nation, through a study conducted by National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm) This is confusing in the story, so I will make a clarification.
Jamie Healy September 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM
It's the data provided. The nat'l is based on 2009-2010 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db82.pdf The state is based on 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html#History Argue it w/ the CDC for not putting out corresponding studies. It's sort of not the pt in this article though, which is the fact that the #s are climbing locally. A few issues to note: #1) SC insur policies rarely include wellness, meaning ppl can ONLY go to the dr. when sick or dying (real reason for high costs of healthcare). No wellness = no educating on preventable/treatable issues, like obesity. Ppl may have thyroid problems, allergies to foods, digestive concerns, etc. that aren't getting treated because they wouldn't know they have it w/out being able to look into it w/ preventative care. #2) Wages are quite pitiful in this state in comparison to the costs of living (I've lived in several other states prior). This has an effect on a lot of things: the level of health care one obtains & retains, the $ they can spend on healthy food items (which are more expensive), the extra income they have to join a gym or get involved in other healthy activities, etc. Let's face it, this is not a cheap area, especially considering Mt. P & Charleston. #3) Unfortunately, the health of the ppl simply isn't an issue for our local gov't. There should be an action plan. #4) Healthcare is expensive for very little return in SC. Most employers don't offer it
Jamie Healy September 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Greg Adams September 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM
It didn't take long for Mimi to take a shot at Gov Halley did it? Drop it.
Lindsay Street September 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Santa, your post is deleted due to violating our user terms. summerville.patch.com/terms


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