Most American adults will be overweight or obese by 2030 and related health
care spending will be more than US$950 billion, according to the research in the
latest issue of the journal Obesity. "If these trends
continue, more than 86% of adults will be overweight or obese by 2030
with approximately 96% of non-Hispanic black women and 91% of Mexican-American
men affected," says Dr Youfa Wang, the lead author. He estimates that at least 1
in 6 health care dollars will be spent on obesity-related ailments.

There may be more than a smidgen of alarmism in the report. Looking even
further into the future, Dr Wang projects that by 2048 100% of American adults will
be obese. This seems improbable, as other researchers claim that the prevalence
of anorexia nervosa is also increasing. Surely skinny people will not become extinct! Nonetheless, public
health experts are preparing for the worst. Overweight and obese people are at risk of hypertension, type 2
diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Children and young adults may end up having a shorter
life expectancy than their parents if the trend continues.

This is gloomy news for the government health experts who organised the
"Healthy
People 2010"
program. This aimed to reduce
obesity by 15% among adults. Fat chance. Dr Wang’s believes that direct
health costs attributable to overweight Americans will more than double every
decade.

So what are the couch potatoes going to do about it? Well, some of them might be
looking into a cardiac drug being tested by the pharmaceutical company
Schering-Plough. Mice treated with acadesine burned more calories and had less fat than those that did
not receive the drug, according to research in the medical journal Cell. On a
treadmill, mice treated with acadesine could run about 44% farther and 23%
longer than untreated mice. Scientists describe it as "exercise in a pill". ~
Washington Times, July 29; John Hopkins, July 28

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.