A dystopian American future is nigh, according to a report by The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future," and that future is pretty much entirely obese. Our demise as a great nation probably won't have anything to do with a self-aware computer program or a civil war that begets widespread famine and bloodsport for children — we're all just going to eat ourselves into financial ruin.
So claims "F as in Fat," anyway, which offers some grim auguries of the havoc America's current obesity epidemic will wreak by 2030. According to the study's lead author Dr. Jeffery Levi, the country's only just down the street and around the corner from a major health care crisis, and it's all fat's fault:
With 6 million new cases of diabetes, 5 million cases of heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next 20 years, we are on a tragic course that will have a horrible impact on the quality of life of millions of Americans and could overwhelm an already over burdened health care system
Wow! That sounds almost exactly like what would have happened in WALL-E instead of getting to go on an interstellar journey in a giant McDonald's Playplace spaceship, people had to stay on a desiccated Earth sorting heaps of Styrofoam and old Gateway 2000 desktops with the trashbots. The latest report examines the current state of the obesity epidemic (which, from all the dire predictions, seems about as serious as bubonic plague in medieval Europe), and also includes brand new data about all the comeuppence America is going to face in 20 years for guzzling 20-ounce sodas and eating French fries by the shovel-full. Basically, unless something is done to halt the steadily climbing rates of obesity state-by-state, all 50 states could have rates about 44 percent by 2030, and 13 particularly obese states could top 60 percent.
Higher obesity rates, so the logic goes, lead to higher rates of all the really debilitating chronic conditions and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and arthritis. New cases of these obesity-related diseases could increase as much as 10 times over the rest of the decade, and then double again by 2030. This, in turn, would lead to a drastic increase in healthcare costs, from about $18 billion in 2011, to (if current trends hold) about $66 billion in 2030.
The bottom line, according to Connie Diekman, director of nutrition at Washington University in St Louis, is that such dramatic cost increases would be prohibitively expensive for our already over-taxed healthcare system:
Our society is not in a position to financially manage these increased costs and the implication of that is significant compromise to quality of life — and possibly longevity — for many people.
Whatever is America to do about its grim and obese future? For starters, don't fucking judge other peoples' weight because it is so not productive. Nobody appreciates having a finger wagged in their face (as any smoker will bitterly tell you). The next thing is for every state to decreased its average body mass index (a fraught measure of obesity, but this is what the study offers) by 5 percent before 2030. This pretty much means, explains Levi, that everyone should lose about 10 pounds because we're all rowing the same canoe and, apparently, the canoe is sinking.
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