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St. Luke’s Hosts “The Weight of the Nation” Screening

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
February 4, 2013

St. Luke's Health System is highly engaged in collaborating on and leading obesity prevention and intervention programs and initiatives, and we’ve arranged a special showing of an important televised program that is drawing attention to the obesity crisis. 

“The Weight of the Nation,” an HBO series, addresses the cause and effect of our obesity problem in the United States, the consequences, and the impact we face as health systems attempt to deal with the increased costs of treating obesity-related disease. If you can, join us Wednesday, Feb. 6, in St. Luke’s Anderson Center Ada 1 for a special viewing of “The Weight of the Nation: Consequences,followed by a panel discussion. The program will start at 6 p.m. This event has been organized by Activate Treasure Valley and partners.

It is estimated that by 2030, the medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases will increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year in the U.S., and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually. Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

Obesity rates across our nation are increasing at an alarming rate. Here are some eye-opening facts:

  • 68.8 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. 
  • A 2011 study found that 27 percent of Idaho adults were obese. 
  • A 2008-2009 BMI study of Idaho students in odd grades 1-11 found that 30.5 percent of the sample population were overweight or obese.
Without a concerted, collaborative effort, the obesity epidemic is on track to increase chronic disease rates to unprecedented levels, and create the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents.

If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent.

The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030.

Obesity has to become a national priority.

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.