Forecast notes a dramatic rise in obesity rates over the next 31 years
Updated: Thursday, 29 Jan 2009, 3:21 PM CST
Published : Thursday, 29 Jan 2009, 3:20 PM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) - A new report on the Obesity Epidemic in Texas released Thursday forecasts a dramatic rise in obesity rates throughout the next 31 years. By 2040, nearly 15 million Texas adults, 43 percent of the population, will be obese if measures to reduce obesity are not put into place immediately. The report was created by Texas State Demographer Dr. Karl Eshbach, while the project was funded by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and the Texas Health Institute.
"This is a project I sincerely hope is wrong," said Eschbach. "It doesn't have to be the case as the future plays out as suggested. I really urge the people of Texas, the policy makers in Texas, to prove the projections wrong by taking the kind of steps now that are going to make sure there aren't the alarming rises in obesity rates."
Demographic changes across the state could increase the obesity rates alone. According to the report, the fastest-growing populations in the state are the older and Latino populations, those most likely to be obese.
"We have a previous problem on our hands that will bankrupt the health care industry if we don't change, if we don't do something about it." said Methodist Healthcare Ministries President and CEO Kevin Moriarty.
However, adults are not the only ones affected by the obesity epidemic. Of Texas fourth-graders, 42 percent are overweight. For young adults, obesity rates could increase from 10- to 20 percent in just seven years.
"There are some very simple solutions out there we clearly need, increasing the amount of exercise of our children, clearly changing the diet of our children in school," said Moriarty.