Massage clients could get heavier, along with the general U.S. population, if obesity trends continue.

The many chronic and acute health disorders associated with excess body weight burden a society—not only by negatively affecting the health-related quality of life but also by incurring costs to the individuals affected and society as a whole, notably from increased health-care costs and lost productivity, according to a press release from Columbia University, which participated in the analysis.

The U.S. has the highest obesity rates among developed countries, a trend set to continue in the coming decades. There are currently 99 million obese individuals in the U.S. Prevalence differs according to sex and ethnicity:

• About 25 percent of all men are obese, regardless of ethnicity.

• Almost half of African-American women (46 percent) are obese, compared with a third of Hispanic women and 30 percent of European-American women.

Continuation of these trends to 2030 would see U.S. obesity prevalence rise from 32 percent (2008) to around 50 percent (2030) for men, and from 35 percent to between 45 percent and 52 percent for women.

This would mean an estimated 65 million additional obese adults in the U.S. in 2030, raising the total to 164 million who are obese. This would increase costs of treating obesity-related diseases by $66 billion per year in the U.S. by 2030 (a 2.6 percent increase in overall health spending).

The above scenario would mean 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes in the U.S. by 2030, along with 6.8 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and 539 000 extra cancer cases.

Spending specifically on obesity-related causes would increase by 13 to 16 percent per year across the two decades, with one quarter (or 4 percent in that 16 percent) due to population aging.

—Source: The second paper in The Lancet Obesity Series analyses obesity trends in the USA and UK, and their impact on prevalence of diseases and health care spending

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